... looks like I'll be packing up my bags and leaving the Perl kingdom for the lands of Java. Forever this time. Not entirely from choice but from pragmatic concern over my career. All the cool vibe has rubbed off the Perl kingdom. Most of it dribbled onto the Rails zealots. I'm beginning to think the Django fans may have gotten some of it too. But, I'll be making money by day doing huge scale Java applications for medical, clinical, and biotech applications from now on.
My only hope is that the lands of Java will be invaded by the "cool vibe" again ... somehow ... I don't think there will be a Perl rebirth anymore. It seems more likely that there will be a turbulent season of integration efforts between a new incarnation of Java born from open source, some language redesign, and a smattering of Linux distributions. There is a very good shot at Groovy, JRuby, or Jython becoming the "new Java" on the Java platform. I also sense the inkling of a Red Hat, JBoss, Java, Jython integration story happening at Red Hat over the next few years.
For reasons that are just becoming apparent Groovy/Grails is not as popular in my region. There is no technical reason in fact if you are running in a Java environment you'd be myopic to not pickup Groovy... and you would be well served to at least build a demo app in Grails. This region however is a Python/Jython stronghold. I didn't know why, but, I just learned that a major Jython contributor is a member of my Jug. That explains a lot. I know RedHat is primarily a Python shop so Java to Jython in the region surrounding the Red Hat campus makes perfect sense. I suspect that Java running Jython code would be the main way Red Hatters will use Java going forward. They are big on Python. And so too are some parts of Google apparently...
I'm beginning to learn that political forces more than technical merit can shape the technological landscape. It's a sad thing to learn because we techies want to believe we're more like mathematicians and only proof and merit rule our decisions. It's not true. For example, Slashdot is among the last strongholds of the Perl kingdom. Outside these hallowed walls the PerlBe are under constant threat.
Each of the major technologies have their own little world they live in and very few technologists actually have a realistic view of the whole technical landscape. I've found that http://www.indeed.com/ is an invaluable tool for looking into the reality of what the tech landscape was. The fact is companies hire for the technologies that they were using three to five years ago. Most do not hire for what they will use or what they are going to use. The hiring managers simply don't know where tech is going tomorrow. If the job is on a job board it's probably a legacy application that's being supported and that means it's a few years old.
You start to bundle these technologies into sets. Perl and C go together better than Perl and Java for example. Python, Perl, C and C++ all roll together for example. So to me it looks like if you were after sheer job security you should learn C really well. In fact from this data C is the unassailable emperor of computing languages. And even though I'm packing my bags for Java land that's the truth of the tech landscape ... Java land is firmly in second place. It's shocking that the whole of the kingdoms of Pythonistas, Rubyists, and the PerlBe are all half of what the C++ers get.
Truth hurts. I'm going to have to go and play with some open source C again at some point. I figure if I can cross between Java and C I'll be a sight better off than someone trapped on either island. Both of these are pretty big islands now though.