IMO, Perl is great as a beginning, and a repeat language. I started out programming in Perl (and for what it's worth I am still very much a beginner) and I have never regretted that choice. I have found my computer science classes to be much easier having learned what I did in Perl, as it was a great basis of introduction into the way of thinking a programmer should have. I would recommend merlyn
's book Learning Perl, as I have read it at least twice, and it was a great starter source. After you read the Llama, I read the Camel (Programming Perl) and frequently use it as a reference whenever I need to solve a problem (I can't tell you how much that index of commands helps me).
I know absolutely nothing about being a SA, but I'm sure you can take up Perl as a spare time kind of habit, and become a good SA and coder over time.
Good luck and -w, use strict
work it harder make it better do it faster makes us stronger more than ever hour after our work is never over.