Around the globe governments and businesses rely on mainframes to support day-to-day transactions. They’re overwhelmed by not only the health challenges COVID-19 presents, but also the technical challenges. For example, states processing unemployment claims right now are facing unprecedented circumstances and volumes requiring significantly more capacity and changes in code across all systems in a very short timeframe.
Mainframes have been quietly managing the large data process for decades as their reliability, availability, security, scalability, and performance cannot be matched. While these core systems run Java, Python, and other languages, a part of the core 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.
Last week, Open Mainframe Project announced several COBOL resources in response to the desperate call for help from several government officials. Today, Open Mainframe Project announces availability of a COBOL Training Course that offers introductory-level COBOL materials with Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code editor (VS Code).
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 free COBOL Training Course educates those developers or students who would like to learn COBOL skills with VS Code and extensions. These materials provide an overview of the language with hands-on labs.
With the new COBOL Training Course, Open Mainframe Project offers extensive support through its open source community. From industry-leading company members to individual open source students and contributors, there are a variety of resources available to help support developers who want to learn COBOL for the first time or those seasoned professionals who want a refresher. Open Mainframe Project offers forums, mailing lists and a Slack channel (#cobol-programming-course) where developers can ask questions, network with others and engage with professionals who have different experiences and backgrounds.
“With this new COBOL Training Course and open source community support, we hope to inspire the next generation of talent as the need for these skills has become even more acutely evident in these difficult times,” said John Mertic, Director of Program Management at The Linux Foundation. “We are arming new and seasoned developers with the resources they need to be the solution, not just for the immediate challenges of our government, but for the future.”
To learn more about the new COBOL Training Course, click here: https://www.openmainframeproject.org/projects/coboltrainingcourse
Other resources can be found here:
- COBOL Training Course GitHub: https://github.com/openmainframeproject/cobol-programming-course
- Calling all COBOL Programmers Forum: https://community.openmainframeproject.org/c/calling-all-cobol-programmers/15
- COBOL Technical Forum: https://community.openmainframeproject.org/c/cobol-technical-questions/16
- Open Mainframe Slack Channel: https://slack.openmainframeproject.org/ #cobol-programming-course
- Open Mainframe Project Mailing LIst: https://lists.openmainframeproject.org/
- IBM Announcement about mobilizing COBOL efforts: https://newsroom.ibm.com/2020-04-09-IBM-and-Open-Mainframe-Project-Mobilize-to-Connect-States-with-COBOL-Skills