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Question for Employers

by Anonymous Monk
on Oct 05, 2010 at 19:06 UTC ( #863661=perlquestion: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??
Anonymous Monk has asked for the wisdom of the Perl Monks concerning the following question:

I am an experienced Perl programmer, but missing the current skills for newer job. What are the skills that people are really looking for? I may not have experience with all the new modules, but what are the good to know? It takes time to learn each module and be proficient in. So I like to spend time wisely. I looked at jobs boards, but that just give me some list of modules. Are jobs really meant to be for the programmers who know some modules well?

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Re: Question for Employers
by JavaFan (Canon) on Oct 05, 2010 at 22:53 UTC
    What are the skills that people are really looking for?
    Business sense. Responsibility. Good judgement.

    I care little how many modules you know - if you can't read a manual page and figure out how to use a module, you're too junior. But what I do care about is that you can understand how our business works, and how we make the money that pays your salary. You need to be able to understand what the business (be it the customers, or other departments) wants. You need to be able to make decisions when it's better to code a quick solution that just does one thing, and when you need to code "for the future".

    What you shouldn't have is misplaced pride. The code you write may be thrown away a week after putting it live. Or be seriously mangled by the next coder.

      I cannot agree with the above sentiment strongly enough.

      There is no “golden ticket,” except in Willy Wonka movies.   There is no magic skill that you can learn, such that if you possess it, the world will beat a pathway to your door.   However, if you possess good software engineering skills, such as the ones JavaFan has cited, then you will never be hungry for work.

      Savvy employers have learned not to plop “language skills” onto their job requisitions, because these keywords generate a tremendous amount of “resumé spam.”   (Yes, there is such a thing!)   Web-connected recruiters in three countries will brain-dump every sheet from everyone in their database into your in-basket overnight.   Perl is used everywhere.   You don’t have to ask.

      Experienced programmers wield the tools of their trade with both competency and sound judgment.   The latter is far more important than the first.   They don’t walk around with an encyclopedia in their heads ... but they know how to use one, and when they do, they know what to look for.   It is actually quite commonplace to be presented with a requirement that you have never had to deal with before, and to be obliged to select, and then learn, an appropriate tool or package with which to address it.   (And if you ever wondered what PerlMonks is for, now you know.   It is a place where highly-competent peer review can happen in a matter of hours, or minutes.)

Re: Question for Employers
by mjscott2702 (Pilgrim) on Oct 06, 2010 at 08:14 UTC
    Rather than focus on specific modules, I would suggest researching certain technology areas e.g. web development, database access etc - depends on what your background is, and what type of job you are looking for.

    Getting up to speed in these areas will provide a couple of benefits, including:

    1. Transferable skills in areas such as HTML, CSS, SQL etc that don't necessarily rely on Perl as the underlying technology
    2. Some expertise in Perl-specific solutions for these areas e.g. CGI::*, DBI::* and frameworks such as Catalyst
Re: Question for Employers
by halfcountplus (Hermit) on Oct 05, 2010 at 19:21 UTC

    I've used perl a lot at work, but I did not get hired because of it, so while I can't say much about this, here's an opinion: there are modules I really like, and there are some that I've tried and abandoned because I consider them dunder-headed. I also hate programming in ways that I consider misguided and have refused to do so before even if it meant having to resign from the project. That said, I'd use the "modules required" as a hint about whether or not I'm actually going to enjoy this job or if I will be grinding my teeth and cursing my misfortunes.

    Also, it should not take you that long to get a decent grasp of most modules simply by going thru the CPAN docs and playing around for an afternoon, or a day or so. At that point, you should be able to legitimately express some familiarity with it, and be reasonably comfortable dealing with applications that make use of it. So if you see a job you like that requires such familiarity, why not try it out?

Re: Question for Employers
by Illuminatus (Curate) on Oct 05, 2010 at 20:20 UTC
    Where are you looking for work? Where I live (Wash DC area), there are zero jobs advertised for Perl as the primary area of expertise. Most of the jobs that put Perl near the head of the list are either sysadmin or 'systems engineer' positions. I have purely anecdotal information that there are more 'pure Perl' opportunities outside the US.

    I would suggest getting some sort of unix/linux sysadmin certification (if you don't already have one)


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