Job Control Language


Job Control Language (JCL) is a scripting language used on IBM mainframe operating systems to instruct the system on how to run a batch job or start a subsystem. It contains commands for scheduling tasks, defining datasets, and specifying how a job is to be completed. Thus, JCL is fundamental for managing the execution of programs within the mainframe environment.


The phonetics of the keywords “Job Control Language” would be:- Job: /dʒɒb/- Control: /kənˈtroʊl/- Language: /ˈlæŋɡwɪdʒ/

Key Takeaways

Key Takeaways about Job Control Language

  1. Function: Job Control Language (JCL) is a scripting language used on IBM mainframe operating systems to instruct the system on how to run a batch job or start a subsystem.
  2. Elements of JCL: It consists of control statements that define jobs, specify job parameters, and control job processing. It mainly includes JOB statements (defining the job), EXEC statements (calling the program to be executed), and DD statements (defining the data sources).
  3. Usage and Performance: JCL helps in simplifying the operations, improving the efficiency of using resources and can handle processing of vast amounts of data thereby enabling high-speed and large-volume data processing. Despite being an old language, it is still widely used in legacy systems and is vital in batch processing.


Job Control Language (JCL) is vital because it’s a command language used in mainframe operating systems like IBM’s OS/360 and others to control the execution of batch jobs, a sequence of tasks executed automatically within an IT environment. JCL helps in providing necessary specifications for job processing such as input, output resources required, schedule the time for job execution, handle priority, and output dataset requirements. Moreover, it makes it simpler to manage, control, and monitor task execution by establishing a routine in the job environment, making it a crucial aspect in the automation process and enhancing productivity in a large-scale computing setup.


Job Control Language (JCL) serves a crucial role in the operations of mainframe computing, particularly in managing and controlling batch jobs or tasks. It is used as a means of communication between users and the operating system. Job control language is responsible for requesting computational resources and scheduling when and how jobs are to be executed. Its primary utility is in defining a job, which includes specifying the programs to run, the files to use, the respective sequence of the tasks, and the instruction for the output’s storage.JCL is particularly useful for tasks that need minimal human interaction. These can range from simple tasks such as copying a file to more complex ones like launching and organizing multiple programs. It streamlines the process of running a batch job, freeing up users to focus on other tasks. By dictating what resources are required, the sequence of the commands, as well as the expected outputs, JCL ensures that the mainframe accurately completes the given tasks without constant manual oversight. Hence, JCL simplifies mainframe operations by automating the job process, making it efficient and predictable.


Job Control Language (JCL) is a name for scripting languages used on IBM Mainframe Operating Systems to instruct the system on how to run a batch job or start a subsystem. Here are three real-world examples:1. **Banking:** Banks still rely heavily on mainframes to process large volumes of transactions. In this scenario, IBM mainframes use Job Control Language to schedule and execute batch jobs, for instance, processing end of the day transactions, generating customer bank statements, etc.2. **Insurance Companies:** Insurance companies use mainframes to manage all of their policy and claims information. They would use JCL to perform tasks like generating bills for policyholders, calculating premiums, or updating policy information.3. **Retail:** Large retail corporations such as Walmart use mainframes to manage their inventory and supply chain. They would use JCL to, for example, run batch jobs to update inventory records, produce sales reports for analysis, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

**Q: What is Job Control Language?** A: Job Control Language (JCL) is a scripting language used on IBM mainframe operating systems to instruct the system on exactly how to run a batch job or start a subsystem. **Q: What are the main components of Job Control Language?** A: The key components of JCL are Job statements, Execute statements and Data Definition statements.**Q: Which operating systems use Job Control Language?**A: Job Control Language is primarily used on IBM’s z/OS mainframe operating system.**Q: What commands does JCL support?**A: JCL supports various command statements like JOB, DD, and EXEC which enables one to specify the necessary technical details of a particular program’s execution.**Q: Is Job Control Language still in use today?**A: Yes, JCL is still commonly used on IBM’s Mainframe systems especially in banking, insurance, and other large-scale enterprises. **Q: Why is JCL important?**A: JCL is important because it controls key aspects of a job process such as the input and output data’s location, the amount of resources needed, and the sequence of programs in the job.**Q: Can one execute multiple programs using a single JCL?**A: Yes, you can execute multiple programs using a single JCL by defining each in an EXEC statement.**Q: What is the main reason to use JCL?**A: JCL is primarily used to manage and control the execution of programs in IBM Mainframe systems. **Q: Is learning JCL difficult?**A: While the syntax can be complex, understanding the basic structure and its elements can help in learning JCL more effectively. **Q: Are there alternative languages to JCL?**A: Yes, there are several other scripting languages that can be used to control batch processing like PowerShell for Microsoft systems.

Related Tech Terms

  • Scripting Language
  • Batch Processing
  • Mainframe Computers
  • IBM Operating Systems
  • Job Entry Subsystem

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