Old COBOL Programmer and Journalist

I’m curious. I have a profile on here, and I recently wrote an introduction to COBOL on the stack overflow blog: https://stackoverflow.blog/2020/04/20/brush-up-your-cobol-why-is-a-60-year-old-language-suddenly-in-demand/

At the time, the lack of COBOL programmers was a big topic. Is anyone actually getting jobs out of the urgent appeals? New Jersey was asking for volunteers, not offering jobs. So I’ve become curious whether there is a real actionable attempt to hire more COBOL programmers, or was it just an excuse?

You can message me here or email me at chasrmartin@gmail.com if you have any leads for me.

Hello Charles,

I have wondered the same. As a quick test, I pointed my browser at Indeed’s advanced search pages for the USA and Canada. I searched for jobs (i) posted within the last 15 days and (ii) with “COBOL” in the title. Indeed returned 23 jobs in the USA and 2 in Canada.

If you search for jobs with COBOL anywhere in the posting, more are returned, but those are not necessarily COBOL developer positions.

No doubt the hidden job market holds more opportunities, but individuals will need to network to find them.


Good article! I was the designer and lead developer of a mainframe Cobol application generator named MAGEC, which is still in operation today. More recently we have developed a new version of MAGEC that produces mainframe-Cobol-like applications (with a lot of added functionality) in the LAMP environment (Linux-Apache-MySql-PHP, etc.) that we are using in development projects for some early customers.

You hit the nail on the head when you described the importance of Cobol’s strict data typing and rigorous formatting for business applications.

Thanks for writing it.
Al Lee

Well written article, Charles. I am certainly seeing more and more COBOL jobs in the Richmond, VA, and Washington, D.C. areas. Unfortunately, most require 15 years of experience, so in my case they are out of my league. For others it might be just the ticket.

I wondered about this also… When I was in university in he mid 80’s I learned cobol and even spent a few years after graduation working with MicroFocus Cobol Workbench on IBM PSII but got away from cobol programming by mid 90’s. If they are looking for programmers with 15 years of experience all they are doing is cannibalizing from the same pool of veteran programmers and paying ever increasing salaries. I would think they would be willing to widen their search criteria a bit if they were that desperate. Not sure how real the need is if they feel they can be that picky…

Hi everyone! Thank you for your comments. Maybe I’m just getting cynical in my old age but I’ve begun to wonder if the urgency of the requirements for cobalt programmers wasn’t just an excuse for the slow difficult process of updating the code in an emergent crisis. I’m certainly not hearing from anyone who HAS gotten a job out of these efforts. If you know someone who has would you please ask them to contact me?