Cobol Courses

Written by Shirley Parker
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COBOL or Common Business Oriented Language was developed by a team of programmers who based their work on FLOW-MATIC, the first widely used business programming language built by Grace Hopper. Grace had also developed program compilers for the Mark 1, the first large-scale computer. Grace was an advisor to the Cobol team, and is referred to as Cobol's Grandma. Co-workers referred to her by other names appropriate to such an amazing person.

Having served in the U.S. Navy, Grace was appointed Rear Admiral by President Ronald Reagan. She was a computer pioneer with a brilliant mind and the vision that even non-scientists would be able to use computers themselves, without needing specialists to do everything for them. Grace was scorned, of course, even by her colleagues; they thought the general public was essentially too ignorant, and computers too complex, for any of Grace's dreams and goals to ever come to fruition. However, she received many honors and awards during and after her lifetime.

While an old (1960) language, Cobol is still used in business applications, particularly on IBM mainframe systems. Finance and insurance data, and payroll and accounting needs, are very likely to be processed with Cobol. Its structure is very much like natural English, using command words that we recognize such as DIVIDE, MULTIPLY, WRITE, COMPUTE, and so forth.

Cobol Courses May Have to be Sought Out

Every programming language has its supporters and detractors, just as every piece of software recently produced has its fans and foes. Even though considered a legacy product, Cobol is not dying or dead; Cobol is very much in use in business and will be for a long time to come. Instruction is not as widely available as it once was, but the expected Y2K crisis was averted largely by knowledgeable Cobol programmers. A big challenge now is to continue marrying Cobol with other technologies.


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