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Re: Forgetting Syntax, Forgetting logic, Heck, Should I even try keep learning Perl??

by davido (Archbishop)
on Dec 15, 2012 at 08:35 UTC ( #1008948=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Forgetting Syntax, Forgetting logic, Heck, Should I even try keep learning Perl??

There are certain things I don't expect to achieve now that I'm past 40. Winning the Tour de France is out of the question at this point (VO2-max declines with age, after all), though that doesn't stop me from enjoying doing hill repeats until my lungs ache and legs burn just for the challenge of it. Reading the wattage and voltage on the back of an iPhone wall-wart will heretofore require the aid of some form of high quality optics (the ability of the human eye to focus at close distances universally declines with age). And I will never have a promising career in the NBA -- most of those guys are done by their early 40's if not sooner.

Pretty much everything else that is slightly less physically demanding is still wide open to me, and should be to you too. I have no regrets that I didn't learn the pommel horse while I was still in my teens; I filled those years with other experiences. But it would be a lousy second half of a life if I weren't allowed to learn anything new, or to pursue new ideas, concepts, and disciplines. I'm looking forward to it.

If you enjoy programming, stick with it. Don't sell yourself short. None of us got comfortable with Perl (or any other programming language, for that matter) without spending some time with it, or without experiencing frustrations and cognitive barriers that had to be broken through along the way.

So if we can dismiss this notion that we're done learning at (or near) 40, let's look at what needs to be done to learn a new skill (Perl included):

  • You've got to spend time actually exercising the skill. Tinker a little every day. Set aside ten minutes, or a half hour. And in that time each day, solve some trivial problem that you've thought about throughout your day.
  • You've got to study it. Read the POD, or some good Perl books. But don't limit yourself to just Perl books; Perl is useless in a vacuum. Perl's power is that it's so useful across a broad range of problem domains, so learn about other problem domains too.
  • Find some larger projects to participate in (hopefully ones that others work on as well -- you'll learn from others).
  • Repeat... every day, for weeks, months, and years (or at least as long as you still enjoy it)


  • Comment on Re: Forgetting Syntax, Forgetting logic, Heck, Should I even try keep learning Perl??

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Re^2: Forgetting Syntax, Forgetting logic, Heck, Should I even try keep learning Perl??
by bitingduck (Chaplain) on Dec 15, 2012 at 16:17 UTC

    I have no regrets that I didn't learn the pommel horse while I was still in my teens

    Even that may not be closed off...I got hauled to adult tumbling classes for a couple years in my late 30's and while I never got very good, it was a lot of fun and improved my balance dramatically. I got as far as doing a front tuck on an extra springy floor. So even some pretty demanding physical things aren't out of the question. It also helped my crashing in bicycle races dramatically-- there's a lot of time to think in the air, and if you've had some practice you can reduce your chance of injury. Plus the gym was a pretty interesting scene after the kids left and the adults came for open tumbling-- it was mostly active stunt people and ex-gymnasts.

      true ... a friend of mine was racing with his bike when suddenly a car oversaw him and blocked his way.

      When flying he unconsciously did a roll over the car's roof an landed unblessed on his feet.

      He's convinced that his gymnast training as a kid saved his life.

        Also true... I was sitting on my Kawasaki Vulcan motorcycle at a red light behind a line of cars in a very light rain. A distracted driver piled into me from behind, causing me a very quick acceleration followed by a quick deceleration when I hit the car directly in front of me. Fortunately I had a good hold of the handlebars and flipped over them and thrown at about "10 o'clock" in a 360 somersault with a quarter twist, landing on my feet. It happened so fast I had no time to react. Standing there untouched looking at my wrecked bike was surreal. I can't do a decent flip off a diving board, I would have to attribute that to dumb luck. Though in retrospect, I did have many years of martial arts, including judo, so maybe that helped.

        Anyways, I'm now 53 (yikes!), and I've been learning perl on and (mostly) off for maybe 5 years. Learning is to some degree a social process. As a late-bloomer hobbyist, I found it important to find support for my new hobby. Thus I joined perlmonks in 2007.

        The PM Seekers section has been helpful. I try to answer the "newby" type questions that come up, then learn from the experienced monks replies.

        I got involved in Movable Type and developed some plugins on Github. Getting involved in a GitHub perl project is a great way to be active and code "socially".

        The best of course is to incorporate perl into your work. I left a career in chemistry and started building websites (many in movable type), and was able to learn enough programming and administration skills over a few years to land a job as the technical support coordinator at a local private school. I am not making as much as I was earning at chemistry, but I love it, and now I can find excuses to use perl all the time. :)

        Update: Don't forget your local PerMongers group!

        My girlfriend was a competitive gymnast in high school and college (she got me to the tumbling classes) and has endoed more than once in races and landed on her feet. It just helps to be able to think while you're upside down in the air.

Re^2: Forgetting Syntax, Forgetting logic, Heck, Should I even try keep learning Perl??
by wrinkles (Pilgrim) on Dec 15, 2012 at 21:15 UTC

    Regarding participating in larger projects, I would really like recommendations from the PerlMonks on a general purpose, production-ready (or nearly so) web-based CMS written on top of a modern perl framework (Catalyst, Dancer, Mojolicious, or even CGI::Application). Something with good documentation, enough function to be generally useful, and an easy, well documented means to extend functionality with a relatively gentle learning curve.

    Perhap a modern perl take on Drupal (Druperl)? Of course not a Drupal clone, but something in that space: useful out-of-the-box, with an entry into extending in a systematic manner. Having a supportive user/developer community is a big plus.

    I've looked at miril (CGI-App), ShinyCMS (Catalyst), and the Galileo (Mojolicious) perl CMS's on GitHub, but they are fairly alpha stage right now. I'd really like to see a project like those with wide perl community support. It could be a great learning tool and "gateway app" for aspiring perl programmers.


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