Banking, insurance, stock and equities trading, supply chain management, big box retail, manufacturing—what do these industries have in common? The answer may surprise you. Each industry heavily relies on a nearly six decades old programming language —COBOL. Born in 1959, this Common Business oriented Language was designed for just that purpose—the computerization of business transactions and processes. It found its popularity during the early adoption of business computer systems and created an opportunity for many to build new skills in support of a developing digital economy.
Fast forward to 2017 and now more than 3 trillion in business commerce now flows through COBOL-based systems. But many organizations find themselves in a similar strive to digitize business operations as they did decides earlier. Fueled by the success of eCommerce, internet adoption and the insatiable appetite of the digital consumer, every organization must find new ways to innovate. And that innovation is now measured by an organizations’ ability to deliver new software capabilities to their customers faster than ever before. For smaller companies, this is less tasking, but for more established enterprises, who’ve built their business on COBOL and similar technology, it presents a challenge.
IT Skills – Opportunity knocks
But one organization’s challenge is another developer’s opportunity. In order for these established banking, insurance, equities management, logistics, retail, and manufacturing organizations to compete, they must transform, yet again. The same story applies to government as well being one of the leading infrastructures reliant on COBOL technology. In order to make this shift, these companies require new talent—a new generation of developers ready to tackle this vast digital domain and help bridge older systems to the new.
One needn’t look far in the media or press to see countless mentions of the so called ‘COBOL skills gap’ as well as the need for new COBOL programmers to maintain these old, but mission critical business systems. The career opportunity here is much more than merely maintenance work. These large organizations need creative thinkers, digital designers and agile architects to help them shape the next generation of IT systems. Yes, these enterprises are entrenched in COBOL, but for good reason—it stands head and shoulders above older alternatives when examining mathematical precision, portability and performance. And that’s just the beginning. Modern COBOL is a quantum leap from the COBOL of 1959 and is also where your Java and .NET skills give you an edge. This next generation langague enables modern developers to work with familiar tools such as Visual Studio or Eclipse to build and modernize complex COBOL systems alongside .NET and Java architectures. Modern COBOL programming also allows you to combine COBOL with C#, ASP.NET or Java programs together and even compile COBOL directly to MSIL (Microsoft Intermediate Language) under .NET or Java Byte Code under the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). The sky is the limit when it comes to modern COBOL development and modernization.
Bridging the old with the new
Organizations are actively seeking this type of talent to help maintain mission critical systems, but also bridge existing applications into the future. Some developers with these skills are banking up to one hundred dollars an hour for these services! It’s a skill-set that few have and there’s high demand.
So, have I piqued your Interest in learning modern COBOL? If you’re a Java or .NET programmer today, you’re already well on your way. Here’s a new book that’s worth a read. Visual COBOL: a developer’s guide to modern COBOL is designed for you—the .NET or Java programmer. It explains the COBOL language in simple terms and includes sample code and a project based example—if you want to try it for yourself. There’s even a free student software license included, too. Simply register for your copy to get started.
There’s unique opportunities out there to stand apart from the competition, increase your earnings and build a lasting career. Take that next step to change the game for your next job interview/career review: