Best Programming Language To Learn

I think it was 1988 when I learned my first programming language: Basic. I will never forget the first day when teacher wrote I = I +1 on the screen, and for a second it made no 'matheatical' sense at all :) I liked Basic!

Anyway, most Engineering applications were written in some variation of Fortran then, so that's what I learned in college. I never really liked Fortran. At the time, Computer Science students were learning Pascal, Turbo Pascal was very popular. One of the students who was very good at it gave a couple of us free lessons and that's how I learned it...

Then, when I started to work at 1993, I realized that 'Excel' (version 4, then) was 'the' application that was used for everything around me. Accounting was using it as well as Engineering teams. So, I learned about Macros and later VBA, which made life so much easier! At some point, I jumped from VBA to VisualBasic.

When 'Web Master' became a cool term, I learned about html and ASP. That was a nice combo and helped me do a lot of cool stuff around year 2000.

Later on, when I started to dig into Unix/Linux world, it became clear that Perl would help and together with shell scripting; it did in a big way when automatic tasks in Unix! Although I became proficient with VBScript/WMI scripting, ActivePerl is still my preferred choice in Windows b/c of it's spectacular power with regular expressions (Well VBScript became better with regular expressions and introduced "Dictionaries" (Hashes) yet I don't think it matches Perl).

So, I was thinking what to do next? Java has been out there for quite a while. I was interested in PowerShell but became disillusioned with version 1. AutoIt3 seems interesting but not super easy or intuitive. I keep on hearing about Python (check out this link for some resources) but I am not sure if it adds much on top of Perl...

That's why, I was quite interested when I saw the subject on LifeHacker. There is a lengthy discussion about it. Take a look if you are interested...