I'm really hoping to get some advice on my current programming career choices! I made a large blog post today and if you have a little time I would really appreciate it if any programmer read it and give me your feedback.
It is an interesting question. I am a programmer from England and started with Visual Basic at college (16-18 years old). It was a very easy way into programming, I know. Then I went to university to study Computer Science for 3 years.
I have recently joined a Technology Graduate Scheme at a large media company in London. I have learnt so much over the first 6 months. University offers the background and academic side of computing, whereas joining a company will give you real life experience. I would recommend a "sandwich" course, a university course that allows you to have a year as an intern.
Popularity is just a matter of relativity and it changes in no time. For e.g., after the acquisition of java by oracle, where the hail the popularity of java will end now. In my perspective, choice of programming language is not so important for being an expert. What you need to focus is on sound knowledge of OOP, logic thinking, design patterns and good programming practices.