When was the last time you learned something new about COBOL?
Yesterday? Last week? A year? Ten years ago?
A fair question that I believe every single developer should seriously consider. I'm betting that the average COBOL developer hasn't spent much time learning "new" things about the language they have made their living supporting or writing. However, you ask someone who is writing C#, Java or VB.Net applications and they will probably point to the three or four books on their desk which they refer to on a fairly regular basis.
Why is this?
Any professional in IT will tell you that the one thing that stays the same is the fact that technology continues to change. And that to stay current or marketable in their role, they have to constantly expand their knowledgebase.
So, why is it that the typical COBOL developer seems to stick with the version of COBOL they learned in college?
I would like to issue a challenge to you.
I challenge you to learn COBOL, specifically object oriented COBOL and or COBOL.Net.
I can count on both hands the number of people I personally know who are proficient with this single most significant exstension to the language. Ever since Grace found her first bug people have been making COBOL dance. My question to you...
Learned any new steps lately?
You've seen the code sample Alex posted showing how to solve the 99 Bottles of Beer programming puzzle. Pretty slick stuff huh? Even remotely curious? Could it be time to revisit COBOL and expand your knowledge?
Here is a very straight forward online tutorial on the subject to get you started.
Additionally, Rick Malek has been an avid poster of articles for years out on C# Corner which are intended for the C# developer to understand COBOL.Net. Take a look at his examples for an introduction into some of the things you can do with COBOL and .Net above and beyond what you probably know today.
"Ah, but Robert, there are only a handful of books on the subject...". Yep. I noticed that as well.
Hmmm... I wonder how those other books got written? Think they just copied what someone else wrote? Nah, they dug into the subject material, made themselves experts, and then decided to put their knowledge down on paper. Seems to me with the sheer number of COBOL developers out there, there could be a decent market for a new book or two. Any aspiring authors out there?
Ok. The challenge has been issued. *grin*