I get what your professor was trying to say, but I disagree with them. Mainly, past success is only a good predictor of future success if nothing changes (or only insignificant things change). Our world changes quite fast, and companies that were household names 20 years ago are forgotten today.
There's a lot that we can do to change outcomes for people. Your education level and interests guide how we can introduce you to programming. It only becomes a filter when we don't strengthen and increase the person's understanding. Although, it is difficult to compete with people who have a lot of/more experience with concepts you're unfamiliar with.
For me, there isn't a best programming language. Each language is a tool, and which tool you use depends on what you are trying to build. If you want to make a static web page, knowing C won't help you. HTML & CSS are the language of websites. If you want to program a microprocessor to perform a specific task, then knowing HTML & CSS won't get you far. There are some things that are common between languages, variables, arrays, dictionaries, looping, conditionals. Having a good understanding of these topics helps you pick up new languages faster.
HTML/CSS is often a gateway into software development and engineering because it's easier to make it fun. However, I think you could grab people's attention with other types of languages as well. C and Java hooked me just fine. 😂
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