I started with python using numpy/scipy for "quant" work. Many in the science community use it... eg: NASA, Jet Propulsion Labratory, and is used with the Hubble Space Telescope. After, I learned C and am now working with C++. Knowledge of all three is a great combo. Do yourself a huge favor and follow the OpenSource path. One day you may decide to work with something other that M$oft, like Linux, FreeBsd or OSx and will be happy you applied your time judiciously. Not to mention all of the other free software.