I strongly agree with The Pragmatic Programmer's advice to learn a new language every year if you can and that was why I was recommending Seven Languages in Seven Weeks to anyone who would listen. I've accrued a lot of programming languages over the years and have earned my salary doing assembler, C, COBOL, C++, Java, CFML, Groovy, Scala and Clojure, with little bits of Perl and a few other things along the way. I don't often admit to the COBOL experience (it is only hinted at on my resume to avoid recruiters contacting me about COBOL jobs!) and I don't mention Perl at all, except after a few beers. Most of the languages I've worked in, I'm pretty happy to discuss, however.
During my C++, Java, CFML years I sort of let my learning go a little. I'd come out of university able to write small programs in a dozen languages although none of them provided a salary later in life. I settled into C++ in '92, moved to Java in '97, and CFML in '02. A five year cycle. Lately, I've gotten back into learning more languages more regularly. I was fortunate enough to learn Groovy in 2008 and take it to production, Scala in 2009 (again, to production) and then Clojure in 2010 (also in production). I didn't pick up a new language during the last two years and I feel bad about that.
I've been meaning to learn both Ruby and Python because several of my friends are using those and enjoying them a lot - friends who previously did CFML for a living. Python in particular has me curious because my wonderful former manager from Macromedia has since gone to Linden Labs (Second Life) and then EventBrite and, as far as I can tell, both use Python heavily for their web presence. Certainly the only jobs I saw open under my former boss were Python jobs. I didn't know Python so I couldn't go work for her again. Bummer!
I was chatting to a friend online a few days ago - a former CFML developer who is now doing Python for a living - and he mentioned PyCon was coming up. So I checked out the PyCon 2013 website and it's local and cheap ($300 early bird for hobby / individual programmers). After checking with my "financial controller", I got the green light to buy a ticket so 2013 will be the year I (finally) learn Python!
I look forward to seeing what several of my friends love about this language, and I'm looking forward to doing some hobby programming with something different in the evenings / weekends! I'll blog about my learning experience, as I go, and I'll be interested in feedback from Python programmers new and old out there...