the "no good Perl jobs"/"no good Perl programmers" myth

Andy Wardley abw at
Mon Aug 7 13:50:55 BST 2006

Adrian Howard wrote:
> I put it down to Perl being more approachable to many people so you get 
> more unskilled people overestimating their competency.

I think you're right.  That was certainly the situation 5-10 years ago
when the whole CGI thing took off and Perl ruled the roost.  Anyone
could write a Perl program and most of them did... very badly.

Nowadays it's PHP that has pushed Perl out of the running for "language
any half-witted monkey can use to knock out an insecure, inefficient and
bug-ridden program".  Python and Ruby are a little way behind, but still
in the running.

Perl is just "so last millenium" for these people.  If it's not new
and happening then it must be dead and buried.  Those that were on the
ship have jumped it, and those that weren't have kept a wide berth.
And good riddance, say I.  It's those monkeys that tarnished Perl with
the "write once, read never" reputation.

Java, on the other hand is way too hard for monkeys to use.  It's also
sufficiently unpleasant to use that most "real programmers" avoid it
like the plague.  So Java tended to attract only career programmers who
just wanted to have the most marketable skills.  They're the kind of
people who don't have their own opinions about a programming language
but use whatever LargeCorp's Marketing Dept tell them to use.  Their 
homogeneity makes them easy to hire and easy to fire.

So the only people left using Perl these days are those who *choose*
to use it because it's a powerful and flexible language that gets the
job done quickly and efficiently.  They're the smart kids who know
better than to follow the latest fad.

So while it's easier to find a PHP/Java programmer or job, I think it's
easier to find a *decent* Perl programmer/job these days because the 
Perl wheat has been separated from the web/CGI/monkey-hack chaff.

Of course, the above rant is peppered with sweeping generalisations and
a good pinch of tongue-in-cheekiness.  But I assume you folk are smart
enough to figure that out.  You're Perl programmers, right?  ;-)


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