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How to get going with perl?

by jaggoraj (Initiate)
on Mar 26, 2010 at 08:50 UTC ( #831084=perlquestion: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??
jaggoraj has asked for the wisdom of the Perl Monks concerning the following question:

Hello Folks, I know this type of question must've appeared here lot of time, forgive me for asking it again.I'm a begineer in perl, ok I've been begineer for almost 2 years which means, I've begun number of times but didn't actually continued it(or didn't had focus).One reason is my current job doesn't require any scripting knowledge, so I'm not getting chance to work on any projects which requires perl so that I can develop(through that process learn) soemthing of my own. Other thing is I couldn't motivate myself (lagging sense of direction) in creating somehting on my own. By now you might wonder, "then why the heck you want to learn Perl?".OK, I want to learn perl because,I want to move out of my current job where I'm stuck for quite sometime and if I want to make a move then the only way out is to have a good scripting knowledge.If you want me to summarise, I need your guidance in how to practically start writing the code. I mean how to set goals and achieve them in learning scripting.I know for a many seasoned people here this kind of question might sound really trivial, but just give sec your answer might change my life.And for that I'll be really grateful to you. Looking forward to your response. Regards, Jags

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: How to get going with perl?
by moritz (Cardinal) on Mar 26, 2010 at 09:56 UTC

    You need

    • Motivation
    • A project to work on
    • time

    As a project, chose something that you can actually use, something that makes your work or private computer usage easier.

    Make a rough plan on how you will implement it (something very rough along the lines of "read these two files, extract some columns, do some processing, print out"), and then start reading perl resources (books, perlintro, until you know enough to start with the first part.

    If you get stuck, play around; if that doesn't help, come here and ask for help.

    Perl 6 - links to (nearly) everything that is Perl 6.
Re: How to get going with perl?
by Ratazong (Monsignor) on Mar 26, 2010 at 09:01 UTC

    As you have guessed correctly, that is a common question here. Don't be afraid to use the search-function!

    Beside that, planetscape has compiled a list of worthy nodes on that topic: Re: Real Life Perl Exercises.

    HTH, Rata

Re: How to get going with perl?
by roboticus (Chancellor) on Mar 26, 2010 at 09:58 UTC


    You *must* practice to get good at it and to learn enough syntax for it to feel natural. So if you can't motivate yourself to create your own projects, you'll have to either (a) find a way to get the motivation (such as writing code to solve puzzles, if you like), (b) find small job-related tasks you can automate (such as filling out (parts of) paperwork, generating spreadsheets or such), or (c) re-evaluate whether you're really suited to a programming job.

    I don't mean to be harsh, but unless you can get into the groove of things, then you're going to find that learning programming on your own will be difficult. The best programmers don't learn programming to get a good job--rather they trip across programming at some point, and they just can't stop. If you must force yourself to start, you may find programming unrewarding.


Re: How to get going with perl?
by theantler (Sexton) on Mar 26, 2010 at 13:02 UTC
    I also recently began learning Perl on my own, and have found that having a good book as Companion is really a good thing. That way you can work inside of a track, and you can get inspired from that and do your own things or expand on the examples in the book. You cannot learn Perl by reading about it, you have to code .. but if you are on your own a good book is highly valuable in my experience. "Learning Perl" and "Intermediate Perl", as well as "Perl Cookbook" are fine books.
      I very much agree to this post. I also started a few months ago with Learning Perl. It reads as a good book, has loth of humour and reading it is a pleasure. Now I have an interrest in GUIs and came across "Mastering Perl TK". Just read the book and try to make some small programs without using the book to copy stuff and you will get started in no time. If you ever get stuck (like i today) you can always ask the Monks for advice (be sure to use strict and use warnings so your code is not buggy thats the lesson i learned today to). Good luck ! Ivo.
Re: How to get going with perl?
by RyuMaou (Deacon) on Mar 26, 2010 at 15:15 UTC
    I find that setting a goal to which I'm committed is key to learning a new piece of technology. Perl is a language and, just like a spoken language, you need to get comfortable using it, then actually use it regularly, to maintain the skill.

    I've tried to teach myself several languages in the past, but Perl is the only one that took at all because I used it to solve problems. More importantly, I used it to solve problems I was really invested in solving.
    So, I recommend that you find a problem to solve! Find something at home or at work that you can automate in some way, some problem that a nice bit of Perl can solve for you, then work at making that problem go away. Then, do it again. Rinse, repeat, as necessary.
    Remember, this doesn't have to be an "official" problem or project, just something that you can use Perl to solve, or automate, or improve. It may mean spending some of your own, personal time to work on it, but, if that ends up helping you at the job, and gets you into a position where you can use Perl for work in an official, sanctioned way, then it'll be worth it, right?
    Also? Start small and work up. Pick a small project that can maybe grow into more projects or a larger project.

    The most important thing is to just go for it! Then come back and share your results, both good and bad, and work on your skills. You'll be surprised how quickly you get better at it. Honest.

    Good luck!
      Wow...frankly I didn't expect these many replies.I must say, Thanks to each one of you(Ratazong, moritz, roboticus, theantler, RyuMaou) for your honest opnion and suggestions. I'll definetly start implementing your suggestions and hopefully in coming days, I'll get better and come back with some real questions. Thanks again !! Jags

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