27 April 2020 | Written by: Sudharsana Srinivasan
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COBOL has been in the news a lot lately and it has brought a spotlight on the need businesses continue to have for these skills. Whether it is to add new features, modify logic, create APIs to integrate it into other applications, or implement modern development practices, businesses around the world need application developers who know COBOL.
While COBOL may not get the same level of attention as some of the more modern languages, Professor Tak Auyeung of American River College, said it beautifully, “A programming language is not a fashion statement” it is used for a purpose. COBOL is used pervasively in highly regulated industries and those that process very large volumes of transactions like banking, credit card and payments, retail, insurance, and transportation simply because COBOL applications are fast, reliable, and secure.
COBOL has a long history and, just like the languages we speak have been updated over time to suit our needs, COBOL has also evolved over time. It has been kept up to date to support new requirements & features, including Object Oriented COBOL. “COBOL isn’t cool, but businesses don’t care about what’s cool. They care about what works,” said Thomas Klinect, a Gartner Analyst.
There continues to be a need for skills in Enterprise Computing, including application developers with COBOL skills. To address these employer needs and provide more accessibility to training, a team of COBOL SMEs from IBM, clients and American River College recently created a unique COBOL course. I say unique for these reasons: it was a collaborative community effort, the course is available on public domain, at no cost and incorporates modern tooling and the latest features.
This course launched on Friday, April 17th and is now available on the Open Mainframe Project, as an open source project to drive further engagement and downstream usage. We have also included no charge access to a mainframe system to complete the hands-on labs.
If your interest has been piqued and would like to learn more about COBOL, including a new technical webinar series, check out this COBOL Hub