COBOL ? HELP! 
Author Message
 COBOL ? HELP!

I know nothing at all about COBOL but will be taking it as part of the
requirements for my A.S. in business programming next year. Can anybody
give me a little info on the language? I'm wondering if I will be
wasting my time learning this language.

These are my concerns:

Is it widely used or does it have "one foot in the grave"?
What kind of opportunities are available to me if I learn it?
Is there a compiler for use with a PC or is this strictly a mainframe
language?

I would have preferred to learn C and C++ but it is not part of my
curriculum :(
Up to this point I have only used BASIC and Visual Basic.

Anyhow, any info would be appreciated!

Thanks,
G. Beck



Mon, 07 Jun 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 COBOL ? HELP!

Quote:
> These are my concerns:

> Is it widely used or does it have "one foot in the grave"?

It is one of the most widely used BUSINESS programming languages.

Quote:
> What kind of opportunities are available to me if I learn it?

Various and sundry, but as with ANY language, people look for experience.

Quote:
> Is there a compiler for use with a PC or is this strictly a mainframe
> language?

I use it for PC and mainframe development.


Mon, 07 Jun 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 COBOL ? HELP!

Quote:

> I know nothing at all about COBOL but will be taking it as part of the
> requirements for my A.S. in business programming next year. Can anybody
> give me a little info on the language? I'm wondering if I will be
> wasting my time learning this language.

> These are my concerns:

> Is it widely used or does it have "one foot in the grave"?
> What kind of opportunities are available to me if I learn it?
> Is there a compiler for use with a PC or is this strictly a mainframe
> language?

> I would have preferred to learn C and C++ but it is not part of my
> curriculum :(
> Up to this point I have only used BASIC and VISUAL BASIC.

> Anyhow, any info would be appreciated!

> Thanks,
> G. Beck

There is no other language as big as COBOL and I doubt that it will even
have a little toe in the grave during the next 50 years...

If you waste your time? Well if you don't get good enough to do real
development I think thats the case - and also if you don't want to
learn it in the first place - very much!

There are a number of compilers for PC available and as COBOL is
a language and not a product like VB it also has a standard that
gives pretty good portability between platforms.

And as it seems at the moment there will be more job positions
than ever

Good Luck!

Jan Paimo



Mon, 07 Jun 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 COBOL ? HELP!

Quote:

> I know nothing at all about COBOL but will be taking it as part of the
> requirements for my A.S. in business programming next year. Can anybody
> give me a little info on the language?
> Thanks,
> G. Beck

COBOL is a "business language". I don't think that C/C++ can make that
claim. COBOL is the most widely used language in programming. If there
were a batter language for business applications, there would be no
COBOL. The market is very good for COBOL programmers through 2000. Once
the end-of-century problem is fixed, the market may slack off. There is
so much legacy code in COBOL that it will be around for a long, long
time. I heard it was dying when I started in 1979. Same comment for
Assembler. They are both still around because they are the best for
their applications. 80% of all t he code in the world is COBOL.

I work in a very large shop, 1500+ programmers. EWe tried C/C++ for
business applications. The "rocket scientists" could not meet any
deadlines for working code. So much for C/C++ in a business application.
It may be good for other stuff, but not for applications.

Flamers, before you start, please preface you comments with a
declaration of time spent programming C/C++ for business applications.



Mon, 07 Jun 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 COBOL ? HELP!

Quote:

>I know nothing at all about COBOL but will be taking it as part of the
>requirements for my A.S. in business programming next year. Can anybody
>give me a little info on the language? I'm wondering if I will be
>wasting my time learning this language.

It's only a waste of time if you see it as a waste of time
basically...that's the way it works with anything...as far as being
able to use it in the job market you will...

Quote:
>These are my concerns:
>Is it widely used or does it have "one foot in the grave"?

It's widely used enough.  Now you'll get the standard detractors COBOL
always has had since 1968 saying that it's a waste of time and COBOL's
gonna die and you should learn whatever are the current "fad
languages".  But they were wrong in 1968 and more than likely they're
wrong now..  And when I say "fad languages" I mean they'll die off..
in 1994 it was Visual Basic and C, now it's Java and Perl.   I'm sure
some of the same people flamed the COBOL area talking both of these
languages...hopefully you all realize that COBOL's still here.

Quote:
>What kind of opportunities are available to me if I learn it?

Many....a great many....keep seeing companies with a tremendously VAST
SHORTAGE of COBOL programmers...and the pay keeps increasing...just
got a job post in e-mail for $50K a year positions...

Quote:
>Is there a compiler for use with a PC or is this strictly a mainframe
>language?

Yeah...just about any environment...there's a compiler...generally for
production use, it's a mainframe language, but that's beginning to go
towards the PC.  Look up MF COBOL...or even go to
http://www.adtools.com for a free offer on Fujitsu COBOL...both PC
compilers.

Quote:
>I would have preferred to learn C and C++ but it is not part of my
>curriculum :(
>Up to this point I have only used BASIC and VISUAL BASIC.

If you really want to learn C, why not go buy a book and download one
of the free PD C compilers out on the net and start learning...besides
having that language on your resume (that obviously isn't taught at
your school), and you being able to prove your ability there would be
a great thing to have...it shows you have initiative and the ability
to learn if need be...that's the best asset really you could
have....because there's too many languages in use by too many
companies to really be able to be competent in every last one.


Tue, 08 Jun 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 COBOL ? HELP!

Quote:

> I know nothing at all about COBOL but will be taking it as part of the
> requirements for my A.S. in business programming next year. Can anybody
> give me a little info on the language? I'm wondering if I will be
> wasting my time learning this language.

I think you will be wasting your time if you don't want to be a COBOL
programmer.
I think it is better to learn the "principles of programming languages".
Therefor is Pascal (or its successor: Modula-2) the language of choice.
Once you know Pascal, you can easily recognize features that are also
available in other languages (variables, statements, loops, procedures,
...).  All these things are well implemented, because Pascal (unlike
COBOL or C) was meant to learn (structured or modular) programming.

There are a lot of good books to learn Pascal.

A very good book about programming languages in general is:
Princples of Programming Languages, by Bruce MacLennan.
It does NOT cover COBOL or C, but it uses other languages (Pascal, Lisp,
Prolog, Smalltalk, fortran, ...) to illustrate programming language
concepts.

Quote:
> Is it widely used or does it have "one foot in the grave"?

I agree that COBOL is a widely used language, and has its interest in
the history of computer languages, but certainly not for its design:
it's a useful language, but it is not a "clean" language.

Some people think it has "one foot in the grave", because it's not a hip
language and some concepts are, comparing to today standards, completely
out-of-date (e.g. not free format, it has a global data division, ...).

Be also aware, that there is no "best" language.  It all depends what
you want to do with it.
In my opinion, Pascal is a better language to start with than COBOL.

Hope this helps,


Belgium



Tue, 08 Jun 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 COBOL ? HELP!

Quote:

>There are a lot of good books to learn Pascal.

Or things on the net:  Might I suggest my own at
http://www.geocities.com/Paris/3537

Quote:
>Be also aware, that there is no "best" language.  It all depends what
>you want to do with it.
>In my opinion, Pascal is a better language to start with than COBOL.

Mine too honestly.  I know going into COBOL, I had a definite
advantage in learning things because I already knew the basic concepts
of good theory and design.  The major advantage of Pascal over COBOL
in being the first language learned is that the constructs are a lot
more obvious to the observer in Pascal than they are in COBOL.  You
learn and see what's going on and perferably are able to learn a
little algorithm construction.

My experience with COBOL (yeah I want to program in it for a career),
is that a lot of stuff that's taken for granted with respect to
constructs in other languages such as Pascal you have to code for
COBOL.  The experience there learning the schemes of how things work
in a language where you don't have to worry about such things is good
to have coming into COBOL later on.



Wed, 09 Jun 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 COBOL ? HELP!

The funny thing about learning languages is that when you learn one you
can learn another.  I'm a COBOL consultant.  I have travelled from various
states, and so forth doing IMS DB/DC, DB2, CICS, and so forth with COBOL
and now doiing Oracle on a UNIX system with COBOL, so it cerntainly is not
dead.  I'm doing new development.  And frankly C/C++, VB, does not rate as
hgh as COBOL.  Think about availablity.



Sat, 12 Jun 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 
 [ 8 post ] 

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