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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • ...much discussion about the current "drought" of Perl coders. Very difficult to find decent Perl people at the moment...

    While it's good that wages for Perl programmers (certainly ones flexible about where they live) are sky high at the moment...

    Er, where ? A quick scan of DICE indicates there are certainly lots of Perl positions (which in turn calls into question the perception of Perl's "slow death", as recently expounded in p5p). Yet, for those few job posts which provide a salary or contract rate, the numbers are pretty low. The few instances where salaries/rates seem decent, are located in very high cost areas (NY, NY; SillyCon Valley; LA, CA; etc.). And many of those Perl positions are just glorified sysadmin jobs, or mundane QA jobs (not a slam on QA..but spending 90% of one's day rerunning the same tests over and over isn't likely to attract/retain high quality developers).

    Meanwhile, Java developers can still pull down very serious bucks in pretty much any market (despite its far less productive/nimble programming discipline), even with lots of offshoring to hold down wages. Since a "decent" Perl person is probably also a "decent" Java/C++/etc. person, the choice will usually come down to money and convenience. Given a choice on which professional path to follow, money talks, and Perl is being shouted down by Java and C#. If I can get paid more to grind out Java or C++ where I live, I'm not likely to pack up and move someplace for less money just to work on Perl.

    Given that your comments arose after a meeting with, I'd suggest the complaints you're hearing are directly related to the fact that people with good Perl skills usually have decent math skills. And so they realize that living in LA now requires > $120K/year to have any hope of quality of life (e.g., owning a home within 45 minutes of work, being able to save for retirement, etc.). Since that kind of income is probably impossible to achieve as a Perl developer - or even manager of Perl developers - many of us have left to find more reasonable places to call "home". I'd suggest that, if your audience is serious about finding quality Perl developers, maybe they need to be a bit more flexible - and realistic - about where those developers can afford to live on the wages they're willing to pay.

    I also have a hunch that there's some middleman inflation in the system; I know of a couple recent Perl posts with < $45/hr rates for which the employer was paying closer to $90/hr. So both the constractor and the employer were getting screwed. (Smells a bit like the mid-90's again). I'm also surprised by the relatively few posts to compared to the major job boards. I'd think that employers looking for quality Perl people would know about j.p.o by now.

    As to the situation being "very very bad" for Perl, I'd suggest that, if the wage situation is as good as you contend - even tho I don't subscribe to that belief - it will actually attract more talent to Perl.