News flash: There’s a shortage of IT professionals with Cobol expertise and other mainframe skills.
Or maybe you’ve heard that before. We’ve been reporting since at least 2002 that Cobol skills were in short supply and that the situation was going to get worse because older mainframe experts would soon be retiring and young programmers had no interest in learning mainframe skills.
That might not seem like much of a problem, but as we pointed out in 2006, Cobol was decidedly not dead yet, with more than 60% of respondents to a Computerworld survey of IT managers saying that their organizations still used Cobol applications. That percentage actually rose slightly in a similar survey we conducted six years later, after the Cobol brain drain had begun in earnest. And in 2014, we reported on some hard-core fans — organizations that plan to keep using the language for as long as they possibly can despite the shortage of workers with Cobol and mainframe skills.
The venerable programming language has even been in the headlines just this spring, when we reported that it may fall to Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to eliminate Cobol and other legacy languages from the the federal government’s computer systems.
Oh, and if you’ve been reading this and saying, “It’s COBOL, not Cobol!” here’s our answer.