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This isn't a job offer.

by BUU (Prior)
on Apr 03, 2007 at 01:20 UTC ( [id://607949]=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Or at least, it mostly isn't a job offer.

It is however, a meditation on job offers and more specifically, a simple question:

Where the hell can we find some perl developers?

We're a moderately well known perl company in the LA area who are deseperately seeking perl devs and are having no luck in finding any. We're doing the usual things like and even had a booth at last YAPC::NA. What else is there to try? Are there huge resevoirs of untapped perl knowledge out there someplace?

As sort of an informal poll, are there many among the numbers here that are out of work or searching for work and unable to find it? Or are perl developers just slowly drying up and as such in very high demand? Perhaps because perl is no longer hip and trendy and there's no new crop of developers starting?

So I reiterate my first question. Where do we get some perl developers? Are there just none out there? Do we have to try to head hunt from other companies? That seems somewhat nonuseful. Anyone have any ideas?

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: This isn't a job offer.
by Zaxo (Archbishop) on Apr 03, 2007 at 07:04 UTC

    I'm a perl developer who is fairly desperate for work. I can only telecommute.

    I got fired from my last real job for refusing to create an open mail relay. Those people are out of business now.

    Refusal to move or follow instructions blindly make serious impediments to employment, but I am adamant. If obedient assimilation is what's required, Java programmers are a dime a dozen.

    After Compline,

      I was laid off from a telecommuting job about five years ago, which was a bummer, because I lived way out in the country. I spent 17 months failing to start my own business, and stubbornly looking for another telecommuting job -- I found that employers were hesitant to hire a telecommuting employee out of the box -- they saw me as 'a pig in a poke' (as it were).

      Eventually I became less stubborn (or more desperate) and took a job with a major e-commerce company in the Seattle area -- it required me to drive three hours each way, but it was a job and it paid the bills. After five months of that horrendous commute, I moved my family in to the city, and ultimately found another job that I transmogrified into a situation that allows me to work from home three days a week. Now I could probably move back to the country (which I love) if I can only disengage my family from life in Suburbia. I agree with Herkum that sometimes one has to be flexible. :)

      A note to the OP -- others have mentioned telecommuting, and I would strongly encourage you to consider that. There really aren't many reasons, these days, why a team can't work closely together yet be physically distributed, as long as the team members build good relationships to start with. If I were in your shoes, I'd build a team of three or four telecommuting developers -- I'd spend some money getting them all to come to the office for a couple of weeks at the start, and then I'd cut 'em loose with modern collaboration tools and see what they could deliver. There are a lot of people (like me) who wouldn't consider living in LA unless you were offering serious money.

      Good man!

      I know it's sometimes hard to stand by your opinion, if you feel your job is at stake. Been there, done that - and I didn't even get the t-shirt. This is why I left my last job last summer, after eight years of employment there. I was somewhat stunned by how much I took before actually leaving...

      But let me tell you this: I was out of a job and looking for half a year. Cut into my savings quite a bit, that did. But then I found a good job again, where the ad could have been made out to my name, it was so fitting. And it was worth all the hassle and wait before. And I've since learned that you don't always get from bad to worse. Sometimes it actually gets better - sometimes even a lot better. I wish you the same ending I had...


      There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls. - George Carlin

      If obedient assimilation is what's required, Java programmers are a dime a dozen.
      Dude, whiskey tango foxtrot.

      That's as bad as saying all perl developers write line noise or all C developers write spaghetti code. Some of us java developers, architects and what not are fairly competent tyvm.

        ++exussum0. This thread caught me at a low point and I indulged myself in a fit of self-pity. I regret splashing the dirt around.

        For the rest of the posters: I like where I live, and I'm bound here by the need to look after my parents. Cities have fewer people here, but that doesn't mean they're unimportant or inactive. There is a sort of high density rural population nearby that is much more economically productive than bedroom communities are. This place is active in transportation, energy, finance, and medicine.

        Businesses here are very conservative and not very knowledgable in IP, so they basicly all limit themselves to what microsoft can sell them. I haven't had much success marketing LAMP locally.

        After Compline,

        I'm a perl developer who is fairly desperate for work. I can only telecommute.

      I don't know your situation completely, but if you can sell yourself as a contract worker who would prefer to work at home (for whatever reason) after a 'warming up' period in the office (perhaps 4-6 weeks), that could work for an employer. After that, you could plan to come into the office a couple of days a month, perhaps on a regular basis (every other Tuesday), or perhaps as required (OK, I'm wrapping up project X, let's get together to discuss project Y).

      I'm sure employers would be flexible ...

      Alex / talexb / Toronto

      "Groklaw is the open-source mentality applied to legal research" ~ Linus Torvalds

      There are only so many telecommuting jobs, and it is even more limited if you are going to use Perl only.

      I looked in your profile and it says you are in Huntington, West Virginia. Chances are there are not going to be many Perl programming opportunities there unless you make your own.

      Show SOME flexibility here, move to become a Perl programmer or change your skill set to something you can do in Huntington, WV.

        Chances are there are not going to be many Perl programming opportunities [in Huntington, West Virginia]

        Really? What do you know about West Virginia?

        There are only so many telecommuting jobs

        A good programmer should be able to get one of them. Telecommuting is not so unreasonable in this day and age.

        A word spoken in Mind will reach its own level, in the objective world, by its own weight
Re: This isn't a job offer.
by perrin (Chancellor) on Apr 03, 2007 at 03:16 UTC
    One of my friends in the midwest is doing just fine at hiring Perl developers. He hires good programmers who know Java but aren't married to it, and he gives them a Perl book and a little time to come up to speed. He says it works.

      That sounds like a good approach to me.

      Once upon a time, my company was a hodegepodge of development ... Tcl, Perl, C, Java, etc. A few years ago we rebuilt everything in Java, and "standardized" on being a "Java shop" so we start hiring "Java Developers" ... biggest mistake we ever made in my opinion. Now people have to write little mini-java apps just to do some log crunching because they don't know any other way.

      Hire smart people; have them write code. Worry about the language they use somewhere in between -- not before, not after.

        I once saw 14MB of Java libraries and code to parse some text files. The same job could have been done in Perl, Sed or Awk in less than a thousand lines. Every job is a nail when all you have a a hammer.

        Neil Watson

Re: This isn't a job offer
by pjf (Curate) on Apr 03, 2007 at 02:57 UTC
    Where the hell can we find some perl developers?

    The shortage of Perl developers appears to be a global one. Here in Australia we seem to have a constant stream of e-mail and phone calls asking if we know of any Perl developers looking for work.

    The Perl businesses in which I have contacts have fulfilled their demand primarily by poaching from each other, training new staff, and relocating developers from overseas, usually from the USA and UK. Now is a very, very good time to be a Perl developer in Australia. Demand is far outstripping supply.

    Depending upon your business requirements, you may be able to build new developers from scratch. Grab some very smart university graduates (they're cheap, and used to learning new skills), send them on some Perl courses to get them started, and then nurture them for a year. At the end of it you should have some reasonably skillful individuals who are very familiar with your systems.

    Just make sure you keep them happy, otherwise they'll get poached and relocated to Australia. ;)

Re: This isn't a job offer.
by j3 (Friar) on Apr 03, 2007 at 05:47 UTC

    Well, I'm a Perl guy currently looking for work (no luck yet), and 2 places I've been looking (among a few others) are Dice and Monster. Those places mostly have only staffing companies advertising though, so if you put an ad on one of those sites from *you*, the actual company that's looking to hire, my guess is you'd get lots of action.

    Also, have you tried Craigslist? I'm seeing smaller companies sometimes advertising for people there.

    Most of the ads I'm seeing on the big sites are looking for 5+ years experience (I'm not there yet), and the physical location I'm in seems to be mostly large finance and investment banking companies. At this point, I'm starting to just look for clients on my own since a regular job seems too difficult to find.

Two side notes
by misterwhipple (Monk) on Apr 03, 2007 at 16:24 UTC
    I work for a trade association in the staffing industry. It's not my field, but I've picked up a couple things that might help.

    1. Hire for temperament, train for skill

    Not everyone will agree, but some of our most successful member executives have said that how well someone fits the team reveals more about their subsequent success in a position than their level of skill at the time of hire.

    2. Don't demand qualifications you don't need

    The person who fits your needs perfectly may not have impressive "credentials", so advertise and interview for the skills and traits you want. If you say you want a CS degree, for example, a competent, experienced person with some other degree or even none at all might not apply.

    (These opinions are mine alone, not my employer's.)

    cat >~/.sig </dev/interesting
Re: This isn't a job offer.
by Limbic~Region (Chancellor) on Apr 03, 2007 at 12:49 UTC
    I can't speak for anyone else as my situation is my own.

    First, being out of work or in a low paying job would not be sufficient enough reason for me to pack my bags and move to LA. I am trying to raise a family and LA isn't the place I would want to do it. I expect, and this is just a guess, that the majority of the folks that would be interested in moving to take a job with your company will be young and/or single.

    This is not the dot com boom era. Folks that have good jobs want to hold on to them. Change means risk and risk is scary. Even if you were two towns over I would be hesitant to leave my current employer even if you were offering more money.

    Personally, salary is not even in the top 3 considerations for me anymore in selecting a job. Number one is time off. This isn't just the amount of vacation or sick time or personal days. It is also the ability to take the time. Besides the company retirement plan, I have a personal elective program that the company will match up to 5% in addition to the regular retirement plan.

    The last thing that I think would have to consider long and hard about is what would I be accomplishing by changing jobs. As you know from our personal conversations, I code perl for fun and work is just a means of paying the bills. If I were to code professionally, I would want to know what I was doing had some meaning - some value. This may sound corny but it's true.

    Cheers - L~R

Re: This isn't a job offer.
by philcrow (Priest) on Apr 03, 2007 at 13:44 UTC
    Have you considered teaching a course in Perl as an ajunct at a local college or univeristy? That would introduce some would be developers to a language they might not otherwise see (or might see but only as a self taught subject). Further, by you, or one of your colleagues, teaching the course, you get a full school term to evaluate who is curious, smart, and has a good work ethic. Then you can try to hire a couple of those at graduation time. As a plus, they live in your area, at least temporarily for school, so you don't have to worry that they are unwilling to be there.

    This assumes that you are willing to take fresh blood and live through some on the job training. Having looked briefly at in the past, I see a lot of people who want 5+ years of documented full time perl development. There are lots of problems with that. Many of us used Perl for years as admins, so even though our knowledge is high, our full time year count is low. Another problem is that the pay doesn't always correspond to the expectations. Are you really offering to pay for the experience you expect? Finally, a smart person is better than a stupid one, even if the later has years of experience. My grandfather used to say "Some people have ten years' experience, some people have one years' experience ten times." I add to that, "Some people seem to gain 10 years' experience in the first year."


Re: This isn't a job offer.
by talexb (Chancellor) on Apr 03, 2007 at 13:42 UTC
      Where do we get some perl developers? Are there just none out there? Do we have to try to head hunt from other companies? That seems somewhat nonuseful. Anyone have any ideas?

    The one resource that I thought you'd be sure to mention was missing -- your local Perlmongers group. I know of two people in my local Permongers group who got new jobs because another member did a "We're hiring!" speech at the beginning of each meeting.

    Of course, Perl is a very community-based thing, and if your reputation in the community isn't up to par, that might explain why your organization didn't follow that route -- or why it was unsuccessful if it did.

    Another idea is the local Linux User's Group .. some people shy away from the perceived 'Perl clique' thing, but might still be suitable as Perl programmers.

    Finally, there are recruiters .. for a price, they'll deliver what you need.

    Alex / talexb / Toronto

    "Groklaw is the open-source mentality applied to legal research" ~ Linus Torvalds

      I totally agree Perl is a very community-based thing!
      I'm afraid in my country(China), the community is not active, sigh.
      Maybe before I can find a Perl job, I need to create an active enough Perl monger first.
Re: This isn't a job offer.
by robot_tourist (Hermit) on Apr 03, 2007 at 08:06 UTC

    How much experience in Perl do you need? 15 year guru? 5 year senior programmer? junior hacker? Even for senior programmer, I think some of the other posters have given great wisdom: aim to hire good developers first and then train them for what you need. If you are just looking for software developers in general, but then they don't want to learn Perl, I'd say they don't deserve to be developers :)

    California sounds... would you pay for relocation from Northern Ireland? :)

    How can you feel when you're made of steel? I am made of steel. I am the Robot Tourist.
    Robot Tourist, by Ten Benson

Re: This isn't a job offer.
by simon.proctor (Vicar) on Apr 03, 2007 at 08:44 UTC
    This is more of an answer to - why don't Perl programmers apply for jobs. Well, more a case of why I'm a Perl programmer but don't apply for Perl jobs (right now).

    At the moment i'm employed but I've had to spend the last two years doing .NET. I may have 10 years experience of Perl but I'm only coming back into it in a more full time role. At work, I'm also a team of one which makes things hard at interviews.

    This always makes me hesitant in applying for Perl jobs atm. Especially as I have just moved house and so can't move again. Most of the telecommute jobs I see are for the US and, while tempted, I can't bring myself to close off my day job in case things *go wrong*. Too many bills to pay.

    I'd love to have a telecommute job for a well known company and be in more control of my day. Things just aren't right for me to take the plunge.

    My only recourse, atm, is to work on a colo with a friend. I'm hoping that will reinvigorate the *Nix and Perl muscles and give me back some much needed experience. Especially from the Admin point of view (I don't get to do any of it at work).

Re: This isn't a job offer.
by cog (Parson) on Apr 03, 2007 at 09:57 UTC
    One thing that has helped us here in Lisbon is to give back to the community. Not that that was the objective, but the fact that we helped the Lisbon Perl Mongers organize their social and technical meetings, sponsored national Perl and Open Source events has really helped make our name well known in the geek/Perl community.

    The result? Lots of resumes our way O:-)

Re: This isn't a job offer.
by Anonymous Monk on Apr 03, 2007 at 02:11 UTC

    Have you considered telecommutors?

      This has always been the biggest issue for me. I see lots of interesting sounding job offers coming across, but I don't really have any desire to move anywhere simply for a job. Even a great job. Life isn't entirely about work.

      I'd say try out a telecommuter and see how it goes. Having *someone* in the seat is usually at least marginally better than not having anyone at all. :)

      Bring them on conditionally and if they don't meet your standards of quality and productivity in 3 months find someone else.

      Frank Wiles <>

        Life isn't entirely about work.


        I am trying to improve my English skills, if you see a mistake please feel free to reply or /msg me a correction
Re: This isn't a job offer.
by gloryhack (Deacon) on Apr 03, 2007 at 11:07 UTC
    I can't speak for my fellow monks, but here you are smack in the middle of a large and vibrant community complaining that there aren't any like us to be found. Ironic, ain't it? :-) And as someone who grew up just a bit "south of the orange curtain" it strikes me as odd that you'd have trouble in that market finding someone grokful of perl. This is not a judgment by any stretch of the imagination, just an observation coupled with some very possibly outdated experience in that market.

    Have you tried the Times and the Register? Howzabout the temp agencies? I haven't been resident in that locale in quite a number of years, but once upon a time the temp agencies were the best place to look for higher caliber talent. They might not have been the most stable workforce for the bargain hunters, but even the best "contractors" would snatch up a solid offer if it were presented. I was one of and worked with those guys for a few years before I made my escape, and darn few were posers. It might be possible to bluff your way into the higher dollars at just one company, but you can't bluff your way into several such gigs when your employer (the agency) is getting feedback.

    This is not a solicitation (and Brethren please forgive me my transgression against the sanctity of the monastery) but if you're not opposed to working with a telecommuting consultant, drop me a line. I am not cheap, and I am not desperate for work, but I am available given sufficient notice and I might be able to help you out of a bind. If telecommuting isn't acceptable, I hope my other suggestions might pan out for you, and I wish you the very best of luck. Good help is hard to find.

Re: This isn't a job offer.
by Anonymous Monk on Apr 04, 2007 at 00:46 UTC
    Who is doing the searching? That would be my first question...

    Perhaps your HR department is not doing a good job. Or maybe they don't understand Perl developers. OR...

    Your company might also have a bad reputation. I can think of one LA company that is well-known for using Perl and for being something of a sweatshop. Word of mouth travels fast in the Perl community. I know of many Perl developers who keep clear of this big company, despite their HR person's heavy involvement in the Perl community.

    Also examine your product. Some people don't like working in advertising. I can think of 2 big LA companies (one located in Westlake Village and another in downtown LA) that use a lot of Perl but also focus on advertising. Some developers don't like working in the advertising/marketing industry. Your company's product might be something that developers want to stay away from or just find boring ....

    Try to keep the focus on your people and the challenges you face. Good Perl programmers like working on good teams and facing challenges. I tend to avoid big companies who like to remind job seekers about how big they are.

      "...despite their HR person's heavy involvement in the Perl community." Ticketmaster? What are the other ones? No need to be secretive.
        Dont know what flurry of activity this one will start, but would just like to point out that there are many in India who would love to move to the US for short-term/long-term projects, given no visa restrictions. So either the guys within the US offer themselves to being more flexible, or soon we may find even mid-sized companies in the US moving to India for one additional reason - the flexibility of the guys there. Or companies in the US may actually start handing out short-term visas for professionals from other parts of the world citing shortage of skilled people. The world is a big melting-pot...
Re: This isn't a job offer.
by derby (Abbot) on Apr 03, 2007 at 12:02 UTC

    If it's this company .. it may be that developers are avoiding your company.


    note: I have no idea if BUU's company is the same one scrottie describes ... it's just the la/perl/jobs similiarity that strikes me as odd.

Re: This isn't a job offer.
by phaylon (Curate) on Apr 03, 2007 at 15:40 UTC

    If I remember correctly, one of the last perlcasts mentioned that the interviewee was doing headhunter work specialised in Perl. I think it was the one with Uri Guttman, but I'm not 100% sure.

    Ordinary morality is for ordinary people. -- Aleister Crowley
Re: This isn't a job offer.
by dws (Chancellor) on Apr 07, 2007 at 05:46 UTC

    Or are perl developers just slowly drying up and as such in very high demand?

    I suspect it's a case of high demand and thinning ranks, coupled with the ranks not being replenished with fresh blood.

    Many of the people I work with who are a few years out of school learned Java in school, and have been cramming on Ruby and JavaScript so that they can do fun stuff. Rails has proven to be a very potent gateway drug for Ruby, and Ruby can do most of what people often use Perl for. Not as well in some cases, but well enough. It's helping set a higher bar for Perl6.

      Rails has proven to be a very potent gateway drug for Ruby

      And here I've been growing Perl in my basement under bright lights all this time!

Re: This isn't a job offer.
by sfink (Deacon) on Apr 07, 2007 at 16:57 UTC
    I work for a company looking for Perl developers, and I have a friend who is a manager at another company looking for Perl developers, and one thing I notice is that we although we're both looking for "Perl developers", we don't really mean the same thing. And I suspect many people aren't really aware that they mean something completely different from other people, because they have such a strong association with Perl being used for a particular application domain.

    For example, to some people Perl is the heavy-lifting tool for system administration, so a "Perl developer" is going to be working on automated systems for managing applications, servers, etc. Or maybe log file processing. These developers need to know a lot about how machines work, shells, IPC, security, networking, etc.

    Other people assume that Perl is a shorthand for "server side web applications". The job reqs here often include HTML, Javascript, application architecture, scalability, load balancing, etc.

    Another group, not completely distinct from the previous, just thinks of Perl as a language for building large applications. Those developers will need some of the same skills as the previous list, but will also benefit from domain-specific experience, which could be graphics, networking, social networking, banking, streaming porn, ....

    A fairly small segment uses Perl as an extension language to a larger system, probably written in C or C++. A candidate for such a job would need all the traditional CS skills plus experience with extending and embedding, cross-language resource management, understanding of linking and compiling and licensing, etc.

    All of the above, of course, also require knowledge of Perl. Or maybe not -- there are enough other constraints on the position that a lot of employers would be happy to find all of the other qualifications, and let the employee pick up Perl on the job.

    But my point is that the phrase "Perl developer" is too restrictive a definition, and one needs to be more explicit to get useful feedback. Admittedly, I usually complain about the difficult of finding Perl developers too, without bothering to qualify it with exactly the sort of person we're looking for. But it's easy to find people who know Perl; it's just that 99% of them know it for a purpose far too distant from what we need, and unsurprisingly don't have the rest of the qualifications needed for the role. A strong sysadmin is going to have a much easier time picking up Perl than a strong web Perl programmer is going to have picking up systems administration.

    Oh yeah. And if you happen to be a very good Linux applications developer, preferably with a knowledge of Perl and/or OpenGL but not necessarily, drop me a /msg. Or if you do web site backend database-y application stuff, which is what my friend is looking for. I think. (Oh, and sorry -- no >50% telecommuters for either of us. Why not is a whole separate topic.)

Re: This isn't a job offer.
by TStanley (Canon) on Apr 03, 2007 at 23:14 UTC
    I decided recently that it is time to move on to greener pastures, and while money is a small part, it is mostly the job itself. I was taken out of the Tech Support department in October '06 and placed into the Operations department where I now run jobs on a mainframe all day.

    While a job doing Perl programming would be fantastic for me, I have to look at things realistically for the area I live in, as well as my overall skill set. Perl is merely one of the tools in my tool box, and not my primary one at that.

    I actually interviewed for a Windows/Solaris administrator position this morning. If everything goes well, I expect to hear back from them in two weeks.

    War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that “nothing is worth war” is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. -- John Stuart Mill
Re: This isn't a job offer.
by rinceWind (Monsignor) on Apr 03, 2007 at 08:55 UTC
      Ummm, the OP mentioned - "We're doing the usual things like". He just didn't make it a link.


        Oops, it shows that a fast reading of the original post didn't click with that website.

        I guess my visual cortex has become accustomed to websites appearing as hyperlinks, or at least beginning http://

        Apprentice wetware hacker

Re: This isn't a job offer.
by Anonymous Monk on Apr 04, 2007 at 16:53 UTC
    I believe the Perl community is very vibrant, however, you might be finding it difficult to find perl developers for a variety of reasons. Some might be the recent upsurge in Linux and Free Software/Open Source usage within the corporate environment. As those technologies are incorporated into corporate workflows I believe the once relatively plentiful pool of Perl talent will begin to deplete itself: some developers might be switching to other OSS jobs, or possibly be busy with a boom of new projects? Maybe the economy is at an inflection point where more and more people are just beginning to learn Open Source tools and Linux so there aren't many unemployed developers? Then again, those ideas are just conjecture. Maybe you might want to search for Perl Developers though local universities? Linux/OSS job boards? (Quite possibly look for out of work Linux Admins because despite my assumption above, there might be plenty around. It's worth a shot.) Just a few thoughts...good luck with your search. \ PS. Too bad you don't offer remote positions.
Re: This isn't a job offer.
by MajingaZ (Beadle) on Apr 06, 2007 at 13:06 UTC
    Resumes can be so misleading, I require new technical people to take a short quiz of things I expect. If they put down any programming language they should be able to spot a if($foo = 'string') error.

    Though generally I'm just looking for smart people. Yes there is some temperment involved, but if the person's smart enough they will be trainable. I've been thinking about using a standard IQ test to weed out some of the poor canidates before I have to waste my time talking to them.
Re: This isn't a job offer.
by jesuashok (Curate) on Apr 03, 2007 at 02:27 UTC
    you can get perl developers from India. There are lot of people seeking for a good Job as a Perl developer. Search People's Resumes from naukri, which is a indian Job portal.
    update : link updated.

    hmmm ....let me think what did I said

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