COBOL Still Used More Than Google | TechWell

COBOL Still Used More Than Google

It’s no secret that I'm a proponent of learning COBOL. Even though the language is fifty years old and there are many other popular and sleek programming options out there, COBOL is still an important part of our tech-driven world. As pointed out before, COBOL still accounts for more than 70 percent of the business transactions that take place in the world today.

To put that into further context, Lero, a software engineering research center, recently announced that even in today’s fast-evolving and innovative society COBOL is still being used more than Google. How much more? Researchers at Lero claim that there are more than 200 times more COBOL transactions than Google searches worldwide.

The reason that COBOL has not only stayed around with fellow legacy tech but remained a juggernaut is that a large number of companies use systems that incorporate COBOL, and those systems are crucial to operations.

“The reality is that there is a lot of old software out there which is still at the heart of many critical applications, particularly in the area of financial transactions,” Lero’s chief scientist Brian Fitzgerald told Silicon Republic.

This is actually good news for COBOL programmers because they will continue to be in high demand even if companies start upgrading their legacy software and systems overnight.

A survey of more than 350 IT professionals found that nearly half of respondents have already noticed a shortage of COBOL programmers. This shortage can be attributed to COBOL programmers aging out of the industry. Fifty percent of respondents to the same Computerworld survey claimed that their COBOL staff were forty-five years of age or older, and half of those respondents cited their COBOL staff as older than fifty five.

The significant number of older COBOL programmers leaves a lot of room (and work) for younger programmers who pick up the language. However, it also leaves a huge divide between new programming trends and legacy tech languages.

In an article for The Huffington Post, Chris Frommann, an engineer who worked for the Social Security Administration, expanded on the contrast between the old programming trends and the new. Frommann, who believes COBOL is obsolete, said some government programmers are still writing code in COBOL despite the introduction of newer—and perhaps more effective—programming language options available.

In an attempt to analogize the use of COBOL, Frommann told The Huffington Post, “It’s as if the auto industry insisted on using Henry Ford technology despite the innovation over the last 70 years.”

Maybe Frommann is right. Maybe COBOL is an obsolete language. But, good or bad, COBOL is everywhere. And if you don't believe me, why don't you Google it?

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