Shamed out of my Blackberry, but what about COBOL?

My co-workers have been lovingly teasing me for months (or has it been a year?) about my continued use of a Blackberry. But this phone does what I need to do: make/receive phone calls and read/send emails. I tell them I don’t care; at least I didn’t until the other day.

Compuware shares a beautiful downtown Detroit building with Quicken Loans. I don’t know what the average age of a Compuware employee is versus that of a Quicken employee, but I know that it’s lower, much lower. So, I’m on the elevator – where we share the most time together – with a trendy looking hipster. I whip out my phone. And I feel his eyes staring and I know, I just know, that he is thinking, “OMG, that phone!” I felt like the middle-aged mom drinking a Starbucks in a Samsung commercial. Not typically how I like to see myself.

I wonder if COBOL programmers ever feel the same way. I hope not. While Blackberry is clearly fading, COBOL is not. In a recent report, a top analyst firm reports that COBOL has deep roots among most host-based system deployments. And in even the new distributed environment, they say COBOL applications on the Mainframe continue to perform the backbone processing work critical to the business.

Furthering support for the “COBOL is cool” mantra, IT consultant, Joe McKendrick recently questioned the merits of replacing mainframe systems in his blog, “Retiring Your Mainframe? You May Want to Reconsider.”

So here we come ‘round again to the story of the retiring baby-boomers and IT needing to figure out how to hire and train new developers to maintain these mostly COBOL-based systems. Those in the trenches know the scary facts about who will be retiring when and what the impact will be. But I fear too many executives are under the impression that solving this problem will be as easy as turning off their Blackberry and buying an iPhone.

About Mitzi Hunter

Mitzi Hunter joined Compuware in May 1984 and currently runs the Mainframe marketing organization. Her years of experience in the IT industry span technical support, product development, training, technical writing, and marketing for Compuware’s distributed and mainframe solutions. Mitzi has a Bachelor of Arts in Computational Mathematics from Albion College.

 
Connect with Mitzi on Twitter, @mitzihunter, or LinkedIn @ www.linkedin.com/in/mitzihunter