What sort of programmer uses Perl? Do most Perl programmers use it as a primary language, or just write the occasional script? And are there really as few women as conventional wisdom says? Kirrily Robert wants to know, and wants anyone around the world who uses Perl to help by answering a simple five-minute survey at perlsurvey.org.
Kirrily's goal is to "take a snapshot of the Perl world as it currently stands." As an active member of the Perl community, she's often asked questions about Perl's users and is only left to "hypothesise, generalise, and hand-wave." Further, software communities can often be an echo chamber where people only hear from like-minded people. The Perl Survey is an attempt to break out of that echo chamber and hear from all Perl users around the world, regardless of skill level, not just the core users most active in vocal communities.
An interesting part of the survey is asking the respondent's salary, if they choose to release it. "I hear a lot of talk about the going rate for Perl programmers," Kirrily says, "and whether organizations that claim they can't hire Perl programmers simply aren't paying enough." Correlating results with the other data points could shed light on the topic. The survey's reach could also help users around the world. "Salary information can be very hard to find out for anywhere other than the US," says Kirrily, an Australian.
The survey will be open until September 30, 2007. Then, in October, Kirrily will be announcing the results and releasing the raw data, minus email addresses, under a Creative Commons "CC-BY" license. Her hope is that other interested people will provide their own analyses of the results.
For further information, and to participate if you use Perl at all, visit perlsurvey.org.