Hi!
As a developer who wrote programs in C++ & Java & Ruby and as a man who 
trained young programmers,
I surely recommend Ruby for a newbie :-)

If you're a beginner it's certainly better to have the fastest startup 
with some OO language - and Ruby here is the best choice:
it's easy to learn and it suggests the 'proper' way of OO thinking.
It's more important first to get more experience in  OO design and 
programming, leaving for the future your thoughts of possible app's low 
speed...
After a while you may want to learn Java or / and C++ ('cause a 
programmer have to know more than 1 language) 
and with happy Ruby experience it'll be much easier.

The questions of speed and efficiency of financial / economical 
applications should be treated from the point of view
of the architecture & framework, not merely the programming language - 
considering all the DBMS, client-server and Web-interface stuff.
Ruby on Rails offers a fine solution for database-centric applications.

Mike Shock
(Mikhail Shokhirev)

n/a wrote:
> hi, newbie so please be tolerant.... ;)
>
> i need to start to learn a programming language to be able to develop
> custom aps to be applied to a variety of purposes but mainly 1) financial
> data modeling--including graphics and data handling via database queries,
> etc.; and 2) more general business-type aps.
>
> my feeling is that i hate BLOATED sluggish programs (like some Java
> program running on older JVM's and perhaps not written in an optimal
> way....u get the idea.)
>
> if i need to make a choice between fancy and efficient,
> speed, etc., then it's an easy choice 4 me of efficient.
> which is why i have just started w/ c++.
>
>   
> however, speaking to one my programmer friends who is a top level Java
> programmer (the stuff he writes is very efficient and fancy as
> well--great balance), he is telling me that 1) c++ is being phased out
> (except 4 real low level stuff like drivers, etc.) in favor of languages
> such as Java or Ruby. he recommends i switch from learning c++ to learning
> Java or Ruby. i wd hope to be able to choose the best path and not have to
> switch tack in the middle as my IT capablity is not a full time activity,
> but more of a support 4 my main one--finance.
>
> of course, learning curve is to be taken into consideration as well....
>
> 'd love some comments that might help me consider my options and pick a
> path (c++, java or ruby) w/ a higher level of confidence..... i know that
> people here will be biased towards Ruby, but that is fine: i want to hear
> about it....
>
>