|go ahead... be a heretic|
Sounds to me like you're already on the path to Enlightenment.
Rather than add to the comments folks have already made let me just say that there is no better teacher than experience. To learn a skill you need to practice the skill. If you've got a handle on the basics then the more esoteric skills will come with time and practice. If you run into a brick wall then post here in Seekers of Perl Wisdom, show us your code and you'll get a bunch of suggestions on how to get past it. Wear your thick skin though because occasionally you'll get a reply from a troll.
If you're planning on using Perl to mine data from network devices (speaking from experience here) spend some effort learning regexes. Learn the ins and outs of Net::Telnet if that's how you are accessing the network devices.
One strategy as well is to become well versed in creating modules. Since report writing against network data is pretty much the same broken record over and over again this is a very good application for creating "write once; use many" types of modules.
Have fun.. Learning Perl is not a destination. It's a journey. I've been writing in Perl since 1989 or so and I'm still learning.
Peter L. Berghold -- Unix Professional
Peter -at- Berghold -dot- Net; AOL IM redcowdawg Yahoo IM: blue_cowdawg