WSJ – Do you Know Cobol, if so, there might be a job for you

  • Ten years before man walked on the moon, a group of software engineers created the Common Business-Oriented Language—better know as Cobol—to standardize business computer programming
  • despite its advanced age, Cobol is still the most prevalent programming language in the financial-services industry world-wide
  • powers millions of banking transactions every day
  • Banks and other companies have come to the uncomfortable realization that ripping out old mainframes is pricey and complicated
    •  a lot of the older tech works just fine
  • Cobol isn’t popular with new programmers –  there is a continuing hunt to find a new generation of programmers to service this technology
  • Detractors say Cobol isn’t versatile and results in reams of code
    • used to configure mainframes, which isn’t exactly a career-enhancing proposition for young coders in an era dominated by cloud computing
  • banks that expect to be tied to their old technology to some extent for the foreseeable future, fluency in Cobol remains key
  • Finance companies are expected to spend $261 billion on technology this year, with 67% of that spent on maintaining older systems
  • Micro Focus International
    offs courses to 400+ colleges to train Cobol programmers
    • It is also specializes in upgrading old computer systems
    • It polled its customers last year and found that 90% plan to use Cobol systems for the next decade
  • The company Cobol Cowboys has a team of some 200 freelance coders
    • average age is around 60
  • other coding languages have comfortably slipped into useful middle age
    • “C” still widely used more than 45 years after creation

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