CyBerAliEn - 12:10 am on Oct 27, 2010 (gmt 0)
If you just want to do simple programming for "business" uses... have you considered VBA (Visual Basic for Applications)? From a programming standpoint, it is very simple. In essence, VBA is essentially "rich macros" that live inside other MS/Office products. For example, you could create an Excel file containing VBA that will allow rich interaction/computations between the Excel sheets/data/etc and your VBA programming. Though I must admit, there is some minor learning curve in doing this (particularly, learning/understand the options and capabilities you can do with individual apps like Excel; but any language will have a learning curve!). In fact, this is so "business" friendly, that it is the approach that most businesses take (when the task is smaller/simpler).
Aside from the above... you could look at Visual Basic (or whatever they call it these days, might be called Visual Studio)... where you drag and drop windows, text boxes, etc... and write simple pseudo-like code to add logic. It is one of the easiest to learn and begin using. For someone who isn't intending to be a hardcore programmer, it is a good option.
But... if you're really interested in "real" or "raw" programming, there are many great options to explore. Primarily, C++. As others mentioned, this is a real programming language (not scripts/scripting). You'll get to learn and do all sorts of things like variables, math, arrays, name spaces, polymorphism, etc+. Many other languages that exist today try to mimic the style/syntax of C++.
If you like the Microsoft route (ie, Visual Basic/etc) but want more in depth programming... look into .NET; very capable and rich. I've never bothered getting into it. But I can assure you it is VERY well liked and used in most business/corporate settings.
The language I personally use the most is PHP. But that's because I've done a lot of web development over the years. PHP is meant for the web and has expanded into a rather rich language. For someone interested in general coding/programming, I would only recommend PHP if you're interested in doing web stuff; otherwise, consider diff languages.
Aside from the above, there are MANY other languages/script languages out there (some mentioned, like Pascal/etc). But C++/Java/.Net probably make up the vast majority of the volume of application code produced in the last ~2 decades.
Ultimately I think this boils down what your intents/purposes are. If you just want to be able to do some simple coding to solve some business problems... then go for a simpler language like VBA. If you are strictly interested in "outcomes" (and not the 'how') there is no sense wasting time on a language like C++. But if you're more interested in the actual act of coding/programming, and really want to understand the "how" (with no interest/preference for "outcomes"), then take the time and efforts to learn a more in depth language like C++/Java/etc.
Best of luck!