I'm a young programmer who desires to work in the field someday as a programmer. I know Java, VB.NET and C#. I want to learn a new language (as I programmer, I know that it is valuable to extend what I know - to learn languages that make you think differently). I took a look online to see what languages were common. Everybody knows C and C++ (even those muggles who know so little about computers in general), so I thought, maybe I should push for C.
C and C++ are nice but they are old. Things like Haskell and Forth (etc. etc. etc.) are old and have lost their popularity. I'm scared of learning C (or even C++) for this same reason. Java is pretty old as well and is slow because it's run by the JVM and not compiled to native code.
I've been a Windows developer for quite a while. I recently started using Java - but only because it was more versatile and spreadable to other places. The problem is that it doesn't look like a very usable language for these reasons:
- It's most used purpose is for web application and cellphone apps (specifically Android)
- Other than that it's used for servers but heck - I don't only want to make/configure servers.
The .NET languages are nice, however:
- People laugh if I even mention VB.NET or C# in a serious conversation.
- It isn't cross-platform unless you use MONO (which is still in development and has some improvements to be made).
- Lacks low level stuff because, like Java with the JVM, it is run/managed by the CLR.
My first thought was learning something like C and then using it to springboard into C++ (just to make sure I would have a strong understanding/base), but like I said earlier, it's getting older and older by the minute.
What I've Looked Into
Fantom looks nice. It's like a nice middleman between my two favorite languages and even lets me publish between the two interchangeably, but, unlike what I want, it compiles to the CLR or JVM (depending on what you publish it to) instead of it being a complete compile.
D also looks nice. It seems like a very usable language and from multiple sources it appears to actually be better than C/C++. I would jump right with it, but I'm still unsure of its success because it obviously isn't very mainstream at this point.
Is it worth learning these "experimental" languages? I've read other questions that say that if you aren't constantly learning languages and open to all languages that you aren't in the right mindset for programming. I understand this and I still might not quite be getting it, but in truth, if a language isn't going to become mainstream, should I spend my time learning something else? I don't want to learn old (or any going to soon be old) programming languages. I know that many people see this as something important, *but would any of you ever actually consider (assuming you didn't already know) FORTRAN? My goal is to stay current to make sure I'm successful in the future.
Yes, I am a young programmer, so I probably made a lot of naive statements in my question. Feel free to correct me on ANYTHING! I have to start learning somewhere so I'm sure a lot of my knowledge is sketchy enough to have caused to incorrect statements or flaws in my thinking. Please leave any feelings you have in the comments.
I'm truly amazed by the amazing responses, most of them so nicely pointing out my misunderstandings and misjudgments. I've learned quite a lot from this and I'm excited to hopefully utilize everything I've learned! I'll probably start learning Haskell next (the not so old language, albeit over 20 years old - hahaha) and then start looking at some other options around me.