2. COBOL This language died 30 years ago, and yet the mainframe machines it ran on are so expensive to replace that companies still try to keep them going. The result: a small, aging minority of COBOL coders keep around to patch the old systems. Unless your ambition in life is to gather dust as a museum exhibit in a town nobody visits, stay away from COBOL.
3. BASIC BASIC was fun when we were kids. So was playing with action figures, Tonka trucks, and dollhouses. But after a while, it’s time to move on, and explore languages that aren’t made out of die-cast metal and colorful polystyrene. BASIC has been extended and added on to until the original structure is lost in the maze of bolted-on scaffolding. It’s just as wimpy as it always was, but less fun now that people try to make it do serious work.
4. Shell Scripting Shell scripting languages like DOS, Bash, and zsh are all as handy as a roll of duct tape. The downside is, nobody hires an engineer who builds everything out of duct tape. Shell scripting is a given for most administrative tasks, but if you find yourself reaching for it to solve every problem, your career just fell apart.
5. Perl Sure, Perl is powerful. It can do anything. What can you expect out of a language built by combining every other current language into one big mess? If you combined a Sherman tank, steam shovel, building crane, skateboard, quad, Volkswagon Jetta, Mac truck, and a Hummer into one vehicle, you’d have Perl: able to go everywhere and do everything, but too big to fit into most spaces (including your head), sucking power, and too complicated for any mortal to drive.
6. PHP It’s kind of pointless to say it, because it looks like you’ll have to learn PHP if you want to come within ten feet of a web server for the next five years. But even at that, PHP is to be used like a toilet plunger: when you absolutely have to. Like a toilet plunger, it gets ugly and smelly after repeated use and isn’t the kind of thing you should take to bed and cuddle. And PHP is the number-one language for coding something which you’ll be terrified to run for the first time, because for all you know, a mistake will cause a rift in the space-time continuum.