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Programming Jobs

by Anonymous Monk
on Jan 20, 2015 at 19:52 UTC ( #1113933=perlquestion: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Anonymous Monk has asked for the wisdom of the Perl Monks concerning the following question:

I am fellow a Perl developer with solid experience and I cannot seem to find a good job in US Market after last round of lay-off. What is the current status of Perl Jobs and how should I go about it?

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Programming Jobs, use strict or do not pass go
by Your Mother (Archbishop) on Jan 20, 2015 at 20:40 UTC

    You should be able to demonstrate code/projects and thinking that show you are the one for the job. You might need to be willing to move; is still hiring in the Netherlands for example, and there are Perl jobs in parts of the US like Texas, California, Florida, and some of New England, and Old England for that matter but the pay in Greater London looks ludicrously low compared to the cost of living. There are telecommute jobs but youíre competing with the rest of the world so those jobs are harder to land.

    ďSolid experienceĒ in Perl could, frankly, mean senior spaghetti producer making life miserable and helping destroy Perlís reputation as a serious tool. Not saying you are, just to be clear the range of Perl chops is huge and not dependant on years served. So, have something to show that demonstrates clear, clean, modular, forward thinking, testable code that leverages existing tools. If that means taking 6 months to play catch-up and dig into things like Catalyst, Lucy, DBIx::Class, Plack/PSGI, App::cpanminus, WWW::Mechanize, WWW::Selenium, XML::XMLlib/XML::Twig, App::Ack, Test::More, Task::Kensho, etc to have a solid feeling for the corners of the Perl ecosphere in which you have interest, thatís better than flailing with a perl 5.4 skillset in a world where the Perl thatís survived tends to be a little leaner than the fat of the land in 2000. If you havenít already, spend a day or two going through a couple hundred questions on SO#perl. Many of them are difficult. Could you answer some/most/any? If you have an account there already and are answering questions, moreís the better. Same here at PM but the pipeline of questions at SO is bigger, though the answers tend to be more terse and less edifying.

    Iíve been waiting to tell this story but this seems like a good time. During our last hiring drive we had a candidate who had huge experience on paper, having built a crucial customer webapp at a large and successful companyís backend, and worked up to tech management. Everyone in the hiring committee was super excited to get him in for an interview. I had worked with him on a contract though and vetoed him categorically. His code base was essentially 500 client copies of the same code without warnings, without logging, without strict, without scoping, and without revision control. All his work was being replaced with Java as fast as was prudent because it was too hard to maintain. He also spent most of his work day screwing around but I didnít have to say anything other than: he eschews strict. That was all it took for my dissent to be accepted as a veto.

    Not using strict cost him a six figure job with benefits at a Fortune 100 corporation. It wasnít as simple as that obviously but it does boil down to it nicely and the attitude behind it.

      I'm sure he's just working somewhere else and making his 6 figures.
Re: Programming Jobs
by LanX (Sage) on Jan 20, 2015 at 19:58 UTC
    Strange I can't go to a YAPC without hearing echoes of "we are hiring" from everywhere.

    Though maybe only in Europe?

    Cheers Rolf

    PS: Je suis Charlie!

Re: Programming Jobs
by sundialsvc4 (Abbot) on Jan 21, 2015 at 15:15 UTC

    Whereas, my advice to you is to “look outside the boxes.”   Both the “I am a code-monkey developer” box, and the “I am a Perl developer” box.

    While I did write that paragraph to grab your attention, I did not write it to be desparaging of anyone here, nor of how (I know ...) many people here describe themselves.   I did write it to those people who are entirely accustomed to those “six-figure jobs” until they lose them ... which they are confident will never happen to them until, as in your case, it does.   I think that this just might include most people here.   It is quite distressing how many engagements I walk into where the entire staff is green.   There had recently been “a reorganization.”   The people responsible for it were idiots.   The people responsible for it got bonuses ...

    If your fortť is “writing computer source-code,” then you need to make it your business to know as many programming languages and tools as you can ... and to constantly be learning more.   You cannot hitch your wagon to any language, nor any platform, and today expect that esoteric knowledge to carry you all the way to white hair.   (Not-so many years ago, folks dreamed the same fantasies about ISPF and COBOL ...)   You cannot expect to be writing “AJAX-driven web-sites front-ending a MySQL database” for too many more years at all.

    Don’t limit yourself.   Over the course of my own career, I have written professional code (and been paid for it) in over twenty-five different languages, and, believe it or not, I became quite used to switching at-will from one to another.   Even if you enjoy being “a developer” and wish to continue “designing, writing and debugging systems of source-code,” there is in fact nothing tying you to “Perl.”   Think outside the box.   Think o-u-t-s-i-d-e the box!   (Your future depends on it, now.)

    Avoid being too long in any one market vertical.   (For instance, “health care” and “insurance” are the wrong places to be in the United States right now.)   If you are perceived as being only a technical expert, especially if only in one segment (Perl ...), then just remember that someone out there who really doesn’t understand what you do for the company considers you to be very expen$ive.

    And there will be ever-increasing competition. As shown in this WeWorkRemotely post, an earnest start-up called The Launch Academy, having taught about 100 students per year the last two years in its classrooms, is now confidently saying [to its investors] that it will train 10,000 aspiring developers online this year.   They probably will do it, and their graduates expensive certificate holders will snag plenty of (even ...) “Perl jobs,” yes, in direct competition with you, yes, in spite of all that you know compared to them.   There are still plenty of code-writers who get paid in rupees and who walk home in mud.   (And plenty other fine Indian professionals of the highest order ... I am not being racist here.)

    Or, someone might successfully sell someone else on the idea that “the legacy system” (the very one that’s paying you six figures ...) is obsolete, and that, oh-by the-by, by getting rid of the thing, they can afford to lay you off reduce their costs.   All of these things happen.   A lot.   They’re crazy.   Yes, they are.   They have no idea how much this will actually cost them.   Right you are.   Now, go pack your cubicle.

    How do you counter this?   By gaining diverse experience in programming tools (not just Perl); by finding ways to leverage what you now know (Perl) into a chance to learn something new; and by broadening your sales pitch (yes, you have a sales-pitch, because yes, you are selling ...) to include more skills of demonstrable business-value that appeal to the non-geeks who have problems and who have money to spend on solving them.   By cultivating people at every job you have ever had, who will speak well of you.   (Not just your boss.)

    Since you find yourself out of a job, take anything you can find anywhere.   Make it a little game ... a game separate profession called:   selling.   “How many ways can I sell the Fuller Brushes that are in my box, to whoever might be in that next house?”   Any manager who works with computers has some problem that you can address, if only you can sell them on the idea that you’re the one (among hundreds).

    And go read a little, red, book:   The Little Red Book on Selling.   The experience of today’s “itinerant self-employed machinist skilled laborer” has plenty of historic parallels, which are not necessarily pretty.   There used to be people who could build a working steam locomotive from ingots, and who routinely did.   Their skills, gained over half a lifetime ... were ... in great ... demand ...   They had to adapt.   A lot of social historians wrote some really interesting (and, very alarming) books about their experience, which many of you might find to be disturbingly relevant.

    Now, after those of you who will, have all cast your obligatory downvotes against “his latest crazy rant” ... just go back and think about it.

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