in reply to
Learning Perl as a First (programming) language
I like meny others picked up PERL as a CGI language first at college, later as a web programmer and now as a way of handling very large database updates.
Dispite PERLs power and speed of implementation I'm still glad I learnt formal languages first, in my case ADA followed by Java and a brief period of machine code. It taught me strict form and pretty layout which in business goes along way.
The ease of building a simple web site adding a form and a CGI program does little to help you handle real life problems but I guess everyone has to start somewhere.