How popular is COBOL today?

09.21.2012

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The Tiobe Index has just published its results for September 2012.

The headline “no change”. I beg to differ.

Tiobe have been compiling statistics on programming languages for nearly a decade. Every month they publish a table of the top 100 programming languages ranked by popularity.

Their benchmarking is simple; how much internet content exists for any given programming language. They determine the amount of content using a simple search term across a variety of search engines “+ <programming language> programming” and tally up what they find.

It’s no surprise to see Java and C regularly battling for top spot but where do you think COBOL is placed in the rankings?

For quite some time, despite the pervasive use of COBOL within business computing, the language remained relegated to somewhere in between the 50 to 100 bracket. Languages in this section of the rankings have a tiny fraction of the overall share, often considered niche or domain specific.

But something interesting has been happening over the past 2 years outside of the top 20. COBOL has steadily progressed its way up through the rankings and out of the 50+ group. 47, 40, 35, 30, 28 and this month, 25.

Has the popularity of COBOL suddenly escalated over the last 2 years? Perhaps — let us know what you think?

What this may indicate is a renewed interest in existing COBOL systems. Whether that be from modernization discussions, Twitter conversations, LinkedIn groups, our Community site and forums, increased job openings for COBOL developers and much more.

Whatever the impetus, COBOL programmers are making their presence felt.

What is COBOL?

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