COBOL (Common Business Oriented Language) was the first widely-used high-level programming language for business applications. Many payroll, accounting, and other business application programs written in COBOL over the past 35 years are still in use and it is possible that there are more existing lines of programming code in COBOL than in any other programming language. While the language has been updated over the years, it is generally perceived as out-of-date and COBOL programs are generally viewed as legacy applications.Should I learn COBOL? If you are working on a Computer Science degree, taking a COBOL class will probably be of little value to you (I doubt if most CS programs offer a COBOL course); however, if you are trying to break into the programming profession w/o a degree and w/o any experience, then knowing some COBOL could help you get that first job.
But, I always hear people say that COBOL is dying? Me, too! But I've been hearing that for many, many years. While you are reading this, there are probably hundreds (if not thousands) of new lines of COBOL code being produced. Yeck, there are even OO (Object-Oriented) versions of COBOL these days. I am pretty confident that COBOL will be around for a few more years. Most of the software that has Y2K (Year 2000) problems is written in COBOL; therefore, I think there will be a strong demand for COBOL programmers the latter half of 1999 through the year 2000. Not all COBOL programmers are related to Homer Simpson.
Does the CSC program offer a COBOL course? No, it doesn't. However, if you want to take a COBOL course, then checkout the schedules for the CIS (Computer Information Systems) courses offered at SCC and MCC. They have a COBOL class in the course bank and sometimes they offer it.
June 2001 UpdateAccording to Gartner, Inc., as reported in eWeek (May 28), there are 200 billion lines of COBOL code in existence. That number will grow by 5 billion lines every year for the next four years. While there are 90,000 COBOL programmers in North America, that number is being decreased by death and retirement by 13% a year.