Let’s get the conversation going.
No need to go into the statistics. I am sure everybody is tired of hearing this!
__ % of business and transactions systems around the world run on……
__ % of global financial transactions are processed in ……
__ billion transactions per day are supported by …..
Billions of lines of ____ code is in use today.
You can fill in those lines.
Are COBOL programmers really in demand today. You would think so…right? How do you replace the long-time COBOL coders?
Why do we not see that need? Of course, you can read articles about that specific need as you surf the net but really can you open up today’s newspaper and find one or more businesses looking to fill a COBOL programming position? Probably not.
Is it that businesses are afraid to advertise the fact that their main systems are built around COBOL? Hmm, that’s an interesting thought.
Maybe organizations are trying to lure their former COBOL developers out of retirement and when they are unable to, they are looking to get their COBOL developers to do some internal training. Why not teach your Java, VB or C# developer to actually become a productive COBOL programmer. It really only takes 40 hours of training to begin programming in COBOL. The actuality in IT today is to know many programming languages.
It is very common today to have a software developer that is maintaining COBOL code to also know SQL, VB.NET, Oracle, DB2, Unix scripting, C++, and/or Java.
COBOL can be called from other languages to help leverage the business rules necessary to maintain a fully functioning business system. This is called wrapping. COBOL programs can be wrapped within, integrated into, called from, or call most other commonly-used modern technologies, including C, C++, C#, .NET, Java, PHP, AJAX, and Oracle, to name a few.
As a COBOL programmer for 30 years and one with many of tools and skills listed above in my tool belt, I think it is time for the COBOL community to stand up on the “WAGON” and promote our skills to the business world. It is time to show the “World” how we can provide the necessary skills to train and to continue developing in a IT market that is constantly evolving with new technologies and programming languages.
Not only are existing COBOL developers knowledgeable in a variety of programming technologies, but we also bring to the table many years of business intelligence. Yes that’s right, Business Intelligence. Think about it, many of the COBOL applications developed were the first applications developed in an organization. We had to understand the needs of the business, what was driving the business, the type of data needed to drive the business, the type of reports necessary to give management the information they need for decisions to be made. This was the true foundation of the business. Today’s applications and so called “Modern” technologies would not exist if it weren’t for that foundation that was built years ago.
Enough said, lets open up the conversations, let’s get the COBOL WAGON moving down the road!
For those who have never seen a COBOL program and are interested, here is an example of the classic “Hello World” program in COBOL in which I have modified it slightly to HELLO WORLD wake up!.
DISPLAY “world wake up, COBOL is here to stay!”.
Interesting thoughts that I mostly agree to. But I think it is not only the company’s fault of not teaching the students in the right languages. COBOL, for some unknown reasons, is not seen as that what it was developed for. I think we all know what the word COBOL stands for, and exactly for this it is doing the right Job.
But there are other additional requirements today, graphical interfaces, web applications and much more. COBOL probably was not made for this and other languages like C++, Java or Perl fill these gaps. Using modern development instruments like Eclipse or .Net you can use whatever language you want to develop your application.
When we start teaching students, and other employees, in the COBOL Language they will easily see the benefits. Yes, 40 probably 50 hours would already make this happen. As you mentioned, getting a professional developer may take longer, but this again is true for any other language.
There is another article talking about the same theme, it was written by James Bourne on developer tech,
Derek Britton from Micro Focus made a great sentence.
“It’s so easy to get the knowledge now – all you have to have is the inquisitive
nature to want to learn”
Yes, this is true. It is also important to share the truth of COBOL. The Students need to understand that COBOL is still running 70% to 80% of the world. Then they probably want to learn the right thing. I don’t think they hear it when they are in school.
I myself have an employee since last year December. When I hired him the only thing he knew about COBOL was “it is OLD”. With this knowledge he did not think that any Company is still using it. I attended one of the Micro Focus Sessions this year in the Porsche Museum. There were some big companies talking about their Solutions written in modern Visual COBOL. I had him learn VB.NET and parallel developing an Application that can control and run all our COBOL Solutions. He is now learning COBOL in 10 lessons of 4 hours. With his interest of learning any Language, and with his new understanding of who is using COBOL, he does not need more than this.
Hi Detlef aka the COBOL KID.
this a great information. This is what it is all about. Getting the conversation going, waking people (developers) and businesses up to the current reality that COBOL is not going anywhere, removing the label from COBOL that it is “Old”, “not being used anymore”, “cannot provide solutions to today’s business needs”, “cannot be taught to the new generation of programmers”……. The COBOL community needs to stand up and talk about this, not just vendor’s that provide COBOL solutions, but developers that started their careers in COBOL programming. Thanks again “COBOL Kid” for your feedback, lets continue to talk everyone!