The setting is a parallel universe to ours. Fortunately, for those who know how to read it and understand it, it opens a new world of possibilities. We may be able to perform actions and develop new concepts until a few years ago, unexpected.
Like everything else, the programming has evolved with the passage of times. He started in the Decade of the 50, with languages as LINING, LISP or COBOL, the so-called modern languages. Skipping age 60 that there is through. We find that there are companies that continue to use the same languages that 60 years ago. The possible problem of these companies? They have a big structure, which is not possible to migrate in a normal way.
That is why we are still programming languages, which might be called less modern, which are still looking for people. On any job site we can find offers of PL/SQL, Cobol and other languages of the same time.
Is this good or bad?
For companies, I guess that's not so good, since they will want to use more modern languages that allow you to perform other actions. For programmers who know these languages is very good since they can continue to work in what they know. Moreover, as there are few people who know these languages, wages – by supply and demand – they tend to be quite high.
Is it viable to study a less modern programming language?
It depends on the language that we are talking about, there are always jobs for maintenance of applications already designed and that cost too much effort and money on changing them to a modern language.
However, there are languages in which there is still a lot job offer, but that, however, there is no sufficient professionals to fill all the jobs. In Barcelona for example, I get offers from PL/SQL – since I have experience with this – almost every week. And the interviews are usually deserted.
Choose which language?
Each month come out several new languages which can have a great future, the problem? That future is more medium and long term than short. So, despite the fact that they are interesting and like us, we will not win the bread of the month with that language – that maybe yes, but it is unlikely.
It is best to choose a language that you like and that it has to offer. PHP for example is a language with many offering but with a lot of demand, which is more difficult–not impossible–get work unless you have enough experience – or looking for a junior-.
In short, the programming languages never die, although would like some it disappearance. All languages are valid, some with more work than others, but we will not disregard a language because you don't like it, no?