The COBOL programming language is often the target of jokes, among developers who consider programmers who specialize in this technology to be extinct. This is not entirely true, as practice shows that it is possible to find COBOL-knowledgeable people in the market, although they are indeed few in number. This leads to a situation where the rates offered to COBOL Developers reach very high values, because, contrary to what one might think, large projects are still maintained in this technology. Is it worth learning COBOL these days, and what exactly is a language that a large number of people associate with dinosaurs and a candle icon?
What is COBOL?
COBOL stands for "Common Business-Oriented Language" and its very name indicates that it is aimed at developing software for business. More specifically, it can be said that COBOL is mainly used by entities that care about processing big data. Most often, this programming language is found in corporate projects in the financial, transportation or public sectors. COBOL's syntax differs from "modern" programming languages, but it is not difficult to master for speakers of the English language on which it is based. 1960 is claimed as the date of the technology's creation, and the rapid spread of COBOL is mainly attributed to the US government, which was keen to popularize the standard at the time.
It is not without reason that programming in COBOL can negotiate high rates with an employer. Systems of banking or insurance corporations operate based on this language. On popular job boards you can find job advertisements for COBOL Developers, which are sought by clients from the USA, Canada or Scandinavia. These are often entities of considerable importance in the global market, and their key processes are based on COBOL.
Many have long predicted the imminent end of the COBOL language, but these predictions are not reflected in reality. According to Wikipedia data, back in 1997 COBOL was used by 80% of the world's business. Today it is many times less, but certainly learning this language will not be time wasted, although it is much more difficult than programming in modern languages with a large community of developers and extensive documentation.