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Is it still worth learning Perl as a first language?

by tm2383 (Novice)
on May 04, 2018 at 00:45 UTC ( #1214031=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

I'm curious to know if Perl Monks believe that Perl is still worth learning as a primary programming language. I've used it in the past for some bioinformatics programming and really like the language. I'm interested in a change of career and wonder if it is worth the time investment really learning Perl in depth with the aim of becoming a Perl developer some time in the future. I know that there are a lot of 'trendier' programming languages out there like Python, PHP and Ruby. My logic behind learning Perl is that there are fewer people learning it compared to other languages. I assume that the market is awash with programmers using these other languages and that there might be a niche for perl programmer. Does anyone here work as a professional Perl programmer, either as an employee or a freelancer? Is there a future in Perl programming, or is a lot of the work migrating Perl to another platform? Are any start ups still using Perl frameworks like Catalyst?

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Re: Is it still worth learning Perl as a first language?
by Your Mother (Bishop) on May 04, 2018 at 01:38 UTC

    On the scale of subjective questions… :P

    I rambled on the topic here a few days ago: Re: Tiobe index - Perl is having a hard time. I mostly work with Catalyst but Dancer2 and Mojolicious are both popular options. I think Perl excels as a first language because it is unconstrained by dogma or technical focus. Procedural, functional, OO, Ook, whatever you want, however you think, Perl can accommodate.

    There are quite a few empty desks for Perl jobs. They are not everywhere though so moving or being so good and reliable you can telecommute might be necessary. Last time my group needed to hire it took months to find any half-way decent, emphasis on the half-way, candidates and this was in a tech Mecca for a position with good benefits and salary at a large, non-startup, old money company.

    Keep in mind that anyone who is proficient in more than one language is going to have an advantage in the code game no matter when the next pandemic what happens with Perl.

Re: Is it still worth learning Perl as a first language?
by LanX (Bishop) on May 04, 2018 at 09:50 UTC
    Profound knowledge of Perl enables - in my experience - to easily understand most aspects of other languages.

    So yes, in this sense, it's a very good investment.

    Cheers Rolf
    (addicted to the Perl Programming Language and ☆☆☆☆ :)
    Wikisyntax for the Monastery

    (update: rephrased on Eily's request. ;)

Re: Is it still worth learning Perl as a first language?
by morgon (Curate) on May 04, 2018 at 06:22 UTC
    There is nothing wrong as such with learning Perl as a fist language, even though there wouldn't be any compelling reason to choose it over - say - Python or Ruby either.

    But I believe there is no niche for Perl-programmers that you could fill.

    There are of course still Perl-jobs to be found, but mostly for people with lots of experience.

    Without any commercial experience, just claiming to be an expert on Perl your cv goes straight to the bin - even if your really are an expert.

    You may of course be lucky, so I guess it depends on your set of mind.

    If you want to enter a lottery, go for it.

    If you want a career in it that you can plan forget about Perl as an investment, that's sad but it's how I see it.

      What does it mean to be an expert in perl/anything, but not have job experience? How do you get job without experience? The idea of learn one thing get job in it is very appealing to me but fantasy. You always gotta learn more and prove it.
        What does it mean to be an expert in perl/anything, but not have job experience?
        "Job experience" is not the same as "experience". Many would see the phrase "job experience" and understand that pay was exchanged for services.

        However, one may gain experience outside of the corporate world, especially in OSS. I suspect significant contributions to CPAN and the Core were made by folks who don't get paid for Perl. But many of those would be experts.

        I didn't get paid for Perl for 15 years after I started mucking about with it on my own. Even then, no one cared that it was Perl. And I don't think I'm an expert at any of it, but I'm able to identify the parts of the engine, diagnose a few things, and subsequently know when to call in a domain expert.

        If someone puts down "X years contributing to Perl" or "X years skulking at Perl Monks", or even "X years teaching colleagues and going to conferences", and has some evidence to back it up, that's experience.

        -QM
        --
        Quantum Mechanics: The dreams stuff is made of

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