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Should I stay with this company or leave?

by Anonymous Monk
on Nov 20, 2005 at 21:09 UTC ( #510281=perlmeditation: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??

My company made a surprising announcement last Friday. Basically the CIO said in a IT meeting that the company has decided to once and for good remove Perl from all IT projects - past or current. All Perl guys on the team will join the Java team immediately as junior programmers on the Java team, and help them to rewrite the applications.

The signal is clear that the company does not recginize the Perl skill people gained over years. You probably wonder whether the company is scared that some of the top Perl guys will leave right the way, and leave the rewrite in trouble. No, as the team leader on the Java team himself is a very skillful Perl guy, and has several great Perl modules on CPAN.

I personally is not hit that much, as I am new, not a senior on the team so there is no demotion for me. But I love Perl so much, and I am wondering whether I should take a move, and continue persuit Perl?

However I often see people talk about the negative side of Perl on this site and elsewhere, and to be frank things do not seem to be very bright for Perl... which left me wondering...

Even this moment, the top post at the gate is about the fact that Perl cannot even handle its own syntax correctly, or to be more precise, its syntax is a mess, even Perl compiler cannot understand the syntax uniformly.

2005-11-21 Retitled by g0n, as per Monastery guidelines
Original title: 'Should I saty with this company or leave?'

Comment on Should I stay with this company or leave?
Re: Should I stay with this company or leave?
by Anonymous Monk on Nov 20, 2005 at 21:11 UTC

    Sorry guys there were couple of misspelled words upstairs, but I cannot fix, sorry...

    a boy wondering between Perl and Java.

Re: Should I stay with this company or leave?
by Corion (Pope) on Nov 20, 2005 at 21:28 UTC

    I see you asking two questions:

    1. Is Perl a sane pursuit for my career?
    2. Should I stay with my company?

    I can't answer your first question. I use Perl in my day job for convenient quick or large hacks, but as my boss doesn't learn Perl (he tried twice so far, and he knows enough other languages), our "main" programs are written in Python. The Python programs are the programs I write not only for my personal amusement but for the use by others.

    Whether you really want to stay with a company that treats its employees the way you described is a completely different thing. Consider how most of the "valuable" senior programmers will behave - whether they will leave, or stay "until something better comes up", or stay and take a passive-aggressive stance, you'll have to live with the hostile work environment there. If all former Perl programmers will convert to Java programmers and everybody will live in lotus-eating happyness, that might be an option for you as well. My guess is that all Perl programmes will just be held within the company just until they've made themselves obsolete though, so I'd start looking.

      Wow, even a widely respected monk like you only use Perl for personal enjoyment.

      Don't get me wrong though, the company is actually good, and the pay is decent, but as you can see it is also straight. The company has its consideration though, it is unfair to let the senior Perl guys join the Java team as senior though. I mean it is reality.

        Anything I've ever done in Perl, Python, or Ruby was on the side until I landed one job that was in Python. Eventually the switch was made to .NET ... but I still use those other languages for various tools and utilities, and for personal amusement. Hate to say it, but unless you've got a better place to go, you can't always fight the system.
Re: Should I stay with this company or leave?
by revdiablo (Prior) on Nov 20, 2005 at 21:29 UTC

    Your post brings up several unrelated points. I will try to respond to them as best I can.

    I don't think we can help you very much in deciding to stay or go. There are a lot of variables involved in that kind of decision. Can you find another job? Can you afford the time it will take to find another job? Can you tolerate learning a new language? Can you tolerate the personal anguish of seeing a language you "love ... so much" be "degraded" by another? These are questions we can't really answer.

    On a side note, your experience with Java will probably depend more on the team you're working with than the language itself. There are definitely bad parts, but overall it's a capable language that can be used in both good and terrible ways. If you decide to stay, you should approach it with an open mind and disregard a lot of the snide comments you've likely heard.

    Your comments about Perl's future not "seem[ing] very bright" are misguided, I think. Negative comments do not mean something is going to die, even if they're true and there are a lot of them. Perl 5 certainly has deficiencies, but this is hardly a death sentence. The community is still very active. CPAN is continually evolving and gaining new modules, and there are plenty of people still using Perl to do things. This is about all you can ask of a language that's run almost entirely via volunteerism.

    Lastly, your comment about Perl's syntax being a mess may be true, but I don't really see how it affects the situation one way or another. It's long been known that Perl is hard to parse, even for perl itself. The thread you're referring to brings up a fairly well known ambiguity in the language, and doesn't really signal the end of the world from any reasonable point of view.

Re: Should I stay with this company or leave?
by Aristotle (Chancellor) on Nov 20, 2005 at 21:30 UTC

    Personally, I have decided that I will work on a job I don’t enjoy only if there is no other way to keep myself fed. Writing Java would definitely qualify as a job I don’t enjoy. If I were in your position, I wouldn’t just drop out, but I’d float my resumé.

    As for the messy syntax thread – so what? There are ways to be explicit about what you want, so perl doesn’t need to guess (and so can’t fail to get it right). And if Java has such simple and regular syntax that it doesn’t get confused, what does that really mean? The core language does so little that you need a positively byzantine standard library. Have you seen the quirks in that? Complexity always comes out somewhere.

    Makeshifts last the longest.

      Personally, I have decided that I will work on a job I donít enjoy only if there is no other way to keep myself fed.
      I had some stomach allergies last winter and lost 15 kg. I know by first hand experience that, for me, it is worse to write documentation than to starve. :-)

      I would do Java before starving; it is only boring. But I'd start to look around, too.

      And if Java has such simple and regular syntax that it doesnít get confused, what does that really mean? The core language does so little that you need a positively byzantine standard library.
      Hadn't seen it in that light. Hmm... might be something to it.

      I always thought that the reason Perl was losing a bit of spotlight was that it is a generalist tool. If something new needs to be done (that doesn't need compiled C speed), then Perl is the easiest language to use. It is the superset of Sh, C, Awk, etc, etc.

      After a while, more specialised tools appears which are written to do just that one thing. Then those tools take over, since it is less baggage and you can have any fool learn it quite easily.

      Update: After thinking on the last two paragraphs, I think at least half of Perl's speed and nimbleness for new things is CPAN, of course. It makes it much speedier to change the std language libs for everyone when a new type of application comes along. (-: In sharp contrast to the "socialist" 5-year release plans. :-)

      I think Perl will probably be used first when new things happen and it can be applied. Simple and specialised tools will show up and compete with Perl for attention if the new application is used by many programmers (Internet) -- otherwise not (Biotech).

      Base on my daily chatting with the Java guys on the other team, Java is very resourceful, and they can find classes for almost anything they want to do. It does not have something like CPAN, but they have internet ;-) To be frank, my personal experience, most of the modules on CPAN are garbages. I like Perl, does not mean that I like each piece of shit writeen in it.

        My, what a great new slogan: CPAN: Sturgeons Law made manifest.

        My company made a surprising announcement last Friday. Basically the CIO said in a IT meeting that the company has decided to once and for good remove Perl from all IT projects - past or current.

        My, to change the language of past projects. OK, let's pretend you're not trolling and let's ask what's so bad with Perl that past projects must be re-written. Can you say why ?

        Or were the projects like, 200 lines each ? ;-)

        It does not have something like CPAN, but they have internet ;-)

        You're right, CPAN works through ham radio. It's old technology, but it works. Sometimes it also works through morse code. And then there's Smoke::Signals.

        To be frank, my personal experience, most of the modules on CPAN are garbages.

        Hey, don't mix frank with that !

Re: Should I stay with this company or leave?
by pg (Canon) on Nov 20, 2005 at 21:40 UTC

    If you love Perl so much, probably you should start to look for another Perl job, as nothing is more important than being happy with your work and your life. But don't rush, wait until there is a good opportunity pop up.

    For the time being, learning some Java is not a bad idea either, especially you get this chance to gain hands-on experience with Java.

    Perl's syntax is a bit messy, I guess everybody recognize/admit that to a level. But to most of the people, that does not change the fact that Perl is a very useful tool, with a very resourceful CPAN in the background.

      It's true that it is not a bad idea to learn Java, and I believe that I can learn a lot in that team. Everybody in the company knows that the Java team leader is a smart chip. He personally can code in several languages, and came from one of the top universities.

      In one of the lunch conversation we had a while back, the guy said that, he found Perl is easy to learn and useful, but it is simply not a language for the troop, but only a language for individuals. He said that Perl's way of OO clearly against Perl's simplicity, and only idiot will enjoy it.

        the guy said that, he found Perl is easy to learn and useful, but it is simply not a language for the troop, but only a language for individuals. He said that Perl's way of OO clearly against Perl's simplicity, and only idiot will enjoy it.
        Is this the same Anon troll that has been writing stories a while? Now he knows everyone just would ignore him, so he starts mildly and then puts his trolls in other people's mouths?

      I'm with pg. When you get a chance to get paid to learn something new, you should never refuse (unless it's torture or chemical weapons manufacture or something). Learn some Java while you get your resume/CV out there. You might find you really like Java. Having more skills will mean you can take a wider range of jobs either way. The last physical office I contracted in was only consciously hiring for Java hackers but they were waist-deep in Perl that needed daily work so anyone that had Perl chops could do that as much as they liked. I think this exactly Java:Perl perception:usage happens to some degree in many, many offices.

Re: Should I stay with this company or leave?
by rcseege (Pilgrim) on Nov 20, 2005 at 22:55 UTC

    I guess you're really going to have to ask yourself, is it the language that makes the job interesting for you, or is the satisfaction you get from solving a complex problem?

    I primarily use Java on the job, but have a certain amount of freedom to use other solutions when appropriate. Sometimes that includes Perl, and it's a handy way of getting simple and sometimes complex tasks done quickly. I find that it supplements my efforts, and helps me to be more efficient. In most large efforts, I think it's rare when any project uses just one technology.

    I could be wrong, but I find it unlikely that all the Perl code at your workplace will simply vanish. Also, just because you may be learning a new language doesn't mean that you have to drop Perl. It could be that some things you learn on the Java side will positively impact your Perl programming - stranger things have happened.

    Aren't there other factors that are going to influence your decision? Are the benefits good? Do you enjoy the work environment, and like your coworkers?

    It seems to me that you could look at this as a test to see how you deal with change. If it truly is the language that makes your job worthwhile, and that's the most important thing (and perhaps that is the key factor for some), then you might start looking around for other jobs. I'd recommend that you stick it out a bit, and give it a try first. If it turns out to be horrible then you can always look for other work. I think it's always worthwhile to learn an additional language (whether it's a programming language or otherwise). It gives you increased options and a broader view.

Re: Should I stay with this company or leave?
by johnnywang (Priest) on Nov 20, 2005 at 22:58 UTC
    I say: learn java. Why should we brand ourselves as "perl programmers"? aren't we just "programmers" or "software engineers"? I think very few of us should and can afford to claim "perl or else", you're limiting your future prospects, the rest of the world will simply move on.
Re: Should I stay with this company or leave?
by Zaxo (Archbishop) on Nov 20, 2005 at 23:12 UTC

    Leave. It's only indirectly related to language, but your company is going to go broke.

    After Compline,
    Zaxo

      That reminds of a Livejournal post Ovid made about language wars, and what might be the more appropriate language. Read it in full here.
      A friend of mine who I will not name worked for a company that I'm not allowed to name. This company was developing online financial management software. There was a lot of interest in this company and they had tons of venture capital pouring into them. After he discussed with me what they were doing, he mentioned that they were doing all of their development in C++. A hot product. Tons of venture capital. A growing company. I told him to find another job.

      That sounds weird, but here's the rub: they couldn't compete. Their software, though it sounded exciting, was a Web application. If it really took off, any company with a grain of common sense would see the profit potential and start developing that application in a language suited for rapid development. Features my friend told me these developers took months to develop could be duplicated in weeks -- even days -- with a dynamic programming language.

      After a long time trying to get their product to market they finally realized that it was taking them too long to build. After much soul searching they admitted that C++ was a bottle-neck. They switched to Java. Their domain is now for sale. My friend went on unemployment.

      Is Zaxo right in sounding the alarm bell? I'm not sure. But my guts tell me something's not right.

        While that quote is certainly from my journal, it is, at best, merely anecdote. For the services that company was offering, both C++ and Java were terrible choices. The rest of that journal entry gives a lot more context to the above quote and if anyone wants to take me to task for what I wrote, I would ask that they first read the entire journal entry that bart linked to.

        Cheers,
        Ovid

        New address of my CGI Course.

Re: Should I stay with this company or leave?
by Anonymous Monk on Nov 21, 2005 at 07:23 UTC
    I am wondering if I should t oll other news groups. I am un killed troll and afraid to spam javajunkies as the st onger trollw there will eat me with kets p. I have only short ex erience but I be ieve if I keep trying some day some ow I will learned to be skilled troll li e Doktor Flonkenstein and the Meowers. Please healp me decide if I leave pearlmonks or do I stay here while I lea n to t oll better?
Re: Should I saty with this company or leave?
by sanPerl (Friar) on Nov 21, 2005 at 09:29 UTC
    I think you are looking at this problem as 'Perl Vs Java' and NOT as 'Perl and Java'.
    Please remember that 'Change is only constant thing in life'. There is nothing wrong in learning any new language. Learning a new lang is very easy if you master atleast 1 lang.
    I started my career with a lang called 'Omnimark', I used to love it a lot. This lang is as good as dead lang now and I wasn't able to find any other job with this lang. However my company received a project in Perl and I learned Perl, Now I love Perl.
    If you love 'logic development' then you would love any lang, I am sure you will Love Java too. However if you think Perl to be your First and last love in your life and you would Not want to experiment then just go-ahead and search new job.
    In both the cases you will have to be prepared for 'CHANGE'
Re: Should I stay with this company or leave?
by davorg (Chancellor) on Nov 21, 2005 at 09:34 UTC

    You should buy your bosses a copy of Bruce Tate's Beyond Java. Tate is a well-know figure in the Java community and the main premise of his book is that Java has become over-complex and unwieldy and is no longer a good choice for most new development. A lot of the same points are made in this recent O'ReillyNet article.

    Ok, so a lot of these people are talking about Ruby on Rails rather than Perl, but the good news is that they are finally seeing the benefits of dynamic languages.

    --
    <http://dave.org.uk>

    "The first rule of Perl club is you do not talk about Perl club."
    -- Chip Salzenberg

Re: Should I stay with this company or leave?
by demerphq (Chancellor) on Nov 21, 2005 at 11:29 UTC

    Try using your perl skills to help you write your Java code. I've used this technique in VB and it works quite well.

    ---
    $world=~s/war/peace/g

Re: Should I stay with this company or leave?
by swampyankee (Parson) on Nov 21, 2005 at 15:10 UTC

    At the very least, don't quit before you've got a new position; it is easier (and less stressful to one's bank account) to get a new job while you have a current job.

    Take this as an opportunity to learn another programming language at your employer's expense. In the US, at least, it is also easier to get a job while you have one. Having worked in the US aerospace industry, my experience is many companies would just lay off the Perl programmers and outsource the conversion.


    Removed redundant sentence

    emc

Re: Should I stay with this company or leave?
by talexb (Canon) on Nov 21, 2005 at 18:51 UTC
      My company made a surprising announcement last Friday. Basically the CIO said in a IT meeting that the company has decided to once and for good remove Perl from all IT projects - past or current. All Perl guys on the team will join the Java team immediately as junior programmers on the Java team, and help them to rewrite the applications.

    What reasons did they give for this change? The reason I'm asking is that any change of this magnitude must have been undertaken with the foreknowledge that a) it's a serious chunk of work (time, money, resources) and b) it's going to take some time to get it right.

      The signal is clear that the company does not recginize the Perl skill people gained over years.

    Possibly -- or it could be that some higher up got caught up by a Java evangelist and has decided to throw away some years of working Perl code in favour of a new solution in Java. It would have made more sense if they'd announced that new development would be done in Java and any Perl projects would be phased out in favour of Java rewrites.

    I do remember (during the Internet boom) working on a web site that generated hundreds of graphs a second using mod-perl and gnuplot, running on a pretty plan piece of hardware, while our competitor was running a Java application on some humongous piece of Sun hardware and getting ten graphs per second. Sometimes you just can't beat Perl's performance.

      However I often see people talk about the negative side of Perl on this site and elsewhere, and to be frank things do not seem to be very bright for Perl... which left me wondering...

    You're going to hear good and bad about just about every piece of technology .. get used to it. For me, the bottom line about Perl is, a) can I quickly develop (and maintain) code, b) is it stable, c) is it extensible and flexible and d) is there community support. Yes, yes, yes and yes.

    So I'm not sure how Java is a better choice on any technical grounds .. however, there may well be political or religious angles that we cannot infer from your posting.

    By all means learn Java .. it's never a mistake to learn something new while your employer's paying for it .. and in the meantime, keep your eyes open for any other opportunities out there. Who knows, you may end up loving Java .. it's possible, isn't it?

    Alex / talexb / Toronto

    "Groklaw is the open-source mentality applied to legal research" ~ Linus Torvalds

Re: Should I stay with this company or leave?
by Booger (Pilgrim) on Nov 22, 2005 at 02:17 UTC

    I'm going to prefix this by saying that I don't know what sort of state your company is in, financially, management-wise or in relation to employee skill level or experience. There are many things that might drive your management to make a large and potentially unsettling shift in development like the one you mention but for the moment, take a look at this from the company's perspective.

    I work for a software shop that caters to various aspects of the publishing industry. One product that we use is written pretty much entirely in RealBasic, the other project (the one that I am involved with) is written pretty much entirely in Perl. I've worked in several workplaces with different environments; Java, PHP, Sebiel and several other ugly beasts. I'm not trying to proclaim some sort of guru aura (I am not a guru, probably never will be either); I just want to say that I've been around a little. Impressed? I bet you would be: I even tie my own shoes!

    Now for the record I'm pretty much enamoured of Perl. Perl is great; Perl is the mother-glue that binds us all together. Trouble is, some people (not necessarily you) spend so much time with Perl that their hands get sticky to the point of being unable to grasp other tools. This isn't the case because those people are unable to grok Perl but more because they find that other languages leave a bad taste in their mouth. I like to call this the Perl-does-this-better or Why-don't-they-do-this-like-Perl syndrome, often confused with the closely related My-way-is-better disease.

    Here's my take on it (and please bear with me -- I'm about to over-simplify the situation):

    A company's primary focus is to deliver solutions, services or products for their customers in such a way that they make their customers happy, thus generating a profit for the people who work for/own/have an interest in the company. I did mention that I was going to over-simplify this, didn't I?

    Those languages that a company employs are, by and large, irrelevant to the company's primary focus. If a given language is perceived to be a barrier to a company's goals then a company will likely shift and try something else. What's the worst that could happen -- you might learn something new. Knowing how not to do a thing is at least as important as knowing the correct way to go about it.

    After all, TMTOWTDI!

Re: Should I stay with this company or leave?
by radiantmatrix (Parson) on Nov 22, 2005 at 23:08 UTC

    I would definitely be looking for other work, but not because I could no longer use Perl. I can see a few reasons why a company might say "Ok, we're going to build everyting in one standard language that does everything we want", and I can see choosing Java.

    What I can't forgive is spending vast amounts of money and programmer time to port perfectly functional tools to a different language. I can see a mandate of "wherever we get a chance, move the old tools' functionality into new tools in the standard language", but not a massive porting effort.

    So, I'd look elsewhere from a standpoint of not liking to work for management who are that arbitrary. It's nearly always a bad sign.

    <-radiant.matrix->
    A collection of thoughts and links from the minds of geeks
    The Code that can be seen is not the true Code
    "In any sufficiently large group of people, most are idiots" - Kaa's Law
Re: Should I stay with this company or leave?
by Anonymous Monk on Nov 24, 2005 at 21:11 UTC
    If you have to ask, leave.

    It means you're unhappy. Go, and be unhappy in a new, more self-actualizing way. :-)

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