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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • I have been delaying this update in the hope that a review of a videotape would provide definitive evidence, but attempts to obtain that information have not succeeded. But we can't wait forever for resolution, so here's an update.

    On the basis of the written record provided by Autrijus Tang [perl.org], it seems likely that the questions were stated a bit differently than I and some others present had recalled; here's a pseudo-code rendition of his version:

    if (outcome_of_discussion() > $threshold_for_action) {

    --

    Dr. Tim Maher
    CEO, Consultix
    Perl and UNIX Training [teachmeperl.com]
    • So some unknown portion of the FOR voters were voting against prejudicially closing debate, as opposed to voting for immediate development. This adequately explains the shock & awe in the community to the early reports.

      As Col.McKean said in Continental Congress about the question of discussing the question of Independence, nothing is too dangerous to talk about. In an open source community, I would hope the vote would be to discuss almost anything. (I draw the line at discussing deprecation of Perl

      --
      Bill
      # I had a sig when sigs were cool
      use Sig;
      • I am somewhat disturbed that a vote to continue discussion has been repeatedly reported as a vote to start a process. Apparently this was an inadvertent result of natural human optimism and vagueness combined with lack of formal minuting at a non-bureaucratic event.

        ... not to mention the spontaneity of the vote being sprung on us all, and the odd wording of the questions. What's more, "optimism" wasn't required for a reaction of "shock and awe". Nat Torkington, who was both present and against the idea of Certification, told me he was "horrified" at the strong majority of those voting on the "FOR" side. I think that was one of the factors that led me, perhaps with the aid of some renegade memory-polishing processes, to believe that they had truly been voting to "make it so".

        What's that have to do with Perl? Our Perl culture is inherently "alternate", proudly so ... In general software engineering, a single certificate won't cover all uses (BioPerl? PDL Perl? Graphical perl? SysAdmin Perl? PWB/Toolsmith Perl?)

        You seem to be assuming, like many do, that a Perl programming certificate would document the testee's ability to program in different application areas. While that would be a laudable goal, it would also be a very ambitious one. My feeling is that the first type of certificate we'd want to produce would be simply one that tests familiarity with the core language itself, which would be just enough to help HR departments screen out JAPH impersonators. Judging their problem-solving ability at the higher levels of performance, or familiarity with techniques required for different specialized kinds of programming, would be outside the scope of the test. (Although I could see adding DBI and CGI sub-tests, etc., later on.)

        The "grandiose" model of certifying all skills remotely Perlish (general problem-solving ability, exemplary style, etc.) is frequently assumed by those concerned about the possibility of the success of a Certifcation Program, but that presents formidable challenges to implementation. I don't think we have to go that far to make a useful advancement from the status quo.

        The existence of University certificates that include Perl tells me that the lack of certified programmers is not what is blocking Perl adoption in mainstream IT hiring. I think it's a fantasy that a sudden supply of Certified Perl Mongers would create a demand for such.

        AFAIK, the program I'm affiliated with at the U of WA is one of only a handful in the entire USA. So the relative shortage of such programs could indeed be a current obstacle to job-seekers.

        Imagine a Hiring Manager who realizes (at some time in the near future) that Perl 6 provides the enterprise capabilities his programmers need, and is considering using JAPHs on an upcoming project. Do we really want him to choose Java because his HR department has no way of screening out applicants who don't know Perl 6?

        Also, I believe the "character" and "reputation" of a language affect its opportunities in the enterprise world, along with its technical properties. I was utterly shocked when I discovered early on in my explorations of Perl that it didn't even have a beautifier! That was a deal-breaker for me, so I had to either write one [teachmeperl.com], or two [teachmeperl.com], or give Perl up. I'm convinced that many Hiring Managers feel the same way about the current lack of a decent Certification Program. It's true that many S&P 500 companies with big IT shops have developed homegrown ones, but I'd like to make it easier for the Russell 2000 (i.e., smaller companies) to use Perl.

        Personally, I think a "Completed my course" bit of wall art from Dr.Tim, Merlyn, or Damian, is more impressive than a "passed our multiple guess test" from the Perl Certification Board (even if signed by the same Dr.Tim).

        I may have agreed with you ten years ago, but not now. The difference is that every corporate training organization I know of has long ago stopped testing their students at the course's end to decide who gets a certificate (govt trainers are still an exception, AFAIK). So at this point in time, a University certificate has an edge over a corporate training class in documenting that the student actually acquired a certain amount of knowledge (assuming proper cheating-controls - a problem nowadays with "remote learning"). That's why IMHO JAPHs should have the option of voluntarily taking a standard, approved certification test, to document their knowledge (yes, even the ones who've got a Timological or Damianiacal Certificate).

        Bill
        Perl is my *second* swiss-army language in 25 years. I started with PL/I.

        <GRIN> Me too, with the PL/C (Cornell) variation, although I consider AWK the first language that freed me from the "tyranny of the computer" to code in a more "organic" style.

        --

        Dr. Tim Maher
        CEO, Consultix
        Perl and UNIX Training [teachmeperl.com]
        • I did my best to observe foy's law[*] on this discussion, but this point needs to be addressed:

          The existence of University certificates that include Perl tells me that the lack of certified programmers is not what is blocking Perl adoption in mainstream IT hiring. I think it's a fantasy that a sudden supply of Certified Perl Mongers would create a demand for such.

          AFAIK, the program I'm affiliated with at the U of WA is one of only a handful in the entire USA. So the relative shortage of such programs c

        • My feeling is that the first type of certificate we'd want to produce would be simply one that tests familiarity with the core language itself, which would be just enough to help HR departments screen out JAPH impersonators.

          Do you really mean to use the word 'familiarity'?

          As a person who hires perl programmers, I'm not looking for familiarity, I'm looking for proficiency. And not just proficiency in in knowing perl, but proficiency in the application areas, namely database interaction, secure web progr

          • I'll weed out the players. If I'm not hiring an entry level position, I want to hear about projects, applications, live sites, etc.

            I can evaluate familiarity in an interview in about 2 minutes.

            I'm sure you can; but the benefit of even the most rudimentary type of Perl Certificate would be that it would let your HR department filter out those who don't have a basic grasp of the language before they ever get to the point of a scheduled interview with you (whether by phone or in person). If you get 200

            --

            Dr. Tim Maher
            CEO, Consultix
            Perl and UNIX Training [teachmeperl.com]