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COBOL, Programming Language of the Future

Posted by Jason Bloomberg on Sep 20, 2012

Do you like programming? Do you want a good salary? How about job security? I have a skill for you. Become proficient in this programming language and your career is set. I can virtually guarantee that there will always be good jobs available, and over time, your skills with this language will only increase in demand. Can I have a cha-ching, folks?

OK, so what language am I talking about? Java? Hardly. Python? Erlang? JavaScript? No, no and no.

The language of the future? COBOL.

Yes, COBOL, workhorse of 1960s mainframes. Since Gartner famously estimated 240 billion lines of code in production in 1997, the number of people who know how this stuff works has been dropping far faster than the number of lines of code that remain. In fact, I wouldn't be at all surprised if the number of lines of COBOL still running is actually growing. Yes, many organizations running COBOL might be trying to migrate off of those systems, but legacy migration is easier said than done. And who said mainframes were obsolete anyway? If anything, the mainframe business is a growth business!

Furthermore, the latest version of COBOL (yes, they periodically update it) actually supports object orientation. Plenty of vendors still produce COBOL-friendly products. And remember, SOA is much more about rejuvenating legacy assets than replacing them with new shiny things.

COBOL experts, however, are another story. The mainframes may keep humming, but the COBOL jockeys are dying off, retiring, or just getting bored stiff. As a result, all indications that the demand for COBOL is on the rise, with no end in sight.

So, if you want your career to be set, learn the language of the future. COBOL!


mainframe, COBOL

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