How companies are moving on from Cobol

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The programming language Cobol has been around for 61 years in some form or another. For many organizations, that age shows, and people who can keep mainframe-based Cobol applications upright are becoming harder and harder to find, especially as most computer science programs aren’t teaching it any more.

The importance, and brittleness, of these systems was on show back in April 2020, when, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, various state authorities from New Jersey to Kansas started to put out desperate pleas for Cobol programmers to volunteer or come out of retirement to keep their creaking unemployment systems running in the face of unprecedented demand.

That’s because, even at the ripe old age of 61, Cobol is still being used by many big banks, insurance companies, and public organizations to run core transactional business processes, like paying unemployment benefits or dispersing money from an ATM.

Cobol does the job, but it’s hard to…



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