Zhjun, do you realize I've just insulted Whappo? Well, I halfway meant to since my programming company does battle with THOSE types!! ha ha... we're into servers and blades, and RPG-COBOL is still the land of AS/400s and whatever else is out there.
BUT Whappo's several points are completely true. Even "dead" languages have futures. RPG (the language first appearing I think on IBM Sys1's? Then Sys34-36-38 and moving into AS400s even though IBM originally said, "No, only COBOL, a new C, etc" but even IBM relented and ported RPG over - their customer base made far too much money from RPG programming and simply couldn't re-learn/re-do everything.
The Walmarts of the world still depend on RPG. Banking systems still have huge COBOL back-rooms. The notion of the cute, hot current languages is great for the press and gaining new tuition dollars, but in the Real World, "who's making money with what" IS the real question to ask.
Whappo brings up the 'front-end' languages and how many people are making a fine living (currently and into the foreseeable future) using those.
Yet, as we hear more about "cloud" mythology, every mainframe programmer and operator in the world knows "Oh boy, we're going back to 1980 and time-sharing computer services off of some Big-Iron computer system!"
For school-degrees, I'd push people into learning One Structured Language and One Object Language. Those graduates will be 'stuck' in companies that use those MAYBE, but the skills of learning Any Language are what's important - not One or The Other.
Thanks to Whappo for bringing up these issues. We go in and pillage AS400-HP shops, replacing them with 'servers' and 'blades' but we all know it's pretty much the same thing, in the end. The ability to use a new vocabulary is so important - but it's also important to have gained the experience to learn the RIGHT vocabulary at the right time. Nothing but experience teaches that.