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How do you find good perl programmers to hire

by tmaly (Monk)
on Nov 21, 2011 at 16:34 UTC ( #939252=perlquestion: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??
tmaly has asked for the wisdom of the Perl Monks concerning the following question:


I have had quite some trouble trying to find a person to hire who knows object oriented perl. I have tried but I get many applicants who have only had scripting experience without any true OO design. Do you have any suggestions on how I could find experienced perl programmers in the NYC area?

Best regards,

Update: by OO design, I mean the traditional usage of blessed hash refs in perl.

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Re: How do you find good perl programmers to hire
by davido (Archbishop) on Nov 21, 2011 at 17:01 UTC

    Go to and find a Perl Mongers group in your area. Attend the local meeting. There is a, as well as several others that couldn't be too far away. I find that every time I attend a Perl Mongers meeting in So. Cal. there are people there looking for programmers, and people there looking for work.


Re: How do you find good perl programmers to hire
by sundialsvc4 (Abbot) on Nov 22, 2011 at 03:43 UTC

    If you are looking for truly-qualified Perl programmers, your true problem is never going to be finding them ... it’s going to be finding a free time-slot in their busy schedule.   If you are not getting bites from “the right kind of fish,” then change your bait.

    Okay, some things can’t be avoided ... some minnows will strike indiscriminately at everything that is thrown into the pond.   But unfortunately, 99% of that is just noise.   If you are not getting prompt “strikes” from the kind of fish that you are looking for, then you need to make sure that your inquiry both adequately reflects what you need, and that it is of a nature that will actually attract the attention of those fish.

    And what is going to attract them?   A clear description of a business-problem that they know they can profitably be engaged to solve.   But also, a clear indication that you know what the problem is, and that you have both “the Money, the Authority, and the Pain” to actually address it.   (If you don’t have all three, then, pardon me, you are “just fishin’.”)

    For example, “knows object-oriented Perl” does not actually say jack squat (pardon me...) about why you need that.   Therefore, write your advertisement so that it mostly talks about “what you need, not what you need Your Ideal Candidate to have.”   Assume, from the outset, that you are hiring a true professional contractor, not an employee.   Don’t talk about the individual you want to hire (or to engage):   strictly talk about the job that you have to do, and assume that a professional software contractor knows his or her stuff.   Don’t waste your time, or theirs, saying stuff that is roughly equivalent to, “competent with the use of a hammer and a power saw ... knows how to cut a two-by-four to proper length.”   (And please do not take offense at this, because I mean none.   “This is the Internet,” so I feel that I can just speak plainly.)

    Also, please do not assume that the individual (or more likely, the LLC) which you engage must be “in NYC.”   Most likely, it won’t be.   You need work done.   “You care only about the results obtained.”   You are severely limiting yourself if you place limits on where those people physically reside.   Write a contract with an LLC that guarantees that you will obtain what you actually want your corporation to receive from their corporation. “   Just like you would do with The Cable Guy.™   (And if you do not yet know what that should be, that is in fact perfectly to be expected:   therefore, your first contract should be for expert and impartial consultation.)

    In the traditional job-seeking scenario, you put out your bait, and everyone (on Monster) strikes at it, and you get to sort between them.   You pick one, then find office-space and wrestle with I-9 or W-2.   But the sort of people that you are really looking for don’t play that game anymore, because they don’t have to.   Strange as it may seem, you need to attract them.   These people do have the ability ... in spades ... to solve whatever business problem you may have.   Therefore, describe it.   You are speaking to people who are in the business of doing this kind of work, so you are dealing with LLCs, not people.   They’re out there, and, in case you haven’t already guessed, they’re all right here.   They are going to qualify you.   They are going to calculate (very quickly) whether it’s likely to be worth their time to strike at your bait.   If they do, take a number ... and be happy.


      Great comment. You should think about expanding it a bit and turn it into a meditation.

      What follows is my personal view on this topic:

      As you might already know, i don't work freelance, i like having a fixed job. I do this job because i'm interested in it, not for the money (which is quite handy, because there isn't much in it).

      My boss let's me solve interesting problems. I wrote an open source webserver. I got to play with industrial robots. My software juggles data around that has a direct and immediate consequence in logistics and finance (i like the adrenalin rush when update-to-production time comes around)...

      Of course, i am getting paid a regular wage for it. I could have that at a dozen of companies that tried to headhunt me over the last year or so. But why change the employer and get bogged down for six months learning red tape of someone else - when i could spend that time getting paid for doing what i love.

      As long as it pays the rent, electricity, the pizza delivery and the occasional new geeky toy(1), the wage is not a very big concern when i choose a job. The potential fun, adrenaline rushes, chances to learn new interesting things and the possibility to head my own team that are the deciding factors for me.

      (1) I think, the slogan of these chocolate surprise eggs could be adapted: "something blinky, something to program and a surprise"
      Don't use '#ff0000':
      use Acme::AutoColor; my $redcolor = RED();
      All colors subject to change without notice.

        Thanks.   “HTH.”

        I made those comments from the point-of-view, of course, from that of the business owner, and BTW not for advertising purposes.   But I also made them from the perspective of a guy who knows that he has no business whatsoever in a Home Depot store.   No, every time I bought something from that place, I used it to screw-up something until I finally learned my lesson ... and, for all the years I lived in Phoenix, my lesson’s name was Paul Stringer.   (Yeah, you can take that as an endorsement, to this day, if he’s still in business.)   I could tell Paul what I wanted, and he would quote me a price, and he and his team would do the work as-promised and give me a warranty on the result.   I never forgot that lesson.   Instead, I structured what is now a prosperous twenty-plus year-old business around those principles.

        Another guy whose name now escapes me caught me flat-footed with a busted water pipe, quickly fixed the problem, checked the rest of the piping in the house and found it good, charged me fifty bucks and left me a stack of business cards.   Smart man.   I would have had to pay him whatever he demanded, and I would have regretted it ever since, but he didn’t.   (And, yep, the busted water pipe was courtesy of another weekend “Homer,” my predecessor owner of that place, who apparently didn’t know that it’s a no-no to fasten a galvanized pipe fitting to a copper piping system in a place with hard water.   The HD price-tag was still on it.)   I still don’t know how to braze two pieces of copper pipe together with a blowtorch, but I have the business-cards of several local people who do, and their pipe-joints don’t leak or break off in my hand.   “Guaranteed.   I Like That.™”

        Know what you want the result to be, then shop for a professional corporation who can give you both a written specification of the results that you will obtain, and that can warrant in-writing that this is what you will receive.   Then, check their references carefully.   Be aware that, just as you find yourself sorting-through workers who are not qualified, they could find themselves sorting-through prospects who are not qualified, if they allowed it.   The businesses of construction, home repair, and software engineering really are not that different, in many ways, and even there, the “Home Depot analogy” once again holds true.

        You will find, lit up in bright lights on almost every street-corner, the companies who will merely sell you brightly packaged stuff and let you go home and screw-up with it any way you like.   The pros don’t go there.   In my experience (Your Mileage May Vary™), they rarely, if ever, accept work from those places, because they know that those stores will take work from anyone anywhere an shovel it off to them to figure out.   (Prospects, like suppliers and subcontractors, must be carefully vetted, because the name of this game is to come away with both a satisfied customer and a profit.)   They’re discriminating as to who they buy from, who they subcontract work to, and who they engage as clients.   They by-and-large don’t advertise anymore.   They operate by word-of-mouth and their own reputation.   They charge more money than anybody else does, and you can see why at a glance.

        And, where do you find those people, in the Perl community?   You find them right here, and BTW some of the very best ones rarely comment at all.   AFAIK, this is The Place.

      It's interesting how familiar this sounds looking at it from the other end. I've been programming in Perl for 15 years, but only once have I been hired as a "Perl programmer." Normally I get hired to sysadmin a server, or put a company's database online, or alter some chunks of text on a thousand web pages. Perl is the language I pull out of my toolbox for most things, but the client doesn't care (or know, usually) what tools I use, as long as the job gets done.

      I'd be glad to get paid specifically for writing Perl, but when I go looking for such jobs, a lot of them have those "ideal candidate" lists you mentioned, which seem designed to eliminate most applicants. I've used loads of Perl modules, and I know where to find more and how to learn how to use them. But am I an expert in any particular laundry list of modules? Probably not.

      For instance, I've dabbled with Moose, and if I need to know that for a project -- perhaps I'm taking over a half-finished project that depends on it -- I'll study and get up to speed on it. But if you say you're looking for Moose programmers, I won't apply for your job, because I'll assume you're looking for people who don't have to keep using perldoc to fill gaps in their knowledge of one of your basic requirements. I don't want to go to an interview and be unable to answer a question that's right from the first page of the perldoc, no matter how quickly I could find and use the answer during the job.

      So I agree: unless it's a work in progress with a group of programmers, so the candidate needs very specific knowledge to contribute, it'd be better to explain the problem you need solved, and not get caught up in the tools. If you want to scrape web sites, just say that. Don't say you need someone who's an expert in WWW::Mechanize, because then you'll miss the guy who prefers a different tool -- or has even written his own.

      Aaron B.
      My Woefully Neglected Blog, where I occasionally mention Perl.

Re: How do you find good perl programmers to hire
by Voronich (Hermit) on Nov 21, 2011 at 16:50 UTC

    As a perl programmer in NYC who's in the market and going to be out of work as of next Thursday, I'd love to know the answer to this as well :)

    As luis.roca just asked in CB in reference to this question: What do you mean by "OO perl"? Just OO design? Blessed references? Moose? etc.

Re: How do you find good perl programmers to hire
by eyepopslikeamosquito (Chancellor) on Nov 25, 2011 at 06:54 UTC
Re: How do you find good perl programmers to hire
by cspreston (Initiate) on Nov 25, 2011 at 00:03 UTC
    Finding a well qualified developer can be quite tough, but I have a simple answer...Get a Referral!! I actually know many talented (and affordable) Perl developers with OO expertise. I'd be happy to provide an introduction if anyone has a project they need assistance on. Thanks, Brett

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