specially compared to the current crop of languages.
the fact they are just a small step away from assembly/machine code is what makes them so incredibly powerful, versatile and dangerous.
I would hate to let a Java/.NET/VB only developer touch any C/C++ project, they would hoop the entire system more often than not simply because they don't grasp the inherent danger of languages that can control [ DESTROY ] hardware directly.
but the reverse can also be true. just because someone is good with the low level languages does not mean they can work with the higher level languages as well as they do the lower level languages.
and people forget, the CLOSER to direct control of hardware, the lower the level you are working, and the HIGHER the skill required.
Though we do tend to think of it inverted, and the closer to direct interaction with the hardware is seen as a much higher level of operating. Probably because of the far higher level of skill and knowledge required to do so without screwing the system over.