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Programmer Looking to Change Languages, but which one?

I currently program in a proprietary language used in the medical information technology industry.  The language could best be described as cross between BASIC and C+.  It is not a Windows programming language although there is a fairly nice Windows emulator.  It is like a color unix mini-computer type system in its presentation to the user. The language was written by one of the original creators of the ANSI standard MUMPS (M) language.

I also program in Visual Basic (Intermediate Skill) and am very proficient in ACCESS.

My question is this: I like to program but I want to be more useful to the general industry.  What Languages/Skills are the most needed now and in the near future?  

I would expect the expert answering this question is in a position where their opinion would matter (I.E. Management in an I.T. shop, consultant etc)

Thanks

John
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jnri
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jnri
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mlmccCommented:
Currently the hot areas are centered around databases and the web.

Database is heading more in the direction of MS SQL, Oracle, and Sybase for the larger databases (> 5-10 simultaneous users)  Access is being relegated to the smaller databases from a standpoint of simultaneous users.

Languages in demand are Visual Basic, C++, Java, ASP, with the Visual.Net products beginning to catch on.

Web activity is very heavy in e-commerce arena.

Hope this helps
mlmcc
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DreamMasterCommented:
Since you allready use some VB, I'd suggest you start from there..

There's a lot of demand for good programmers in the Visual Studio area...VB, C++ and the likes and with the arrival of .NET it hasn't exactly become less...the way to make sure you distinguish yourself from the crowd is to make yourself very familiar with .NET as it is fairly new yet and there are not that many experts in that field yet.

.NET has the advantage that it has everything from application programming to Web Programming in it...and once you know the languages VB.NET, C#, etc....you have a head start...ASP.NET has the advantage over the current ASP, that you can script in different languages...so C# syntax can be used within your ASP pages.

In the near future I expect the market to become more and more .NET centered so I'd aim for that market.

Good luck, oh and in case you wanted to know, I am a website programmer in the Netherlands.

Max.
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DreamMasterCommented:
Glad I was able to shed some light on the subject.. :)

Max.
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