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scrottie (4167)

scrottie
  scott@slowass.net
http://slowass.net/

My email address is scott@slowass.net. Spam me harder! *moan*

Journal of scrottie (4167)

Friday February 04, 2005
08:37 PM

Why I work for $5/hour

[ #23023 ]
If you Google for "computer programmer resume", by some fluke, I show up on the first page. In three years time, this has gotten me 0 paying jobs (two people had me do work and then didn't pay me). From 29/Aug/2002 to 18/Jan/2005, 66,571 people have looked at my resume and in its various incarnations and then not offered me a job. Motorola, Intel, Charles Scwab, and American Express - some of the largest employers in the Phoenix metro areas - have collectively closed most of their offices here, flooding the Phoenix job market with Perl programmers, but I think that's only part of the problem.

At one point, I installed a survey onto my resume to find out why I was so uninspiring. (This is a really old and strangely verbose version of my resume - I've tried a lot of different things - the survey lived through several incarnations.)

The results? Most people were "just looking for resume ideas" but by a close second was "dislike Perl/Perl programmers". Everything else was statistical noise by comparison. Once again, I picked the wrong horse. I've blogged about this in the past but I'm writing this super special to link to from my resume to explain to the hundreds of daily viewers why I'm selling myself for $5 USD an hour. I don't intend to convince you Perl is dead, only to justify myself in charging so little. PHP overtaken Perl according most surveys such as this one, Python is close behind Perl, and Java absolutely dominates.
  • Java is the most popular language by far in the skills areas of job posts. Formerly Java was used for client-side work, and then full on desktop apps, but now most of it is used for web programming. This is eroding scripting language's traditional (at least traditional for the last ten years) niche.
  • Within the realm of scripting languages, PHP has passed Perl long ago.
  • Within the realm of scripting languages, Python is nipping at Perl's heels. Both PHP and Perl have marginalized Perl development.
  • The hot areas - consumer electronics (embedded applications, such as cell phones and video game systems) and desktop applications don't consider Perl because other things are used more traditionally and for whatever other reasons. Web development itself is being marginalized.
  • Random data processing tasks are being better and more commonly served with other tools such as SAS, Matlab, Microsoft Access, Filemaker, and so on. There exists a shift away from writing quick disposable programs to do little tasks and buying off the shelf software.
  • Within the realm of applications programming, GUIs have become essential over the past 10 years. It used to be that simple utilities could be written that perhaps only popped up a (prewritten, generic) dialog and then munged some data or tweaked the database. Perl never really got its foot in the door with GUI programming. People think of VB, C#, C, and even Tcl for this. Obviously Perl programmers write GUIs in Perl but that isn't the point.
  • Having done web development work, I also can't be taken seriously as an applications programmer, systems programmer, embedded applications programmer, database architect, or system administrator.

Java programmers look down their nose at Perl programmers in much the same way Perl programmers look down their nose at PHP programmers. The fact that you'd even be associated with Perl demonstrates your complete apathy for writing quality software, all consuming ignorance, and total lack of taste. I'm soiled. I couldn't get a Java job if I tried. The last thing any development team it wants is to try to ween a programmer off BASIC-like programming habits. They'd rather teach a complete novice.

It's true most Perl programmers write some really awful code, but let me speak in my defence. I was programming long before Perl existed, I learned Java before I learned Perl, and not every Perl programmer writes poor code. I too dislike the vast major of Perl programmers and their work. I have a long history of successfully completing large projects in small teams or single handedly. I have a strong security background, a strong object oriented design background, and I understand database normalization. I'm a good programmer, and because I'm damaged goods (having worked with Perl), I'm dirt cheap. I hope I've convinced you that I'm hell of a bargain even though I'm damaged goods.

Comments? Post them in your own blog and email me and if I find your thoughts to be on topic, interesting, and demonstrating a comprehension of this article, I'll edit this post and link back to you.

-scott