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COBOL Programmers Wanted
Posted by: mrlynn
Date: April 10, 2020 08:15AM
[Follow-up to [forums.macresource.com]]

Quote

Wanted urgently: People who know a half century-old computer language so states can process unemployment claims

(CNN)On top of ventilators, face masks and health care workers, you can now add COBOL programmers to the list of what several states urgently need as they battle the coronavirus pandemic.

In New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy has put out a call for volunteers who know how to code the decades-old computer programming language called COBOL because many of the state's systems still run on older mainframes.

In Kansas, Gov. Laura Kelly said the state's Departments of Labor was in the process of modernizing from COBOL but then the virus interfered. "So they're operating on really old stuff," she said.
Connecticut has also admitted that it's struggling to process the large volume of unemployment claims with its "40-year-old system comprised of a COBOL mainframe and four other separate systems." The state is working to develop a new benefits system with Maine, Rhode Island, Mississippi and Oklahoma. But the system won't be finished before next year.

"Literally, we have systems that are 40-plus-years-old," New Jersey Gov. Murphy said over the weekend. "There'll be lots of postmortems and one of them on our list will be how did we get here where we literally needed COBOL programmers?"

More here: [www.cnn.com]

Sent to me by a friend who used to be a programmer, but I think he knew Fortran, not COBOL.

/Mr Lynn



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Re: COBOL Programmers Wanted
Posted by: space-time
Date: April 10, 2020 08:22AM
A friend of a friend does COBOL. I do not know the guy well, just met him once. I think he does OK.

The states and unemployment offices need these people really bad. What kind of career opportunities does one have if they go to work for the unemployment office in times like these? they will probably be fired once the crisis is over, and they will be called back again when the next recession happens. With that in mind, I would probably not go to work for such an office, or if I did, I would ask way more than they offer.
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Re: COBOL Programmers Wanted
Posted by: JoeH
Date: April 10, 2020 09:46AM
There are a number of COBOL programmers I know of through the grapevine who retired years ago and take a contract every now and again. 20+ years ago it was Y2K work, and lots of it. Though now those oldest retirees are getting into their late 70s and 80s so the pool is getting smaller.

I have heard of some younger programmers taking COBOL courses just because the demand is there and they can get good contracts when some financial of government system needs updating for some new function. Its good money when available, not may to compete with them, and they fall back on getting work programming in other languages they prefer.
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Re: COBOL Programmers Wanted
Posted by: norse
Date: April 10, 2020 10:14AM
I'm positive the programs has gotten so convoluted/spaghetti coded with all the modifications by different programmers over the decades, that the systems would be difficult to "enhance/fix".
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Re: COBOL Programmers Wanted
Posted by: mattkime
Date: April 10, 2020 10:56AM
Quote
norse
I'm positive the programs has gotten so convoluted/spaghetti coded with all the modifications by different programmers over the decades, that the systems would be difficult to "enhance/fix".

...and thats likely what makes the contracts lucrative.


Honestly, I find the problem interesting. Any newbie can write perfect code when starting from scratch. It takes someone with experience and guts to dig into a convoluted system.

The main reason why I wouldn't take my career in this direction is because there's likely no interest in moving away from COBOL. If there was it would have already happened.







Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/10/2020 10:59AM by mattkime.
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Re: COBOL Programmers Wanted
Posted by: JoeH
Date: April 10, 2020 11:43AM
Oh there is interest in a lot of places to move from legacy COBOL applications. But it is often cheaper to spend several $100s of thousands to several million a year to maintain the existing code versus spending many, many times that to replace, validate, and retrain everyone with a new system.
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