I went to http://www.python.org/doc/current/index.html and used the excellent tutorial there. I found things to like and things to dislike immediately:
Arrays often need sorting. Perl has built-in ways to help you, but as usual, there's more than one way to do it. To play with the examples shown here, you'll need a file containing a few lines of words.
Perl has wonderful I/O capabilities. I'm only going to cover input here: reading from files or standard input. There are two ways to do that (actually a lot more than two, but this is supposed to be introductory material): you can open a specific file, or you can pass files on the command line and either open them individually or just ignore the whole thing and pretend everything is coming from STDIN.
Two Perl modules (Getopt and Getoptions::Long) work to extract program flags and arguments much like Getopt and Getopts do for shell programming. The Perl modules, especially GetOptions::Long, are much more powerful and flexible.
Most Linux and Unix programs are written in C. When you download source for a project, it will often be C or C++ source code. You don't necessarily need to know a darn thing about C or anything else to compile the source if you aren't changing it. It may be helpful for you to understand a bit if you are having problems with the compile, but even that isn't really necessary.
Under ordinary circumstances, you don't have to know or care how numbers are represented within your programs. However, when you are transferring data files that contain numbers, you will have to convert if the storage formats are not identical.