Monday, 20 November 2006

So, here I am, with an uncomfortable sense of 'are my skills becoming obsolete?'.

$CurrentEmployer is, as I noted, predominantly a Java shop, and I have, in the past week, rolled out what's going to be the last piece of Perl development they need (modulo some differences of opinion between RedHat and Debian's default module setups, which means I'll be doing it all again today!). Which leaves me, pretty much, with the choices of: learn Java, or find a new job. Perl advocates the world over are no doubt cheering the fact that I made the second of those two choices. Let's face it, there wouldn't be much point in this blog otherwise: you'd be reading something called "A Perl Programmer's first steps in Java" instead.

Why? Well - two reasons, really.

First off, with what amounts to entry level Java skills plus (fortunately) a sound grasp of programming in and of itself, I'd be very much a junior developer, and while the idea of getting my teeth into a new language has a certain appeal, coming in well down the ladder, and spending most of my evenings drowning in J2EE acronym hell and a pile of "Learn $JavaThing in 30 Days" textbooks isn't my idea of fun.

And secondly? It's not Perl. For all this may not be clear in some of the previous postings, I love Perl, for its power and simplicity, for the fact that it /is/ a Swiss Army chainsaw, that I can do everything, from a one-liner to fix Apache2 module paths when porting from Debian to RedHat, to a complete CMS or banner ad serving engine, in the same language. And quite frankly? Java leaves me cold.

And it's to the rescue!

I'll admit, I was pleasantly surprised. There's a raft of Perl jobs up at the moment within commuting distance of where I live, mostly in London, and a surprising number that pay noticeably better than I'm currently earning (and are a good half an hour closer to home). In the context of this blog, they make interesting reading. A surprisingly large number mention 'OO Perl' as a requirement, and an equally, and almost correspondingly large, number mention LAMP, either by name or by implication.

By contrast, it's amusing searching the likes of Jobserve or Jobsite for jobs that mention Perl - what tends to come up is a lot of Java, .NET or sysadmin jobs with a little 'oh, and Perl scripting would be handy' coda tacked on the end. In fact, /all/ the jobs I've applied for this past week have come from

So, gentle reader, you're probably wondering where that leaves our hero? Actually, not too badly off. But, more of that in a later post.

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