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Wed Apr 8, 2020, 04:33 PM

Know COBOL? Work available now!

https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/08/business/coronavirus-cobol-programmers-new-jersey-trnd/index.html

39 replies, 1576 views

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Arrow 39 replies Author Time Post
Reply Know COBOL? Work available now! (Original post)
Lulu KC Apr 2020 OP
alwaysinasnit Apr 2020 #1
sinkingfeeling Apr 2020 #18
dalton99a Apr 2020 #2
USALiberal Apr 2020 #3
TheBlackAdder Apr 2020 #38
AirmensMom Apr 2020 #4
Ex Lurker Apr 2020 #10
madinmaryland Apr 2020 #13
XRubicon Apr 2020 #34
Blue_true Apr 2020 #17
Ms. Toad Apr 2020 #25
MurrayDelph Apr 2020 #20
Hoyt Apr 2020 #5
lastlib Apr 2020 #33
tosh Apr 2020 #6
CentralMass Apr 2020 #21
tosh Apr 2020 #22
ret5hd Apr 2020 #7
Leith Apr 2020 #8
Ms. Toad Apr 2020 #24
CentralMass Apr 2020 #9
Skittles Apr 2020 #11
raccoon Apr 2020 #12
USALiberal Apr 2020 #27
lapfog_1 Apr 2020 #14
Hekate Apr 2020 #15
Ziggysmom Apr 2020 #16
tinrobot Apr 2020 #19
Leith Apr 2020 #28
The_jackalope Apr 2020 #31
Ms. Toad Apr 2020 #23
USALiberal Apr 2020 #26
Ms. Toad Apr 2020 #29
USALiberal Apr 2020 #30
Ms. Toad Apr 2020 #35
USALiberal Apr 2020 #37
Ms. Toad Apr 2020 #39
NBachers Apr 2020 #32
TheBlackAdder Apr 2020 #36

Response to Lulu KC (Original post)

Wed Apr 8, 2020, 04:35 PM

1. Jeez, I may have to come out of retirement, although I would have to brush up on my coding skills.

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Response to alwaysinasnit (Reply #1)

Wed Apr 8, 2020, 06:26 PM

18. Me too! But only for a hefty salary.

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Response to Lulu KC (Original post)

Wed Apr 8, 2020, 04:38 PM

2. Grab them while they last:

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Response to Lulu KC (Original post)

Wed Apr 8, 2020, 04:39 PM

3. I started with COBOL in High School junior year......

Writing iPad apps now.

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Response to USALiberal (Reply #3)

Wed Apr 8, 2020, 09:27 PM

38. It's still the backbone language of many brokerage houses.

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Response to Lulu KC (Original post)

Wed Apr 8, 2020, 04:42 PM

4. Now there's a blast from the past!

I took COBOL in college decades ago and never used it in my working life. I might still even have the printouts of my college programming assignments. It wasn't hard to learn, though, so I could probably do it again. This is getting unreal.

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Response to AirmensMom (Reply #4)

Wed Apr 8, 2020, 05:01 PM

10. I took it in college too

About all I remember is that it had four divisions. Ironically, our class assignments had to do with medical records and billing.

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Response to AirmensMom (Reply #4)

Wed Apr 8, 2020, 05:17 PM

13. I had FORTRAN, Pascal, basic and assembly languages in college.

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Response to madinmaryland (Reply #13)

Wed Apr 8, 2020, 08:15 PM

34. FORTRAN and Basic for me in college

I had to write/format a flat data file for a COBOL program running in UNIX to read one time so I needed to understand the code (at old job).

FORTRAN and Basic assignments were an easy A for me.

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Response to AirmensMom (Reply #4)

Wed Apr 8, 2020, 06:03 PM

17. I used it when modeling fractionation columns in college.

It was very frustrating to work with because it would stop at each coding mistake instead of reviewing all the code then typing out syntax errors. So I would spend several frustrating days and nights getting the syntax right, then execute the program, only to find out that I had programmed an attempt to divide by zero or some other nonsense, then I had to correct my equations, which often threw me back to redoing the syntax in the code. I used Basic in my work life, and I liked that much better.

COBOL was a powerful language, but getting it coded properly was a massive headache.

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Response to Blue_true (Reply #17)

Wed Apr 8, 2020, 07:41 PM

25. And (at least when I started programming) it was a 24-hour turn-around before you could run it again

Good old Xerox Sigma 9.

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Response to AirmensMom (Reply #4)

Wed Apr 8, 2020, 06:39 PM

20. I had it in college in the 70's

Along with PL/I and APL.

When I quit teaching public school, I learned Fortran, got a job in an Aerospace company working in Fortran (in the early 80's), and then found myself transferred to the payroll department, where I had to maintenance programming in COBOL on IBM mainframes.

Which is why I took a job teaching at DEC. While at DEC, I learned BASIC and C, and sat in on a class in ADA (but fortunately was never tasked with learning it well-enough to teach).

I guess what I'm saying is that anyone old-enough to remember how to code COBOL is in the danger group and shouldn't go out in the workforce.

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Response to Lulu KC (Original post)

Wed Apr 8, 2020, 04:45 PM

5. Heck, I think some government agencies still operate on floppy discs

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Response to Hoyt (Reply #5)

Wed Apr 8, 2020, 08:13 PM

33. Up until last year, nuclear launch instructions from the President

were done on 8-inch floppies! The launch computers are STILL 70's-vintage mainframes! (They're unhackable, because they have no IP addresses--the machines pre-date the internet!) They just updated the transfer medium to solid-state digital devices (thumb drives?)

I guess they either have, or will, update the computers themselves, according to this article. But how will they ever cope with DOS 3.0??

https://www.engadget.com/2019-10-18-us-military-nuclear-missiles-floppy-disks.html

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Response to Lulu KC (Original post)

Wed Apr 8, 2020, 04:47 PM

6. OMG 😱

I *hated* COBOL 😱!

We thought of it as obsolete way back in the Middle Ages when I was getting my bachelors degree,


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Response to tosh (Reply #6)

Wed Apr 8, 2020, 06:43 PM

21. In my early college years I had Cobol along with Fortran and C. I had a

Radio Shack Color Computer that had a smokin' 300 baud modem that plugged into a rom cartridge slot on the side of the computer. The college had a Data General Nova, or it might have been an Eclipse that you could remote into. I was probably the only student that that had a computer at home with a modem. I would log in and enter my length Cobol programs and submit them for compilation. It could take 30 - 45 minutes to get them into the compiler queue and compiled. If I forgot a critical . (period) the compiler would generate 50 or 60 errors. I would have to find it and fix the errors and resubmit, etc.

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Response to CentralMass (Reply #21)

Wed Apr 8, 2020, 06:52 PM

22. Lol!

Those were the days! We called ‘em “Radio Sucks”, they were just coming on the scene right after I finished my BA.

I won’t even describe the rig I used for remote access my last semester to complete a major assignment while sick as a dog. Truly prehistoric!

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Response to Lulu KC (Original post)

Wed Apr 8, 2020, 04:49 PM

7. They would have to supply special "carpal tunnel...

Syndrome” medical coverage. Absolutely the most tedious language to program. Easy to read, painful to write.

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Response to Lulu KC (Original post)

Wed Apr 8, 2020, 04:50 PM

8. I used to program in COBOL

People wouldn't believe how many installations run on COBOL, mainly government and large corporations. However, unless you live in a state capital or a city where an old and gigantic corporation is headquartered, you aren't going to get a job programming on a mainframe.

But, maybe, if they are desperate enough to let me work from home and they're willing to be patient through my remembering curve, I'd give it a shot. I still have my 30 year old TSO/ISPF (IBM mainframe operating system) and DB2 SQL (mainframe database system) books.

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Response to Leith (Reply #8)

Wed Apr 8, 2020, 07:39 PM

24. Yup. This need does not surprise me at all.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

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Response to Lulu KC (Original post)

Wed Apr 8, 2020, 04:59 PM

9. It's been decades.

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Response to Lulu KC (Original post)

Wed Apr 8, 2020, 05:10 PM

11. ME, ME!

it's death has been projected for DECADES

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Response to Lulu KC (Original post)

Wed Apr 8, 2020, 05:16 PM

12. I took COBOL at technical school in the early 80's.

Guess I could program it again.

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Response to raccoon (Reply #12)

Wed Apr 8, 2020, 07:45 PM

27. COBOL and RPG here! :-)

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Response to Lulu KC (Original post)

Wed Apr 8, 2020, 05:21 PM

14. I used to teach it in college

a very long time ago.

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Response to Lulu KC (Original post)

Wed Apr 8, 2020, 05:26 PM

15. Heh. Old systems run on old programs. Sometimes old programmers get to come out of retirement. nt

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Response to Lulu KC (Original post)

Wed Apr 8, 2020, 05:55 PM

16. Grace Hopper is smiling from heaven!

Have not coded COBOL in 20 years, I moved on to EDI. The USS Hopper Navy Warship was named for Ms. Hopper. She was quite a woman!

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Response to Lulu KC (Original post)

Wed Apr 8, 2020, 06:30 PM

19. I hated it when I learned it in 1977... still hate it.

Coding in COBOL is like writing a damn novel. Too verbose.

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Response to tinrobot (Reply #19)

Wed Apr 8, 2020, 07:47 PM

28. On the plus side

COBOL taught me how to type. I just couldn't get the hang of where my fingers needed to go until I was forced to by typing

add variable_1 to variable_2 giving correct_answer_3

Now it's

x = var1 + var2


I always figured that COBOL was so verbose so that the boss could figure out what was going on.


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Response to Leith (Reply #28)

Wed Apr 8, 2020, 08:06 PM

31. We called it the secretary's language.

I'm a total assembly language geek - PDP-10, PDP-11, 6809, 68000 and a smattering of RCA 1802. The highest level language I ever liked was plain C. As far as I was concerned, C++ was a joke perpetrated on an unsuspecting coding community.

So guess how much I hated COBOL?

But the gods had their little laugh at my expense. My first computer summer job after second year in 1980 required me to port a General Ledger package from COBOL-68 to COBOL-74, using home-made TECO macros.

Jesus.

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Response to Lulu KC (Original post)

Wed Apr 8, 2020, 07:38 PM

23. Sounds considerably less stressful than my current job.

Back to the future!!!

Fortran, Pascal, Basic, anyone? Got those skills, too!

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Response to Ms. Toad (Reply #23)

Wed Apr 8, 2020, 07:44 PM

26. Yep.....

Fortran as a sophomore in High School
COBOL as a Junior
RPG as a Senior
Punch cards!

Then C, Visual Basic, C64 Basic, etc!

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Response to USALiberal (Reply #26)

Wed Apr 8, 2020, 07:55 PM

29. I was in early College, but likely similar era

I dreaded walking across campus with my punch cards - hoping not to trip and send them all over the place so I would have to re-sort them before submitting them for the one run a day I was permitted.

I taught BASIC (on C64s) from 1978 - 1989 (the first few years with a single live terminal and 2-3 punch tape terminals)

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Response to Ms. Toad (Reply #29)

Wed Apr 8, 2020, 08:06 PM

30. I LOVED my C64, first computer was a IBM 1620 in HS. nt

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Response to USALiberal (Reply #30)

Wed Apr 8, 2020, 09:21 PM

35. Me too. I had a VIC-20 before it.

I started teaching BASIC with two (maybe 3) dumb terminals and one with a tape reader and modem for ~40 students to run programs on. So I was pretending to be a computer a lot of the time in order to be able to grade their work.

I convinced them to upgrade to C64s, so we had about one for every other student. Much better!

But i automated my gradebook, randomized question order and answer option order in multiple choice quizzes, created identical concept but different detailed assignments (Write a program that request 5 users to ask for each of the 7 wonders of the world; Write a program that asks 7 people the names of the origina colonies. In order to cheat by borrowing someone else's coding, they had to understand what they were doing. I also wrote a program to create word search puzzles that hid a list of words vertically , horizontally, and diagonally (foward and backward), and created an answer key that got a lot of use by my peers when they needed to create (I mostly wrote the last when my boss told me she didn't think I could).

I miss coding - but I haven't had a chance to do any since a HarvardX couse I took a few years ago when I needed to learn enough C++ to make sure my engineers weren't lying to me to avoid me telling them they were infringing someone else's patent. They were. The look on their faces was priceless when they realized their lawyer could, and had, read their code.

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Response to Ms. Toad (Reply #35)

Wed Apr 8, 2020, 09:26 PM

37. Amazing what we have seen in 40 years....

Mainframes to iPhones. I do miss the old bits and bytes days. Harder but seemed more knowledge needed.

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Response to USALiberal (Reply #37)

Wed Apr 8, 2020, 09:30 PM

39. I'm not a fan of magic -

Or of the constant need to create a new version of something that works quite well, just for the sake of making it look different.
They pried my DOS from my fingers by killing the DOS-based programs I needed to do legal research when I was in law school.

I'm currently battling Teams - which seems to me to add very little beyond creating one more place I need to go to check for mission critical correspondence

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Response to Lulu KC (Original post)

Wed Apr 8, 2020, 08:08 PM

32. I hate to think of the costly failure mess the new upgrades will produce.

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Response to Lulu KC (Original post)

Wed Apr 8, 2020, 09:25 PM

36. Yep, it works because it's easy to maintain, efficient and won't have imbedded malware.

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