I learned the Pascal programming language in high school, during the 80’s. I could have learned it on my own before that, but since my school was offering it, I figured I would learn it there. The class was thorough, I caught on quickly, and I still remember most of it. Later I bought a compiler (from Borland, with OOP!), so if I had wanted to, I could have developed applications in Pascal.
After the class, I never wrote a single Pascal program.
The reason was simple, really. Whenever I had a program that needed to be written, many times I could have written it in Pascal, but there was always another language that was better suited to the task. Always.
Pascal is a very vanilla programming language. That’s because it was designed for the purpose of teaching programming concepts. It is a very clean language. But as such, it really isn’t special. In any way.
In the late 90’s and early 2000’s, I considered teaching Pascal to those friends of mine who wanted to learn programming. It would be a stepping stone to learning other languages later. However, even at the time, I felt like I was doing them a disservice. There were no jobs out there for Pascal. They would be learning a language simply so that they could learn another language later.
I have since given up that philosophy. Learning a language like Java is much more challenging for novice programmers, but at least they are not wasting their time by learning something they won’t be able to use and cannot get paid for.
Right now, I am learning Ruby. Ruby is an easy language to learn, yet it includes object-oriented concepts, and it can actually be used for development, primarily web applications. I should check the job market to see what jobs are out there for Ruby developers.