NJ Needs Programmers who Know 60-year-old Computer Language

NJ Needs Programmers who Know 60-year-old Computer Language

Turns out many New Jersey computers still run a programming language that predates the moon landing.

NJ Gov. Phil Murphy has put out a call for volunteers who know Common Business Oriented Language (COBOL), a programming language that goes back to 1959. Most coders have moved away from it, but according to Reuters, 220 billion lines of COBOL remain in use today (including state and federal systems), and the record-high 362,000 unemployment filings are straining NJ’s 40-year-old mainframes.

And the shortages go beyond computers.

"The general population of COBOL programmers is generally much older than the average age of a coder," claimed cybersecurity expert Joseph Steinberg. "Many American universities have not taught COBOL in their computer science programs since the 1980s."

So none of this was unforeseen.

According to an IT friend of mine, we’ve been kicking the can down the road for decades, and instead of paying the folks who have this rare skillset, we’re asking them to work for free. From each according to his ability, to each according to his … nothing. You get nothing.

For their part, the feds use COBOL at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Justice, and Social Security Administration (the latter, of which, maintains 60 million lines of COBOL).

And NJ is hardly alone – Connecticut is working with Maine, Rhode Island, Mississippi, and Oklahoma on a new benefits system, but that won’t be ready for at least a year.

In the meantime, anyone care to work for free?

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