|Perl: the Markov chain saw|
Re: Trained Perl professional or self-taught hack?by Anonymous Monk
|on Apr 01, 2005 at 17:57 UTC||Need Help??|
I learned Perl, but not at university.
I did a 3 year general math degree, but didn't have the marks for a 4 year CS major. (Largely because I flunked too many electives: I guess serves me right for trying to learn physics and astronomy where everyone else was taking like Psych 101 & Film Studies.)
I took all the CS courses I could (stuff like Introduction to Concurrent Programming, Numerical Representation, Theory of Computation, and the first two introductory courses, but many of the useful ones, like Data Structures & Algorithms, Real Time Programming, and AI were for CS majors onlys). I also took as many 'Combinatorics and Optimization' courses as I could qualify for: the Introduction to Cryptography course was quite interesting, for instance.
I learned Perl, but not at University. However, learning a new language wasn't considered difficult at our school. In three different courses, they threw a manual at us, spent about three weeks giving us an overview of the language syntax and features, then asked us to write useful programs in the language.
This practice actually worked fine for Turing and Ada, but when they asked people to learn C in 3 weeks in the Intro to Concurrency, half the class failed. Admittedly, asking the class to learn C *and* their own in-house concurrency language extensions was probably a bit much.
In one course, I remember "learning" about 5 different languages: some form of assembly language, I think, an intro to Prolog assignment, and an intro to Scheme.
They never taught us Perl; I looked at it first during a work term, but didn't really do much more than glance at the syntax for a long time.
After I graduated, I wanted a job, and decided to learn Perl. So, I picked a little toy problem to help me learn. I re-wrote most of a 12,000 line C telnet based chat program as a 1,000 line Perl program, put that on my resume as a demonstration I could use the language, and got a job working with Perl a few months later.
That was in 1998, and I've been using Perl professionally since.