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Well, I've done it. Today is my 1-year anniversary of being a participant, voodoo doll, and pincushion at Perl Monks. I survived thus far, and I've gained quite a lot of experience (personal and professional, and not only in XP).

In the past year, I've come into perl basically green, with regard to the non-sysadmin uses of perl. I've been using perl for quite some time, if only to simplify my administration tasks. Recently though, I've been trying to mature my skills in the areas of parsing data structures, digesting HTML and web-delivered content, and returning results of larger types of data mulched by perl. To assist in my learning curve, I've electively been building a somewhat medium-sized content management system and portal for data destined for Palm handheld devices.

While sitting in the Chatterbox off and on, I've watched many conversations go back and forth from all levels of users. Early on, most of them were above my head, but like usenet, I learned to listen for awhile first, before I opened my mouth, fearing having to put my own foot back in it. As time went on, I learned that I actually had some knowledge, and could help others who may not know as much perl, with some of their problems.

Many people have helped me along my personal path to learning perl, improving my style, refining my syntax, and teaching me how to look at problems and problem solving in many different ways. I won't hide the fact that I've really angered some people with my pompous attitude, or my ignorance on one thing or another. To those, I wish to say that I'm sorry, nothing personal. I've been trying to learn, and when I encounter a problem I can't find a solution to, slamming the door in my face puts me on the defensive.

I've learned that there are many other resources to finding answers to problems, searching for modules, and seeing how other people approach similar issues with their code. Many times I go to perlmonks first, before I use perldoc. I'm eternally grateful that a resource as rich as perlmonks exists for people like myself, and for everyone above and below my current skill level. There are other resources, such as #perl on the various irc networks (with varying degrees of helpfulness), but the wealth of information and users fighting similar problems on perlmonks is truly a valuable alternative to irc.

There are other monks here who have been consistantly helpful, and very patient with me during my growth. These people have helped me in priceless ways look not only at my code, but at myself. Why do I approach a particular problem the way I do? Why do I run into so many issues? I blame perl less now, and myself more.

I would like to personally thank several monks here for their help along this journey to perl enlightenment (in no particular order):

  • tye for his selfless and persistant effort to get me to learn the underlying concepts I was having trouble with inside my code, and not just the code itself. When you're inside a box, all you see is the walls and the floor. He taught me to climb outside the box and look at it from a different angle.
  • jeffa for always supplying me with a completely different view on perl problems (not just my own, but others on PM as well) with his very informative nodes on one topic or another.
  • perrin for his help with MySQL and consistantly pushing me down the right path of using it syntactically correct.
  • Petruchio for taking a mentor role and helping minimize the problems to the smallest subset that could reproduce the issue, and then helping to understand not just the "what", but the "why" of each problem, so I could begin to build it back up again using proper code and concepts.
  • demerphq for his help on irc early on with the mod_perl problems I was having, and for consistantly providing another possible view on code problems I have run into.
  • merlyn for providing countless articles on Stonehenge and in TPJ that helped me along this path.
    Update: I meant Sys Admin magazine, not TPJ, thanks for the correction merlyn
..and dozens of others (ferrency, bart, Zaxo, ChemBoy, atcroft, etc.) who have helped in one way or another.

I realize that I have quite a ways to go before I can attain the level of quality code that many top-rated monks produce, and I look forward to the next coming years with anticipation to help speed me along that path.

Thanks to everyone who has helped thus far, and thank you for providing an avenue for me to learn and improve and grow my skills, not only in perl, in such a rapid and interactive fashion.

Every time I open a new door with perl, it leads to a hallway of other doors.


In reply to A year at Perl Monks by hacker

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