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File: 1477448187296.png (129.64 KB, 300x146, cobol.png)


Apparently if you master COBOL you can get very high paying government jobs super easily. Many of the older systems they can't afford to update are built on it, and everyone who knew COBOL is starting to reach retirement age.

Has anyone tried learning this? How awful is it really?


Seconding, interested in this too.

And I've read in passing before that it's not just about cobol itself, but common tools and systems around cobol that are hard to get a grip on.
So I imagine being a Linux-user would be beneficial, because of the experience of learning to get around systems different to windows.


those very high paying jobs probably pay less than Google et al.


Yeah, but getting a job at google is like, hella hard and getting a job doing COBOL for the government probably isn't too bad (because who wants to work writing COBOL?)


One of my friend's father works on COBOL systems, he's on-call 24/7. The places that use mainframes can't handle even a sec of downtime. Can you imagine a bank being closed for 10 minutes, It would go bankrupt. From what I hear the job is high stress, not too much pay, but it is a stable job that will always be there. My friend's father is 70ish and they have such few candidates that they basically begged him to stay on.


>those very high paying jobs probably pay less than Google et al.
Google et al. have extremely high living costs.


I'm only familiar with older COBOL reasonably well from reading reference manuals and whatnot. It's an interesting piece of history and the development of programming languages.
There's an opportunity for me to be employed by a public institution that uses COBOL on IBM mainframes for its payroll and other stable services, so I may have practical experience with maintaining a COBOL system soon.

>How awful is it really?

I would have to say that one of the main strange qualities it has is an abundance of arbitrary restrictions. Source code must be aligned like so, the hundreds of keywords each have their own grammars that must be followed, and so on.

It's rather domain specific for manipulating certain kinds of data with certain conventions, which I won't count against it.

As a good example, picture output statements can specify their format with a simple enough notation; ZZ9 specifies a three digit output which replaces the first two digits with spaces if they would be zeroes and the 9 with a digit, even if zero; the Zs must be leftmost, however, so Z9Z isn't allowed; a comma can be used to introduce commas, but can't be the rightmost character.

Arbitrary rules such as these follow conventions we're all aware of and so usually won't be an issue, but this is still something a COBOL programmer must remember.


Is there any chance to get a COBOL job for a foreigner?


Sure, they do. But they pay enough that it doesn't matter. Unless there are some 120k COBOL jobs in a super cheap area. The Google salary is high. And except for rent, you can live cheap there like anywhere else.

But for some, a COBOL job may be more pleasurable. I just don't think it's a niche to get into just for the money.


What computer science niche would you say has the highest pay? I'm currently interested in Big Data and bioinformatics but I don't want to work in research and industry work is hard to find. So I'm looking for a high paying niche where I can earn enough and then work on projects on the side.


pretty much those, plus ML.


I'm told by my business professor that Computer Engineering easily has the highest pay. Like, hardware and chip architecting.


I wonder if there are COBOL applications running in my country. I wouldn't mind landing either a COBOL or a FORTRAN job, it'd be a steady job if I don't fuarrrk up
Anyone has an idea as of how I could look this soykaf up? I don't think such jobs are publicly available.


>I wonder if there are COBOL applications running in my country.
If your country isn't located in the North America, then probably not.


I know of multiple Google employees who live in the (very nice) trailer park next to google, who live in RVs parked at google, or who have way too many roommates. Mountain View is pricey but totally doable on a budget.


>oh boy, I get to live like I'm the scum of society to reward me for all my hard work!


Google employees live on trailer parks? Is that supposed to impress anyone


Some do. But either way, I think if you're purely in it for the money, getting a reasonable place in Santa Clara or San Jose and working in SV is better than the COBOL niche unless you really think COBOL and old business software is something that interests you.

It could be. I'm at least a little curious about it, but I don't think its some "lifehack" to have a cushy job.


I wouldn't want to live in SV, you may make a soykafload of money but the cost of living is so high you end up spending just as much


Eh, that's really not true. Or doesn't have to be true. When I was out there, making about 50K more than I would have working where I grew up, housing, though incredibly high, wasn't high enough to make it so I would have saved more money making 60K in the middle of nowhere.


While tangentially related, this is not a Google nor Silicon Valley thread.

Keep the discussion related to COBOL and COBOL employment.


Im surprised that India doesnt train a bunch of programmers to do COBOL. You would think there would be some online courses for it since it is such a high paying job.

Anyone here play with Open/GNU-COBOL?


Check this out:

Some folks in India are interested in this, and coming to the US to work in COBOL.

It doesn't look like their salary's are noticeably higher than a non COBOL SW developer.

OTOH, 51 jobs over 5 years. How many COBOL developers are there total? People from india may comprise a significant fraction of the total developer pool (just like the rest of SW development.)


How does one get reqired experience though?


Yeah, I wonder about that too.


you dont because no one wants you to fuck up their mainframe

which is why it's dying


>not having a hobbyist COBOL open-source project
>not having your personal website run off CoC (COBOL on Cogs)
>not rewriting coreutils in GNU COBOL

saying you can't learn cobol because nobody wants you to fuck up their mainframe is like saying you can't learn java because nobody will let you deploy on their infrastructure. COBOL is a programming language. If you want to know it, write a compiler for it. All you need for that is the specification.

h1b salaries are going to be significantly lower because of the negotiation position the dev is forced into.

Google has offices all over the place. Mountain View is the largest but they're basically in every major metropolitan area in the US (Seattle, I think Portland but maybe not many teams there, SF/MV, LA, Chicago, Boston, NYC, the DC office is just lobbyists and the Atlanta office is just sales now). Similarly, most big companies have satellite offices in more affordable areas.

The real trick is to get hired at one of the main campuses and find a reason to work full remote and live in the sticks in West Virginia somewhere, if you can pull that off you get paid the bay area prices with all the cost savings that comes from living in an area predominantly populated by sasquatches (sasquatchen?) and the descendants of a single family of settlers in 1688.

If you work for the government you get paid a federal salary. You can look up what the federal salary brackets are. You won't get a bonus based on performance, you won't get stock, and while you will get a pension, with the economy the way that it is that isn't as reassuring as it was years ago. Public sector is a dead end.

Also it's not hard to get a job at google. Just pitch a messaging app in the interview and they'll hire you as a director on the spot.


I actually know a little. But have shied away from it because I'm afraid of CBS.

I'm looking for a COBOL IDE that's either free and easy to install (not GNU COBOL) or it has a simple "try before you go legit"-license.

MicroFocus Visual Cobol seems interesting, but since that corporation is british, their market department is all pre-capitalist caste society. Eclipse seems interesting, if only I could get that "try before you go legit"-license AND make the GUI NOT look like some teflon Windows 10-BS.


>COBOL is a programming language. If you want to know it, write a compiler for it. All you need for that is the specification.
And with the same logic I can say that you can only become a good driver if you have built your own car, because you learn the specs better that way.


File: 1478732327374.png (16.68 MB, 200x200, Apress.Beginning.COBOL.For.Programmers.Mar.2014.ISBN.1430262532.pdf)

here you go:



And does anyone please know of any COBOL-compiler for BSD?



take the time to do a simple search on your own lainanon. this looks me 5 seconds to find


Yeah, but SEO is a bitch.

Does anyone please know of a COBOL IDE that was made primarily for BSD and some SQL engine to go with it?



If your end goal is a niche government/cobol job then I'd recommend the ibm master the mainframe contest:


It looks like it's basically over now (ends dec. 31), but there's some kind of an open practice server you can register for, and there's always next year. z/os is a big trip from regular linux on a console.




What would be the point of just making COBOL programs into C and just compiling them with gcc?



It's using C as an intermediate language. That's not unusual - lots of languages use intermediate languages during compilation.


For those of you that can read german, the new iX special edition coming out is all about legacy program(ing), it includes a tutorial on Cobol:



>This is a COBOL implementation of MMSEG which a Chinese word splitting alcobolrithm.
Did they just run s/go/cobol/ on the whole thing?