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COBOL Training Course Aims to Educate New Mainframers

In response to the technical challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, Open Mainframe Project announced a COBOL Training Course that offers introductory-level COBOL programming materials with VS Code.

COBOL helps run some of the most mission-critical applications within mainframe systems in large companies across the world, and is a necessity to maintaining the performance of mainframe technology. World events have shown that COBOL, and developers well-versed in COBOL, are essential to help face the strain on mainframe systems during COVID-19. For instance, the mass of unemployment claims that need to be processed requires a much higher capacity for mainframe systems, along with necessary changes to make within them, all in a short timeframe.

The COBOL training course aims to help bridge this divide and allow students and new mainframers the chance to learn how to use COBOL while they are at home. The course is available now, and aims to help these novices learn the structure of COBOL programs, data types and variable handling, intrinsic functions, branching logic and more. The end goal of the course is to enable its participants to write basic COBOL programs.

The training course began development in fall of 2019, and was created through IBM’s collaboration with American River College and various IBM clients, with the intent of being available in the public domain.

The course not only has introductory training materials with VS Code tooling, but also includes support from an active open-source community and an opportunity for developers to help close the technology skills gap.

The course is applicable for students and young professionals new to COBOL along with seasoned professionals who want to refresh their skills. Through forums, mailing lists and a Slack channel, developers can ask questions and network with professionals and experts who can share their skills with the next generation of mainframers.

Open-source community support is central to the training course, as industry professionals can help to inspire students and young people to foster their skills and talent in coding languages and mainframe technology. These skills are immediately necessary to face the challenges of COVID-19, but will also add to the community for years to come.

The combination of the course material and supplementary support will empower young people to learn COBOL and understand the importance of coding skills. Youth can get information directly from COBOL experts with various backgrounds and experiences, and eventually utilize their own new skillset.