You may want to look at VB if you are going to use newer versions of Arc/Info, ArcView and especially MapObjects from ESRI, or MapX from MapInfo or even MapGuide from AutoDesk.
ESRI went from Avenue to VB as their embedded scripting with their jump to ArcView 4 and Arc/Info 8.
MapObjects and MapX are OCX's (controls) that can be embedded within a VB application.
VB will also give you a good foundation for programming any web application using ASP.
I was on a team of 3 programming a desktop demographics analysis system called MarketMath while at Compusearch (now part of MapInfo) using VB, ArcView, MapObjects and switched to MapX (when acquired by MapInfo).