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The COBOL Programming Course is an open source initiative under the Open Mainframe Project that offers introductory-level educational COBOL materials with modern tooling. 

Most financial organizations, banks, insurance companies, retailers and governments need systems that must flawlessly handle huge volumes of transactions every day. Mainframes have been quietly managing this process for decades as their reliability, availability, security, scalability, and performance cannot be matched.

While these core systems run Java, Python, and other languages, part of these core systems is COBOL, a reliable, proven programming language that has helped run some of the most mission critical services applications at the world’s largest companies. There are estimates that 220 billion lines of COBOL are in use today, and recent events have showcased a continued need for developers skilled in this language.

The COBOL Training Course aims to educate and train the next generation of mainframers. It offers:

Introductory COBOL training materials with VS Code tooling that is available now

Support from an active open source community

An opportunity to close the technology skills gap

To address employer needs for mainframe application developers, the training course development started in Fall 2019. This course is the product of collaborative work by subject matter experts from American River College, IBM, and its clients. It was developed with the intent to be made available in the public domain. It is being contributed to Open Mainframe Project as an open source project to drive further engagement and downstream usage.

The COBOL Training Course educates those developers or students who would like to learn COBOL skills with Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code editor (VS Code) and extensions. These materials provide an overview of the language and real-life Enterprise COBOL demos to work on. 

For more about COBOL, check out these Open Mainframe Project resources: 

COBOL Training Course GitHub:

Calling all COBOL Programmers Forum: an Open Mainframe Project forum where developers and programmers who would like to volunteer or are available for hire can post their profiles.  Whether they are actively looking for employment, retired skilled veterans, students who have successfully completed COBOL courses, or professionals wanting to volunteer, they can specify their level of expertise and availability to assist.  Employers can then connect with these resources as needed.

COBOL Technical Forum: a new forum specific to COBOL technical questions which will be monitored by experienced COBOL programmers. This will allow all levels of programmers to quickly learn new techniques and draw from a broad range of experience and expertise to address common questions and challenges arising during this unprecedented time.

Join the #cobol-programming-course on the Open Mainframe Slack Channel and get involved in the conversation!