A number of U.S. States began a hasty search for anyone that has skills with the programming language COBOL. The reason is balancing on the verge of paralysis of the government services whose work is based on ancient mainframes, some of them now for 40 years. Before the onset of the pandemic COVID-19 old somehow cope with his task, but when a couple of weeks in social services, I enrolled 6.6 million applications for unemployment benefits, old server crashed.
Where to find programmers with a focus on COBOL – one more question. Strictly speaking, this language is not archaic, and certainly not outdated, the last major update came out in 2014. In its structure, COBOL is much better than the other perfect for creating services for government agencies, like it was decades ago. No wonder that the American government favored such software products, however, were reluctant to invest in training specialized professionals. And in a free market COBOL was quoted much worse, so the young programmers and was in no hurry to master it.
The main problem is not the lack of experts on COBOL, and that this niche remained in the doldrums for a long time. And now, in fact, need to change, to adapt the old system to what they are absolutely not intended. For example, to optimize the access to the same sites on unemployment with a wide range of gadgets running under different OS and using different ways of access to the Internet.
Replace old programs with new counterparts across the country is possible only in theory. If you speak the language of money, through the old mainframe COBOL transactions daily are in the trillions of dollars, and the traffic no one will dare to stop. But even if daredevil exists, and even if you remove from a pocket already prepared and tested the products for replacement, the physical introduction of new systems will take decades. So, there is no choice – you need to ask the veterans COBOL to return to work and students to learn the programming language, which many have not heard.