You gotta go with Perl. You'll thank me later.
Thankfully, they are all unfounded.
While scripting has been the use case in the '90s, Perl is nowadays used for a variety of tasks, including complex desktop applications such as the Perl IDE (screenshots), web application frameworks (Catalyst), bioinformatics (extensively), content management systems (e.g. WebGUI), hierarchical wikis (MojoMojo) etc. and powers very large websites (IMDB, Magazines.com, BBC, Amazon.com, LiveJournal, Ticketmaster, Craigslist etc.).
That's my experience. Do whatever works for you.
And really, companies are going to look at you strangely if you say "1 year Perl experience". They'll think "why on earth is someone learning Perl in 2009". No, go with one of the newer languages - python or ruby.
Look, Perl was "the" fad language back in the 90s. No-one is building anything new with it today. So if you learn Perl, expect to be hired to maintain others' crappy sites.
C is different because it's the foundation everything else is built on.
I'm not trying to dis Perl here or anything; I'm just trying to state the nature of reality as I see it, so lower your spear, friend ..
Does that mean Rails is bad? No! Every language has its merits and demerits. It's easier for a programming to learn them all than fight for a single language.
Perl has its own strong points, just like any other language.
"No-one is building anything new with it today."
Generalizations. So easy to make, and so imprecise nevertheless.
Pick any of copious documentation, more jobs available than for Python and Ruby combined, availability on almost any platform you're likely to encounter, a testing culture unmatched by any other language of which I'm aware, and ~19,224 individual distributions freely available, installable, and usable from the CPAN.
Look, I am not attacking Perl. I am just stating the reality that in 2009, a Perl job will be maintenance. There is nothing new. This might be very insulting but that's the simple fact.
I know of about 4 big new projects happening in this city using Rails. I don't know about other cities but i assume it is similar. Learn Rails, right now, is my sincere advice, offered in good faith.
Look at the job data. It's publicly available. This is how statistics work.
> I know of about 4 big new projects happening in this city using Rails. I don't know about other cities but i assume....
This neither how statistics work, nor facts.