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Perl for all ages?

by MaxKlokan (Monk)
on Feb 09, 2007 at 20:18 UTC ( #599267=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

I was wondering what can be the age distribution of the Perl programmers? I am in my late thirties, and I have the impression the Perl is more for "old" foxes like me, while younger programmers are more on the Java and PHP side.

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Re: Perl for all ages?
by Util (Priest) on Feb 10, 2007 at 01:07 UTC

    Here are some stats on monks who have coded their homepages with the magic 'birthday' tag, taken from the wonderful Perl Monks Statistical Page.
    Average age: 33 years, 1 month, 9 days.

    10 10-19 224 20-29 279 30-39 73 40-49 18 50-59 4 60-69
    Here is the generating code:

Re: Perl for all ages?
by Old_Gray_Bear (Bishop) on Feb 09, 2007 at 22:33 UTC
    MaxKlokan said: "I am in my late thirties, and I have the impression the Perl is more for "old" foxes like me ... "

    I turn 60 in a few months. I guess that makes me a 'geriatric fox'....

    The youngest Perl programmer that I have encountered was 12 or 13; the oldest I know of is two years older than I. That gives us an 'average age of a Perl programmer' of 37-ish.

    I Go Back to Sleep, Now.


Re: Perl for all ages?
by lin0 (Curate) on Feb 09, 2007 at 21:18 UTC

    Hi MaxKlokan,

    It is really hard to know the age distribution of Perl Programmers. For example, the age of the developers I know cover a very broad range. I know a couple of very good Venezuelan programmers that are under 20. I know some others that are in their mid twenties and some in their mid thirties (also from Venezuela). I also know some other programmers in their late thirties and mid to late forties (from the US). If you look at a local sample, you will have a biased view of what is out there. By the way, my son (he is a four years old Canadian He is a proud Canadian that is four years old) likes to play with the text editor I use and he loves to see how the text changes color depending on whether he types #, $, ... :-) I know he does not qualify as a Perl Programmer yet but maybe in a couple of years ;-)


      my son (he is a four years old Canadian)

      "four years old Canadian"? So with the exchange rate that's, what . . . 5 or 6 American? :)

      (Heh, I actually just checked and it'd be 3.4121 today; I must have been thinking GBP which would have been 7 or 8 :)

        Hi Fletch,

        I don't know. I will ask him and I will get back to you later ;-)



        Read the Sam Small stories by Eric Knight. It explains at one point how children grow up much faster in America.

Re: Perl for all ages?
by dragonchild (Archbishop) on Feb 09, 2007 at 20:39 UTC
    I'm 31. Most Perl devs I know are close to my age or younger. Audrey, for example, is like 26.

    My criteria for good software:
    1. Does it work?
    2. Can someone else come in, make a change, and be reasonably certain no bugs were introduced?
Re: Perl for all ages?
by zentara (Archbishop) on Feb 10, 2007 at 13:03 UTC
    I have the impression the Perl is more for "old" foxes like me, while younger programmers are more on the Java and PHP side

    I think that is because the youngsters are forced to use Java because of the school's forcing it on them. But as they grow older and wiser, they switch to Perl. :-)

    I'm not really a human, but I play one on earth. Cogito ergo sum a bum
      This is unfortunately near the mark.

      I myself am a few months from 20, been using Perl just over a year.
      I've known Java for years, and that was the language of my school (University of Waterloo, in Ontario, Canada) for the first year, but then we move to C++.

      Fortunately most of my fellow Comp Sci majors are skeptical and intelligent enough to not just drink the Java Kool-Aid without question. Still, they look at me funny when I mention Perl. By the time they finish asking me why I use such a dead/write-only/old/etc. language, my work is done, and that's all the reason I need. A few are beginning to see the light.

      Back when I was first learning Perl, I used to worry that loose typing would "guess wrong" and cause problems, and the parameter passing was almost too weird to accept.
      Eventually, I got used to this, and now it's the opposite: In Java or C++ I'm constantly wishing for map, reduce and grep. It takes so long to get anything done in those languages. At least C++ runs fast when you finally get finished.
Re: Perl for all ages?
by varian (Chaplain) on Feb 12, 2007 at 11:47 UTC
    Well, just to bust the myth that youngsters don't use Perl....

    Perl is my son's first programming language, he started at the age of 11. His first program was a guessing game.

    So why would a kid start programming in Perl?

    Well, first of all the basics of Perl are not that difficult. For instance scalar variables don't require you to choose between integers, real, character, string, etc. They simply provide a memory container for whatever you feel fit. For flow control the 'if' and 'while' constructs are sufficient to start with.

    Secondly, quick positive feedback! It is straightforward to link a small Perl program to some operating system application using the system call. Provided with a almost oneliner example my son could use text-to-speech and generate voice feedback via his programs. And what's more rewarding than to make your computer speak? Cool!
    He used something like this:

    $text='Congratulations, your guess was right'; system("say $text");
    The say application was really a tiny Perl script that I've written for him to call the text-to-speech program festival on a Linux box with arguments so that it would simply voice the string provided to it.

    As with all things kids need a little guidance especially in the beginning to get them going. It's not too difficult to write a broken Perl program yet it feels great once the hurdle is taken. So I had him expiriment a bit yet made sure that he didn't get stuck too long until he was sufficiently able and motivated to debug on his own.
    Once his interest was raised a translated version of the book "Teach yourself Perl in 24 hours" was all he needed...

    I hope this node inspires many people to help their kids get started with Perl. One of the best parts of Perl is that it is suited for writing very simple to very complex programs. No need to keep it a secret!

Re: Perl for all ages?
by ambrus (Abbot) on Feb 10, 2007 at 12:33 UTC
Re: Perl for all ages?
by GrandFather (Sage) on Feb 09, 2007 at 23:34 UTC

    Panda is 13

    DWIM is Perl's answer to Gödel
Re: Perl for all ages?
by dewey (Pilgrim) on Feb 10, 2007 at 04:38 UTC
    I'm 19 for what it's worth... but now that you mention it, I don't know that many other perl people my age.
Re: Perl for all ages?
by geekphilosopher (Friar) on Feb 10, 2007 at 19:41 UTC
    25 here, and I've been hacking Perl professionally for just over 2 years. Most of the good perl hackers at my company are under 30.
Re: Perl for all ages?
by Moriarty (Abbot) on Feb 10, 2007 at 09:40 UTC

    I'm not quite as old as old_gray_bear or GrandFather, but if late thirties is "old" I'm somewhere between "old" and "geriatric". I may be the oldest programmer in my IT department but I'm well short of retiring age.

Re: Perl for all ages?
by Ojosh!ro (Beadle) on Feb 10, 2007 at 17:02 UTC
    I don't think you're ever too old or too young.

    I'm 38, so that's a silverback?
    Most perl-programmers I have seen all had silver hair showing, single threads or patches... but maybe that says more about perl than age? =P

    my($s,$b,@c,@b)=qw(0 0 5C 5F 2F 20);while(int($s+.45)<2){$b[0].=chr(hex($c[int($s+.45)]));$b[1].=chr(hex($c[int($s+2.45)]));$s+=.55}while(1){print $b[$b];$b--;$b*=$b}#Fishnets

      Pull the other one, I've got bells on that one. There are lots of things for that you are too young and lots of others for that you are too old no matter how old you are. The hard thing is to be able to find the right things at the right time. And accept you missed the ones you missed. And not miss others trying to act as if "you're never too old" and just making a fool of yourself.

Re: Perl for all ages?
by reversegb (Initiate) on Feb 11, 2007 at 18:11 UTC

    Yeah you have an interesting point... I'm 26 and started using Perl in my first ever computing job back in 2001, which although seems a long time ago to me, I guess isn't all that long ago in the grand scheme of things. I'm slightly ashamed to say I pretty much only use PHP now and the company I used to work for have all but moved over to .NET! Which is even worse! :) So yeah maybe it is a bit old school, although I still love Perl and use at every opportunity... :) Long live Perl.

    "Living is having ups and downs and sharing them with friends." - Trey Parker and Matt Stone
    books on perl

Re: Perl for all ages?
by talexb (Canon) on Feb 12, 2007 at 16:50 UTC

    I'm closer to Moriarty in age .. I turn 49 in April, but who's counting? I still sing and do silly things on stage with my chorus, and act like a kid when I'm fooling around with my 19 and 15 year-old step-sons.

    After many years programming in C, I picked up Perl as a 'useful tool' coming up on ten years ago, and I've yet to put it down.

    Certainly what they're teaching in schools is stuff like VB.Net, but the smart students are the ones experimenting with a variety of technologies, and they're the ones that will come across Perl.

    Alex / talexb / Toronto

    "Groklaw is the open-source mentality applied to legal research" ~ Linus Torvalds

      Certainly what they're teaching in schools is stuff like VB.Net...

      Here in Italy VB.Net is not frequently teached...the school prefer teaching language of other type like pascal and/or cobol...soem school do C (no C++!)
      i've not doing VB.Net neither in my university course...:-(
      Feel the Dark Power of Regular Expressions...
Re: Perl for all ages?
by wizbancp (Sexton) on Feb 12, 2007 at 09:26 UTC
    I'm 31 and i've started programming in Perl just a week ago :-) i've programmed before in c,c++,java, php (also pascal,basic...cobol!aaargh!) :-)
    Feel the Dark Power of Regular Expressions...
Re: Perl for all ages?
by teamster_jr (Curate) on Feb 12, 2007 at 17:22 UTC
    I turned 30 last friday, but i started coding perl in my first job when i was 21.


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