Given the limitations of shell scripts, why not use other, more advanced languages to start with?

As I mentioned earlier, shell scripting is easier to learn than other, more advanced scripting languages. Another big advantage of shell scripting is that you can walk up to any Windows 2000 or Windows NT 4.0 unit at a client site, and shell scripting is already built in. You don't need to install anything to be able to write a shell script and have it ready to run in a few minutes.