Replying out of order, let me start with the order I put my bullets in. I arranged those from easiest for a programmer to make happen to hardest. Trying to get co-workers who don't want to to do code reviews is definitely an uphill battle, which is why I focussed first on things that you can do which won't hit such political resistance.
On how critical the data that people work with is, I can't speak for most programmers. Speaking for myself, I have never had a programming job where I didn't wind up learning very sensitive things about people. My sense is that this is pretty typical. People stick information in a database, I have access to the database. People want to improve workflow, I get access to whatever data is in that workflow. People want financial reports run, I get to see the financial data.
I generally don't care about the data I have access to, but I get that access, and the fact that it is worth hiring me to work with the data means that someone thinks that it is worth a lot.
On your node, here is a fuller response. The attitude that, "Whatever you know and are getting by with is OK" is one that I highly dislike. Because what you don't know, will bite you. But you generally won't see that it is biting you because you don't know that you can do better. Furthermore far too many people for my taste have the attitude that they know how to program perfectly well and have no desire or need to learn more. I don't like encouraging that. See my response in the thread starting at Life beyond CGI and DBI to see an extreme example.
On fundamentals, I fully agree. And I agree enough that I wouldn't want to filter a person on whether a certain fact was known unless knowledge of that fact was indicative of basic background for the job that they need to do. I can let not knowing placeholders pass if you have the concept of not trusting user input down - you can learn placeholders pretty easily. Perhaps you don't know them because you used Class::DBI and never needed to look under the hood. But if you are thinking of using them and need a push, I definitely think that the push is worthwhile!
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