Cobol has been declared dead numerous times over the last decade but is still alive and kicking. Something that cannot be said about the Cobol workforce. Every day, about 10.000 baby boomers are retiring including quite some Cobol programmers. A recent survey conducted on behalf of IBM shows that retirement is the biggest worry in the mainframe world. It is estimated that nearly 20 percent of the programmers is expected to retire within 5 years from now.
Companies still depending on mainframe or legacy systems are concerned about their business continuity and are seeking for ways to outsource their mainframe maintenance. Technology outsourcing firms like Ensono have started to recruit graduate students and outsource them to their mainframe customers after a couple of months of Cobol training.
Question is, can these young programmers replace the wealth of knowledge that the ‘seasoned’ Cobol workforce has? Are they able to correctly interpret the often undocumented treasure of business logic that is build in these legacy systems?
Will they be ‘up and running’ fast enough to fill the hole that the retirement wave leaves? Oursourcing companies benefit of the Cobol resource scarcity. Rates and salaries for mainframe programmers and administrators are some of the highest in the IT industry. Starting salaries for college graduates are ranging from $50.000 to $75.000 a year. In combination with the already high mainframe MIPS cost this cranks up the TCO of legacy systems even more.
Honour the past and embrace the future
Instead of teaching the next generation to work with the old generation’s legacy, wouldn’t it be better to transform the good old stuff to the new world? By taking the valuable knowledge and business logic that resides in legacy systems and transforming that to a modern .NET based environment you will have the best of both worlds.
A fully automated like for like migration will do just that. You will even have the choice whether to continue programming in Cobol or switch to C#/VB.NET. This way you continue to capitalize on your current Cobol knowledge while opening the door for new technology at the same time. Click here for more information.