COBOL was decleared dead and no one believed that this programming language – and mainframes generally – would survive to enter the new millennium. But it did! COBOL coded systems are still running important processes in businesses worldwide, and as long as the solid and secure mainframes are refusing to die, we will see a demand for COBOL developers.
Although COBOL has cheated death, the same cannot be said for the developers. They may not be dead, but many of the developers are reaching the retirement age, and the Danish universities are not providing new COBOL developers. Despite the fact that the financial sector is desperately searching for new COBOL talents.
COBOL is not cool
The new IT students view mainframes and COBOL as old and dying technologies and they prefer to learn about mobile applications and the like. The few students who would like to learn COBOL are holding back, as they are afraid of spending time and money on a programming language with no future. I have to say that I understand their concerns.
Where does that leave the businesses?
In my opinion, there are only two options for the businesses that use the old systems. They can close down the systems, which is not desirable as the systems are very stabile. Or they can look abroad and outsource the development and maintenance of their systems.
Where do we find COBOL developers?
In the new economies such as Asia and Eastern Europe, they have little experience with COBOL development, as their focus on software development started after the mainframe wave. However, in India and certain places in Eastern Europe, they have embraced COBOL at a later time. It is typically Delphi developers, who found it interesting to continue working with mainframes, as their programming language became outdated.
Why educate developers to a programming language that is slowly dying, when we live in a global world and the resources are easily found elsewhere? In my opinion, there is no reason to complain, when there are plenty of COBOL developers abroad. The only logic approach is to employ the existing developers abroad, instead of educating new COBOL developers in Denmark.