The coronavirus crisis has sparked all manner of unexpected consequences, including the Tokyo summer Olympics being postponed and auto insurers reaping extra profits as people stay home. In New Jersey, its resulted in something that few people outside that states tech department would have foreseen: a dire need for COBOL coders.
Standing for Common Business-Oriented Language, COBOLs day came and went long ago. It initially made a splash by giving coders a programming language that could work across the proprietary computers of multiple manufacturers. That was in the early 1960s. After becoming a staple of mainframes, it eventually came to represent dusty legacy code, including during the Y2K crisis 20 years ago.
In New Jersey, experts are now needed to fix COBOL-based unemployment insurance systemsmore than four decades oldthat are overwhelmed due to pandemic-related job losses. At a press conference yesterday, governor Phil Murphy asked for the help of volunteer coders who still knew how to work in COBOL.
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