I believe the key to having a career path that 'scales', i.e., survives both outsourcing and old age, is indeed to incorporate business in your skill set. Whether you do it by creating a SaaS "website" or by managing other programmers, having a business (i.e. product deployment, sales, and p&l) mentality is really important. While I'm a good programmer, I'm probably not in the 1% spoken of elsewhere. I've chosen to take the hard lumps involved in learning to make teams work efficiently to build products which enable companies to become more profitable. IBM has a phrase "Business Process Transformational Services" that Paul Horn (Director of IBM Research) spoke of, and that's the arena where we've been working. There's a huge difference between SaaS and 'a website', and Perl (or Ruby or PHP or even Java) can be the engine that differentiates you from the rest. What matters is the creation of a business model and service in that web system that serves a real need better than the existing tools. I spent two years (with my programmers and about $300K) on an abortive content-organizing and publishing system that nobody wanted. Fortuanately, our previous product, an online web-hiring system, _has_ grown into a successful niche builder, so I have been able to recover from my business non-sensical wild goose chase.
"There's more than one level to any answer."
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