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Tracking mentions began in Dec 2020.
Ask HN: How do I learn (real life) COBOL?
6 projects | news.ycombinator.com | 28 Jun 2022
A great learning resource for COBOL is the Open Mainframe Project's COBOL Programming Course. The content is self-paced with labs and the best part is you get to do the labs on a real Mainframe.6 projects | news.ycombinator.com | 28 Jun 2022
IBM offers a free set of courses here: https://ibmzxplore.influitive.com. I played around with it a few months ago. As far as I know it's still available.
It doesn't cover COBOL in great depth but does touch on various pieces of the zOS ecosystem and gives you some access to a real mainframe.
There's also this COBOL course: https://github.com/openmainframeproject/cobol-programming-co...
I haven't tried the later and I'm not entirely clear on how you get access to a mainframe environment for it.
COBOL Programming Course
3 projects | news.ycombinator.com | 1 May 2022
Ask HN: What Niche Language to Learn?
2 projects | news.ycombinator.com | 16 Nov 2021
It's certainly not as straighforward as learning a more popular language and environment, but there are online resources if you look for them. A quick search yielded https://github.com/openmainframeproject/cobol-programming-co...
There appears to be an active community around it, and I'm sure getting help in an apprenticeship sort of way is possible. Again, we're talking about a niche language, so you can't expect the same level of accessibility as NodeJS or Go.
As for finding jobs, they're probably few and far between, but appear to be well paid from what I've heard. Places that need COBOL programmers will announce it, opportunities will likely come up from other contacts in the community, and cold contacting companies you know are using it is always an option.
Why COBOL Isn't the Problem
2 projects | news.ycombinator.com | 17 Mar 2021
The article gets it: the problem isn't COBOL, the problem is lack of maintenance. The analogy is apt, too: if you never put oil in a car & it fails, the problem is not how the car the built.
There are materials for learning COBOL. Here are some materials from the Linux Foundation's Open Mainframe project:
And when there was a call last year for COBOL programmers to help some of these aging systems, a lot of people immediately popped up: https://www.techrepublic.com/article/ibm-linux-foundation-se...
While COBOL has its quirks, it's not that hard to learn. It even has some advantages, for example, it has built-in support for fixed-point decimal arithmetic.
In general, COBOL is the scapegoat, not the actual problem.
What are some alternatives?
ANTLR - ANTLR (ANother Tool for Language Recognition) is a powerful parser generator for reading, processing, executing, or translating structured text or binary files.
Covfefe - A parser for nondeterministic context free languages
TicTacTOBOL - A basic "game" in COBOL for learning