I know some of the hard-core Perl people will think about me as a heretic when I mention the M word (either money or marketing) but in the end you do need to feed your cat or dog, not to mention your kids, don't you?
As Peter Shangov pointed out one of the (or the main?) reason so many companies are using Java or Microsoft technologies for writing applications is because both of those worlds help many people to make money and thus these people are promoting the respective technologies.
We in the Perl community are also promoting our technology but in a grass-root way, usually far from the high-level decision makers. We do it mostly because we believe in the technology, we know it can solve the problems at hand in a good way and we like our language.
In the end we do quite similar things just in different channels.
So I have been wondering how could we help people make (more) money using Perl? Let's take a look at who is using Perl and what each of them needs?
There are the system administrators who tweak Unix and Linux machines and to some small extent Windows machines who sometimes need to automate things. They promote Perl by solving tasks and then showing to their piers and superiors how it was done using Perl. How much time and money they saved for the organization etc. The health of Perl does not have a direct impact on their salary but it does effect their quality of life. If they did not have perl on the system or if perl was banned they would enjoy their work less. On the other hand perl makes them more productive than others who don't know perl - or don't know it well enough - and thus they are more valuable to the organizations. Some of them can translate this to higher salary.
The fact that Perl is on every system helps them get their job done. The lack of many pre-installed CPAN modules and the relative hardship to distribute them to all the system hinders their job. If it was easier to distribute their code along with various dependencies, their life would be easier and their value would be higher.
Their salary won't change in large percentages along the level of acceptance of Perl but it will be easier for them to find a better jobs if their knowledge of Perl had a higher valuation among managers.
Perl being in a better position would also make more sysadmins learn Perl so the total value generated will be higher.
For these people what the Perl community can do is to strengthen the view of Perl as an important tool for system administrators. If possible we should let managers understand that sysadmins who know Perl are more valuable. For this some kind of an evaluation system might help but certification is not likely to happen in the Perl community so we should think of some other way to show a potential employer that someone knows perl at an adequate level. (References?)
What else do you think would help system administrators have a better position to earn more money or find better jobs?
Published on 2009-11-23 by Gabor Szabo