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73% of Universities No Longer Offer Cobol Classes

Some universities say they see little demand for the language, but other say programmers need to know Cobol if they are going to maintain or modernize legacy enterprise applications.


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Should universities be offering Cobol classes? The aging language is virtually never used to write new applications, but enterprises still run billions of lines of Cobol code in their legacy applications. For example, the Social Security Administration alone runs 60 million lines of Cobol.

In a survey of 119 universities, vendor Micro Focus found that 73 percent do not offer any classes in Cobol. Of the rest, 18 percent include Cobol in their core curriculum, and 9 percent offer it as an elective.

"Employers are knocking on our door trying to hire as many (Cobol-trained students) as they can," said David Dischiave, an associate professor at Syracuse University, which offers Cobol classes.



But Paul Crigler of the University of Alabama Birmingham says they don't offer Cobol courses because "the demand just wouldn't justify us even offering a class."

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