Updated June 29, 2023
Introduction to COBOL
COBOL stands for Common business-oriented programming language. It is one of the first high-level programming languages developed in 1959 by combining the US government, Universities, and Industry people. ANSI is responsible for developing updated COBOL standards every year from starting onwards. It is mainly used by military and government officials.
What is COBOL?
As we discussed above, It is a high-level programming language designed for business purposes. It was the first language designed for an operating system, and many industries and institutions using the programming language. It was designed mainly for finance, human resources, and other accepts of business. This language is mostly based on English words and phrases, and it is easy to understand and use. It is mostly used in financial institutions like banks, insurance companies, etc.
This language is self-documented, and it is easy to understand even for non-technical people as it is the main objective of the COBOL design principle so that managers and other officials can easily understand the program, whereas the other high language programs are complex to understand by them. Furthermore, it is a very simple programming language without any pointers, user-defined functions, data types, and its main programming style is straightforward programming. Therefore, it is easily applied to the complexity that lies in business logic needs to encode and program in this language.
How does COBOL make working easy?
This language is very easy to use in the work environment due to its features such as self-documentation, easy-to-understand, and simple language without any complex structures. The applications are being used in past years. They are the long-lived application written in millions of code lines in this language in a sophisticated way so that the new programming languages can’t easily replace them. The code written in this language looks like written in a structured document where each line of codes is specific to a certain purpose, and it follows the structural hierarchy.
What can you do with COBOL?
This language is used to program the applications for business, government offices, military applications, and most of the government applications in the US and welfare organizations also run on these applications. Some companies calculate a cibil score or credit ratings of the companies and most of the bank systems and software in the society in and around the UK. It also used in the insurance industry.
Working with COBOL?
We can say working with it is a little difficult, as it will be mainly used in mainframe applications where we need to use this files we need to import them as a source that contains data in text and binary format. This file format is a little different from the standard ANSI format. If you want to work with copybooks of COBOL, we need to import as .cbl file while using with the designer in Informatica we need to insert in the template using copy command of the Cobol, and both .cpy and .cbl files need to be in the same directory; otherwise, we need to mention the location of the .cpy file.
Some of the advantages of this programming language are that it is self-documented, easy to understand and read, can handle huge volumes of data easily, better language to use for business applications, easy to use for development and maintain the applications, portable across platforms without re-compilation and robust. There are many tools available for testing, debugging and analysis of the COBOL applications. It is widely used across business applications and easy to maintain.
COBOL skills are in demand as there are huge code and applications still used by so many companies, but people having these skills are very less in number. We need to have other programming skills like Java besides COBOL to survive in the industry as many old applications are migrated to new technologies.
Why should we use COBOL?
We should use this as it is easy to understand, self-documented, use, develop, and maintain the applications. We have so many programming languages available but still for customer data processing in banks, insurance companies, and government applications uses COBOL as it is good at dealing with such kind of data with data types and data structures suits for that data.
COBOL programming language has different levels of scope within a program, but mostly it will use a static scope but not a dynamic scope like modern programming languages. It has program scope, external variables, and nested program scope. But all the above will be considered as global scope only.
Why do we need COBOL?
We need COBOL programming language as many of the bank applications, insurance applications, military, and government applications are long back written in the COBOL, and they are still in use as it is standard for such a long time. It is the best language in those days, which has the capability to handle batch jobs, sequential processing, file access, and reports. It is still used across industries as it is profitable.
Who is the right audience for learning COBOL technologies?
People who are looking to make their career in the mainframe technologies, working on projects where they need to convert COBOL applications to other programming languages. Who is looking to make a career in banking, Insurance, and government sectors can learn it as there are many applications written in it and a lack of people to maintain. So people who are looking to make their career in mainframe technologies, porting applications from COBOL to other languages are the major audience who learns COBOL technologies.
How Does It Help in Career growth?
It helps in career growth a little bit only as there is very little demand compared to the other modern programming languages. So compared to job openings available and career growth with respect to other available languages in the market, demand is less for COBOL.
Finally, it’s a wrap about a brief discussion about this programming language. We have discussed COBOL in various ways, like why COBOL, its uses of it, need for it, career growth, etc. I hope you will have a good understanding of COBOL after reading this article.
This has been a guide to What is COBOL. Here we discussed the Working, Required Skills, Scope, career growth and Advantages of COBOL. You can also go through our other suggested articles to learn more –