Like all career choices, the approach of learning COBOL as a means of future employment should be thoroughly analyzed first by researching the companies in your physical location, the industries you would like to work in, the types of applications being maintained, and the likelihood that maintenance of the software will not be outsourced to a far off land. That said, with the right conditions, COBOL can still be a great entry-point into IT.
Another advantage of entering IT as a COBOL programmer is the potential ability to use it as a stepping stone to other IT related jobs. For example, as a COBOL maintenance programmer you will most likely be making programming changes based on direct needs and changes related to business initiatives. As a result, you may be given the opportunity to learn a tremendous amount about the business area you are supporting. This combined business and technical knowledge perfectly positions you for a future job as a Business Analyst. Also, should in time, the software maintenance be moved to another location, your business/system knowledge perfectly positions you to be the pivot point between the business, internal IT, and the outsourcing vendor. Lastly, as the baby boomers continue to retire, you may have the opportunity to be promoted more quickly because those above you are continually exiting the organization.
If you have any questions about your career in IT, please email me at
eric@ManagerMechanics.com or find me on Twitter at @EricPBloom.
Until next time, work hard, work smart, and continue to grow.
Read more of Eric Bloom's Your IT Career blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Eric on Twitter at @EricPBloom. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.