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Is PerlMonks relevant for one's Perl marketability?

by reisinge (Friar)
on Sep 07, 2012 at 11:51 UTC ( #992294=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

I wonder whether this statement from Damian praises Perl Monks (2001) is still valid: "If I were looking to improve my Perl marketability for the future, is the place I'd be hanging out." What do you think? Do you have some related experience?

Update: related information (draft document for Perl recruiters).

Have a nice day, j

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Re: Is PerlMonks relevant for one's Perl marketability?
by moritz (Cardinal) on Sep 07, 2012 at 14:15 UTC

    It's kind of funny, when I go to a Perl conference, many people know me from perlmonks. When I apply for a job, people know me from conferences or from my Perl 6 work.

    I got my new job through personal connections (some of which were made at Perl workshops), and the other applications I submitted contained references to github and perlmonks, and none of the interviewers mentioned either of those.

    My current line would be "If I were looking to improve my Perl marketability for the future, I'd write tools that Perl programmers use".

    I'd love it to be true that perlmonks increase marketability, but my own, limited experience can't confirm it.

      I'd say that perlmonks helps, but is not sufficient - no one little corner of the community is sufficient on its own. And in my experience, the best way to get a job is to have already written part of your prospective employer's codebase or toolchain.
Re: Is PerlMonks relevant for one's Perl marketability?
by runrig (Abbot) on Sep 07, 2012 at 14:43 UTC
    If "learning stuff" increases your marketability, then yes, it's true.
      Suppose this is the sentiment I'd agree with. I've basically never* been asked about my participation on PerlMonks. I have, however, used some of the trickery I've learned here to place me ahead of the pack in my chosen niche.

      *I can only recall being asked one single time in the past decade, by a coworker, if I was "on" this site...

        From my point of view, it's not so much as "having an account on PM" that counts. It's more like, if someone tries to get a job as Perl programmer but doesn't know that (s)he can search PM for answers, that person is bound to run into troubles either during the job interview or the probation period...

        "I know what i'm doing! Look, what could possibly go wrong? All i have to pull this lever like so, and then press this button here like ArghhhhhaaAaAAAaaagraaaAAaa!!!"
Re: Is PerlMonks relevant for one's Perl marketability?
by aaron_baugher (Curate) on Sep 07, 2012 at 16:19 UTC

    I hope it's true, since it's a major reason I'm here, but I can't confirm it (yet). I enjoy helping people here, and I certainly learn a lot, but my main reason for checking in every day and posting hundreds of times is to build up a corpus of evidence that I have a clue. As someone whose Perl work has mostly been behind-the-scenes sysadmin and quick-hack stuff and CGIs that have long since been replaced, I don't have a list of CPAN modules or much public stuff to promote myself. I intend to change that, but in the meantime, I figure I can point to my writeups here and the votes they've gotten as evidence that I know what I'm doing.

    However, I haven't done that yet, because I haven't yet revamped my own web site to act as a Perl portfolio and point here as one of my references. So I can't really say whether it would help if I took more advantage of it. I can say that no one's ever contacted me here to hire me, but I get the impression that everyone who comes here intends to do his own work (or get someone to provide the answer for free). So I don't think employers are very likely to just stumble over you here, because this isn't that kind of site.

    It may be different for the guys at the very top of the food chain, but that's my experience at level 11. And if any of that sounds like a complaint, I don't mean it that way. This is my favorite Perl site, bar none, and I learn enough here to make it worth participating even if it never generates a dollar of paid work.

    Aaron B.
    Available for small or large Perl jobs; see my home node.

      I suspect that Perl and employment pull in opposite directions: the goal of every Perl programmer is surely to avoid work?

        Ultimately, yes. But in my case, an intermediate goal is to avoid truly unpleasant work like PHP or web design by finding more enjoyable work involving Perl.

        Aaron B.
        Available for small or large Perl jobs; see my home node.

        Yes... and no.

        For example, i'm a lazy person. Or i tried to be, anyway.

        In the process of avoiding having to figure out how to get Apache, PHP and PostgreSQL working on Windows Server 2003 i ended up coding a full-up implementation of my own webserver and webframework. Plus my own mailserver. And a full websocket implementation. Oh, and did i mention my Radius server and minimal test implementation of a GTK3+WebKit based browser? Which is also one of the reasons why i get volunteered rather involuntarily to hold talks on a few local open source conferences each year.

        So, yes, most Perl developers are lazy. In a rather busy and productive way...

        Not complaining, just saying. It's been fun so far, after all.

        "I know what i'm doing! Look, what could possibly go wrong? All i have to pull this lever like so, and then press this button here like ArghhhhhaaAaAAAaaagraaaAAaa!!!"

      Well, recruiters don’t look at PerlMonks, but most Perl programmers do with some frequency.   Being a participant may emphasize that you do (or do not) know what you’re talking about, but really it is your work that speaks for you or against you most clearly.   No matter what else you do in a workplace, don’t piss anyone else off.   You need a body of work that you can demonstrate, and you need good co-worker references.   And none of that is ever going to do your selling for you.

      Marketability is strictly determined by your skills of self-promotion; that is to say, marketing.   I have a friend who is an excellent sysadmin, but, bless him, he couldn’t promote himself out of a paper bag.   Talks about amazing stuff that he routinely does, and it really is amazing stuff ... but put him into an interview and you can almost hear the blam!! as the bullet hits the foot.   Again.   So, participation in a forum is definitely something that you can use in self-marketing efforts, but your success is largely going to depend on your abilities of self-marketing in general.   It’s a skill that must be learned.

        s/most Perl programmers/something like 2 of Perl programmers/
Re: Is PerlMonks relevant for one's Perl marketability?
by philiprbrenan (Monk) on Sep 07, 2012 at 15:42 UTC

    Is it the case that companies prefer not to hire experts as employees?

Re: Is PerlMonks relevant for one's Perl marketability?
by Argel (Prior) on Sep 07, 2012 at 21:50 UTC

      Sadly, people aren't throwing money at me for my contributions to that thread (or my decade+ on this site).

        That's because the rest of us are siphoning off your marketability! ;)
        (just kidding of course)

        On a more serious note, I bet it has helped with the marketability of your books.

        Elda Taluta; Sarks Sark; Ark Arks
        My deviantART gallery

        But your contributions are mighty valuable to the rest of us ... and we make money in part through Perl.   (That means, thank you!)

        Plus, consider what is the very-routine experience here:   you hit a roadblock, and by now you know to stop and to Seek Perl Wisdom, and ... bang!! ... often within fifteen minutes you are looking at a thread of very detailed replies, maybe several chunks of extemporaneously-written code.   You are back on track, and you learned a lot.   “Hit counts” do not mean anything.   What matters is the effectiveness of the encounter, and around here, the effectiveness is consistently gigantic.

Re: Is PerlMonks relevant for one's Perl marketability?
by itnomad (Scribe) on Sep 07, 2012 at 22:22 UTC

    Although I have earned a living as a perl programmer in the past, I really don't have the kind of education or experience that is going to get me hired. I know opportunities will present themselves in the future, and I have to be as ready as I can. I must be able to understand the requirements and do useful stuff from day one.

    My job now is to prepare myself as best I can for that day. I am reading, studying, doing all the exercises, and everything else I can think of. I'm level one here, but starting now, my goal is to become as much of an expert as I can.

    PerlMonks is helpful. Most of my time here lately has been in the Meditations section. But, also The Gates, Cool Uses, Recent Threads; there are just so many ways here to get useful information. I've actually been a member for over 5 years. The tutorials have been helpful many times. There is real code to review. The people here that really know Perl are available and willing to help. There are a lot of interesting sections: Perl News, Poetry, Obfuscation, etc. It would be great if helps my marketability, but this is only one aspect of why the site is so important to me.

Re: Is PerlMonks relevant for one's Perl marketability?
by CountZero (Bishop) on Sep 08, 2012 at 11:49 UTC
    As always the answer is "It depends".

    If your prospective employer is specifically looking for a perl-programmer, you can but hope that he knows the Perl social environment of which Perlmonks is indeed an important part.

    I always put a link to my homepage here in my on-line sites (and I am not even a professional programmer). Of course, if your would-be employer checks you out on Perlmonks and you have negative XP and all your posts are of a trollish nature or have been reaped by Him-who-should-not-be-named, it is not going to help you.


    A program should be light and agile, its subroutines connected like a string of pearls. The spirit and intent of the program should be retained throughout. There should be neither too little or too much, neither needless loops nor useless variables, neither lack of structure nor overwhelming rigidity." - The Tao of Programming, 4.1 - Geoffrey James

    My blog: Imperial Deltronics
Re: Is PerlMonks relevant for one's Perl marketability?
by blue_cowdawg (Monsignor) on Sep 10, 2012 at 15:38 UTC
        Do you have some related experience?

    More than once when interviewing for a Perl position I have had an employer ask me if I were a member of Perl Monks and then have them look up my profile.

    Similarly more and more potential employers are using resources like Google and LinkedIN to find out more information about potential employees. It is not a bad idea to "keep your nose clean" on the Internet these days and make sure you don't say bad things about your current employer on Facebook, Perl Monks, MySpace (does that even live any more?), LinkedIn or any other forums.

    Peter L. Berghold -- Unix Professional
    Peter -at- Berghold -dot- Net; AOL IM redcowdawg Yahoo IM: blue_cowdawg
Re: Is PerlMonks relevant for one's Perl marketability?
by sundialsvc4 (Abbot) on Sep 10, 2012 at 16:27 UTC

    I would cautiously stick my head out here and say that, “maybe where you’re going wrong (whoever you are, wherever you’re going ...), is that you are putting far too much faith in job-sites and/or recruiters!”

    The essential “value proposition” of a recruiter is that he-or-she is “in the know” about the jobs that you want and is in the best position (or, the only position) to get your foot into the door.   But I would argue that this proposition really does not pan-out at all in practice.   The recruiter does not really know the product (“you ...”) and is scarcely in a position to feel that he or she must find out.   After all, there are thousands of “hits” coming up in his or her back-end search of Monster.Com.   “Just play the numbers:   spew resumes at the prospect, and hope that one of them sticks so that you can collect your fee.   Calculate your ‘hit-rate’ and be happy with 5 percent.”

    People have no idea that their Monster-ous resumes are expensive for people to actually hire.   Nor do they fathom how identical they appear, when viewed through Monster’s macro-scopic lens.   The real reason why their system isn’t working for you, is that it doesn’t work.

    Don’t expect anyone else to do your selling for you ... and also, don’t imagine that “I know how to program in Perl” is actually what you are or should be selling.   I have, over three decades, used close to two-dozen programming language tools in professional work, and I have grown quite good at selling that expertise, none of which is “programming-language specific.”   I can also gage whether a particular prospect is likely to be a worthwhile sales-target for me or not, and I politely but quickly dispose of those that are unlikely.

    The person who buys my expertise and services isn’t buying it for the fact that I know how to design and re-engineer big business systems “in Perl.”   (Or COBOL, or SAS®, or Prolog, or ...)   They buy because they’ve got a system in-trouble and they want to achieve a project rescue/turn-around.   There is something in it, first and foremost, for them.   The business situation that they are in right now is going to be mitigated, and the business risk of getting back in the same hot-water in the future is going to be substantially reduced.   Your “value prop” is probably going to be much different.   Nevertheless, you must know what it is, and be able to say it clearly and persuasively.   With or without Perl.

    He who has a thing to sell / But talks about it in a well / Is much less apt to get the dollars / Than he who stands on hill, and hollers.

      I've never actually applied for a job and have always been on the other side of the table. However my experience leads me to believe that employers generally want someone who can make problems go away. If you can convince them you can do that better than the other candidates they'll hire you. Another observation is that suits are a bit dim and unless the hirer is a programmer they'll generally hire whoever seems cleverest. Only an experienced programmer knows that the cleverest solutions are often not the best solutions but they won't hire you for pointing out the simple and obvious solution they could have thought of themselves. They think that's worthless.
Re: Is PerlMonks relevant for one's Perl marketability?
by stevieb (Abbot) on Sep 12, 2012 at 21:47 UTC

    I'd like to respond to this from an Internet Engineer/Sysadmin standpoint...

    "I'm not a programmer", so being on PerlMonks has not improved my marketability in this sense, but being here has most certainly improved my skills when it comes time to jam out low-level tools that either save a company time, resources or manpower (saving money in essence), and being able to tout my automation and consolidation skills because of my Perl programming knowledge absolutely has increased my marketability.

    The people I have met here which led to the books I've purchased, countless thousands of documents I've read and practiced and problems I've tried to fix for people (most cases I'd be done long after someone else has posted but I tried it anyways) has led me to be a far greater task-manager and engineer.

    The very way I look at most technical problems has evolved positively just by following the creative and insightful responses (and even questions) I've experienced on PerlMonks.

    So marketability? Yes. Not because I can say I've been here or am a good programmer, but by touting what I've learned from all of the fabulous people that reside here.


Re: Is PerlMonks relevant for one's Perl marketability?
by tmaly (Monk) on Sep 12, 2012 at 14:41 UTC

    I have been interviewing people for perl programming positions for the last few years. I always ask what they use to keep learning new things, and if they mention perlmonks its always a good sign

    My biggest difficulty is finding people who can think in abstractions and program perl

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