Another sort of "which language" question...

By ventureforth ·
Tried searching for answers, but couldn't figure out how to ask this question in a satisfactory manner.

Was having an interesting conversation the other day with a programmer friend of mine and it raised an interesting question. We were talking about programming needs at his new job where his boss was having difficulty finding experienced programmers in specific languages and so was forced to start teaching the programmers he already had these new languages. Not unusual, of course, but it made me wonder:

It's hard to imagine not being able to find someone who knows PHP or Java or C++ or a host of other languages. But which languages out there are obscure enough that not everyone knows them, but in high enough demand that there is always a need for someone who knows it? And by obscure, I don't necessarily mean arcane or archaic or are only used for one specific task in one specific industry...though that's fine, too. If you were to say Python fit the bill and had good reason, I'd love to hear about it.

This is not specific to a particular market sector, front end vs. back end, or anything like that. I'm really just interested in hearing about what languages out there would make you a specialist (vs generalist) with limited competition (as in there won't be many others with the same skill) and provide you with a very marketable skill that will likely be in demand for a long time to come, even if that was all you knew, whether it be a permanent sort of position, or a case where you are constantly being contracted to solve problems or develop software that only you and your very special skill could address.

Hope that makes sense.

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A good question but

by Slayer_ In reply to Another sort of "which la ...

I think it's better to train your current trusted staff rather than hire new people. Hiring new people can also **** off your existing programmers.

I don't believe hiring based on, "do you know this language?" is a good idea, a good programmer should be able to learn and use any language.

But I'd say COBOL fits your description best, its old, but still being updated, few people still know it, and few companies still use use it, and fewer still update it (other than normal maintenance). And yet it is often used in mission critical applications, which is why it never gets upgraded to a newer language.
I know for example Safeway still uses it a lot. A lot of banking systems also use it.

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