Old programming language threatens global stability


It sounds like the name of a rock group from the 1960s, but COBOL, which stands for Common Business Oriented Language and was first developed in 1959, is back in the news.

As reported by CNN, state governments in the United States have raised the prospect of a shortage of COBOL programmers to help them fight the pandemic in the United States, particularly where it is still widely used today.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy recently called for volunteers who can code decades-old computer programming language because many state systems still run on older systems. mainframes.

A recent report pointed to a surprising fact: in 2019, 64% of organizations running on a mainframe planned to run more than half of their critical workloads on the platform, an increase from 57% in 2018.

A lack of COBOL programmers is also hurting Connecticut as the state is currently struggling to process its large volume of unemployment claims using a COBOL mainframe and four other separate systems. New Jersey faces a similar situation: 362,000 state residents have filed for unemployment in the past two weeks and its 40-year-old mainframe computers are now overloaded.


For example, a 2017 report by Reuters revealed that there are still 220 billion lines of COBOL in use today, as 43% of banking systems and 95% of ATM scans still rely on aging computer programming language.

COBOL is also still used by the United States federal government in various agencies, including the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Justice and the Social Security Administration.

A survey conducted earlier this year by Micro Focus underscored the fact that most organizations favor modernization as an approach for implementing strategic change. In other words, they oppose the replacement or withdrawal of their COBOL applications as they continue to provide an efficient, low-risk way to transform IT to support digital business initiatives.

This may be due to cost factors or the criticality of the tasks performed by the COBOL system. Very often the catalyst for change – as was the case with the Y2K / Millennium bug, is a global external factor. If you’ve ever wanted to learn COBOL, now would be a good time to do so.



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