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The best programming language(s) to learn

By dbpete ·
Give me some career advice...
I used to to be in the software development business of database, programming (Assembler through 4GL such as Informix, Oracle)(80-95). I managed huge development projects ($million).
For the last 12 years, I have been out of the business, but still a hard core 'end user.'
If I want to re-enter the IT business where should I train??
Web?? what languages and tools?
Database?? What languages and tools?
Am I even asking the right question?

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The easiest way to break in is with M$ products

by Locrian_Lyric In reply to The best programming lang ...

get a copy of visual express from microsoft (it's free) learn or C#.

From there, SQL server wouldn't hurt.

Pick up a primer on XML as well.

Get all the freeware tools you can.

Don't bother to train, do volunteer work to build your resume.

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The Other Side

by deity_chooch In reply to The best programming lang ...

I hate to give you conflicting views here, but if you're looking into web programming I'd leave Microsoft out of the picture. Most of the web is based on UNIX or UNIX-like Operating Systems and free technologies such as Perl, PHP, MySQL, and PostgreSQL. I use a simple text editor (vim) when creating scripts, but you may also be interested in the Zend IDE for these languages. I would suggest learning the previously mentioned languages along with familiarizing yourself with the UNIX environment. Your other reply suggests that Microsoft products may be easier, and that may be true; however I have not had any trouble finding work without a Microsoft background. Also, since AJAX is a big buzz word nowadays and companies may be looking for the "new" technologies, you may also want to learn JavaScript, as well as the XHTML "method" of web programming.

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Stay solo and code Python

by Oz_Media In reply to The best programming lang ...

I know three differnt people in different cities that are now multi-millionaires for creating solid code in Python that is now being used by fanancial institutions, used as secure fast web wservers etc.

I played with Python for email servers etc. for a while but I get bored of writing code too fast to think of it as a living. I still write a bit but only out of necessity.

It's a code that puts money in your pocket (a high margin solution due to the ease and cleanliness of code when compared to VBS, SQl, C++ etc.) as it takes a fraction of the time to write as other languages (3 pages of C++ can be written in a half dozen Python lines), is easier to debug and runs with fewer issues overall.

Excelllent for writing PKI modules, management progs etc.

Then you can remain self employed work half the time and still bill out at least twice as much as you can with other code.

Everyone writes MS code flavours, the market is completely inundated and people are aqlways here complaining that they have a diozen MS certs and can't find work in teh highly competitive market.

Being unique pays the big bucks, being run of the mill buys dinner.

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what is hot

by Dr Dij In reply to The best programming lang ...

while not strictly 'programming languages' the following should ensure good career:

download one of the free BPM flow diagramming products. from tibco or
you'll have to register, free and maybe suffer a sales person call, tell them is for yourself.

Eclipse is hot, download their ide free.
It is not just for java. now have eclipse for visual studio's languages I hear. I also hear PHP is real popular. Both will run on systems other than m$

You can download informatica power center (along with an oracle database to run it against, and dw product to load it to) from, you need to register. Have a free toad for oracle with that, and learn to use it. (Yummy, toads)

DWs are and will remain popular despite 'dw appliances' like netezza - still needs etl pgmg, and qlikview - missing critical parts of dw, so only use will be in small companies.

That said, you can register at qlikview and learn about it thru their videos.

learn the basics of IT proj mgmt and you'll more likely be hired as pgmr. add a smidgeon of security with security+ or cissp online e-learning. even if you don't get their certs is good to learn about encryption, security, which is used in all network pgmg.

learn reporting tools crystal is easiest but not trivial once you get beyond basic reports, subreports, embedded reports in vb, complicated functions, the sql it generates.

Learn sql but you should not generally be programming in sql, it should be generated for you by visual products generally. you should know enuf to figure out if joins correct, or where error is, and prods like winsql to check if no indexes present on dbs causing a join to hang with whole-table scans then. crystal uses vb as the function language as an option. i prefer their syntax.

learn how to use one of the other reporting tools like cognos or microstrategy. webfocus is popular.

and as others mention, vb is good. a bit cryptic with the object oriented stuff but less of learning curve than many C languages.

javascript is just plain useful since embedded in most browsers. you should know a bit of html syntax also.

you can goto sites like and read about what people in language or topic you think you are interested in do on a daily basis, and could you answer the help questions? has tons of classes free if you join. ieee also (

browse vendor websites and replay their canned webinars.

download trials and actually install them and use them heavily for the free period. some dont' expire.

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