Many persons criticize Perl as being difficult or inappropriate for beginners. My university degree is a BA. I had programmed as a kid so it was familiar but I came to Perl almost exactly 20 years since I had written a line of code.
I wrote my first production script in Perl at amazon.com in a non-dev role after two weeks—my own time, I wasn’t paid to do dev work—of hunching over an early edition the Llama. It was not comfortable and it was another two years of hacking before I realized that perldoc was available and helpful.
Perl excels at getting things done. The verbosity and silly hoops of the Perl I wrote back then is mildly embarrassing now but it worked well enough for a couple hundred employees to use the first thing I wrote in it all day, every day. Today I could rewrite the script that took me two weeks then in about 15 minutes. But I also make about five times as much base pay now. :P
More than a decade later I’ve only felt totally at ease with Perl for a few years and, like moritz said above, find myself learning new things—about it, in it, to be done with it—on a regular basis.
Pick up any of the books that have decent reviews—and the online freebies. Search around here for recent (last two years) recommendations. Books are a great investment. Don’t let a $40+ price tag bother you. That’s an hour or an hour and a half of junior dev pay.
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