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

Paul Johnson paul at
Mon Aug 7 17:44:45 BST 2006

On Mon, Aug 07, 2006 at 02:54:47PM +0100, Denny de la Haye wrote:

> Personally I'm still fairly convinced there's a correlation between the
> relative attitudes to newcomers of the PHP and Perl communities, and the
> rise of one language and apparent decline of the other.  Whether this is
> a good or bad thing is left as an exercise for the reader's personal
> prejudices about ignorant beginners.

Some random thoughts on this thread, attached to the above paragraph.

Some Perl folk may have had a bad attitude to perl beginners.  Some still may.
Especially if the beginners happen to stumble across certain IRC channels when
some people are feeling grumpy.  But after N years (about 5 or so, I think,
off the top of my head), beginners at is still basically a kind and
helpful place and probably one of the best mailing lists you are likely to
find for beginners in any language.

Or were you suggesting that PHP folk aren't very welcoming of beginners?  I
have no knowledge of whether that is true or not.

With respect to hiring senior Perl hackers, I suspect that places wishing to
do so would have more luck if they were willing to pay more.  I don't want to
make the monkeys dance, and I understand some of the reasons why some
companies don't want to do that, but if you have an expectation that a senior
Perl hacker will be an order of magnitude more productive than your average
Java bod, maybe you should be willing to pay them twice as much.

Of course, this would mean that you would need to be reasonably sure that your
senior Perl hacker was going to be an order of magnitude more productive than
your average Java bod, which would mean you'd have to have people around who
were capable of recognising that, and that seems to be a large problem in many

And finally, when I commented this morning that three decent Perl programmers
could rewrite the floundering multi-million project I am working on within six
months, I was told that Perl was not an approved language, despite the fact
that half the systems here rely on Perl, and the floundering project would
have been dead a long time ago without it.

Oh well.

I might still rewrite it under the guise of creating a mock up for testing

Paul Johnson - paul at

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