Wanted: COBOL Programmers
The demand for programmers that know COBOL, a decades-old programming language in which many mission-critical applications were written, is reaching new heights. In April 2020, the Governor of New Jersey put out a plea for COBOL programmers to help the state update its unemployment processing application. Other public and private-sector organizations are clamoring for COBOL skills as they race to adapt mainframe applications. The COVID pandemic has brought a new sense of urgency to this dynamic. However, IT organizations around the world have been dealing with making their mainframe applications available in new ways to support customer needs for a long time.
APIs Make COBOL Programs Available to Non-COBOL Programmers
Russ Teubner, co-founder and CEO of HostBridge Technology, has championed the API strategy for legacy applications for decades. “What exacerbates the current shortage of COBOL talent is the fact that organizations are not following the modern IT best practice of making sure mission critical apps are accessible via a platform-agnostic API,” said Teubner. “It doesn’t matter whether an enterprise considers their mainframe COBOL apps strategic or tactical. Either way, the best thing it can do is put an API in front of mission critical apps. If those apps are strategic, the enterprise has greater freedom to enhance them without impacting end users, because the API stays the same. If, however, the mainframe apps are tactical, then the API gives the enterprise a layer they can hold constant while completely changing the backend platform or application.”