TechRepublic: IBM, Linux Foundation see great response from COBOL programmers

By April 17, 2020News

Published on April 17, 2020, on TechRepublic

The computer giant and foundation have partnered on initiatives to pair programmers with states seeking help with unemployment systems during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nearly 1,300 people have stepped forward to either volunteer or work for hire, according to John Mertic, director of program management at Linux Foundation, which has partnered with IBM on initiatives to teach the 60-year-old COBOL programming language to coders.

The foundation and IBM have rolled out a free training course and a forum where people with knowledge of the language can be matched with organizations that need help maintaining their critical systems.

“What’s interesting is you think of a COBOL programmer as someone 40-some-odd years into their career,” Mertic said. “We’ve had an amazing diversity of individuals coming forward from new students up to veterans” who are gender diverse and come from locations all around the world, he said. “It’s actually blown us away a little.” Mertic added that he’s also had people reach out to him directly to ask how they can help.

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