I can see what you mean, and how and when it applies. It just doesn't appear to apply much if at all to independent developers. I would also expect there to be differences in concepts/practices/techniques between teams which handle different kinds of programming. So for instance, a graphics programmer wouldn't likely be able to sit down with some code for a business accounting app, dive right in and be instantly up to speed and comfortable.
So if one wants to work with a team, it's not just a matter of being schooled in all the same concepts and techniques and such. It's also deciding on an area to concentrate on, be it database, graphics, or whatever. There would also be sub-categories, because for instance, knowing DirectX isn't going to help so much with OpenGL.
So before deciding what language to learn, I think it's important to know what kind of market will be the primary focus. It may turn out that neither VB6 or .net is particularly ideal, such as with graphics intensive games. Knowing what sort of programming you really want to do might not be easy at this early stage. I guess I'd start with areas of interest - like what kinds of programs make you wish you knew how to make them.
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How can something be both new and improved at the same time?