What other non-computer career changes can I go into since Cobol basically is dead?

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Rich in Boston, Massachusetts

73 months ago

Rich in Boston, Massachusetts said: What career changes other than computer programming have other Cobol developers went into since Cobol been basically dead since the year 2000?

I am now 55 years old divorced male. I have been an IBM Mainframe Cobol programmer with around 22 years experience. However, since the year 2000, I have been struggling to keep my career alive. Since 2000 and up to the current year now 2008, I would get Cobol jobs here and there. Also between the years 2000-2008, I would go through long stages of being unemployed. There really isn't hardly any Cobol jobs around anymore. When there is a Cobol job, it always is located in an either a rural or undesirable city or state which I would have no interest to relocate to.

I updated my computer skills 8 years ago to keep my computer programming career alive since Cobol is dead. I learned Javascript, ASP, HTML and Microsoft Visual Basic. But even though I updated my skills, not one company wanted to even interview only because I don't have "working experience with these upgraded skills".
Anyways, now I would like to hear back from people who have been in similiar situations and what they did about it?

I am thinking that my best bet is to get into some other kind of career which has nothing to do with computers. Maybe owning some kind of business would be a good idea. I don't think it is a good idea to good back to school and learn a different career because once I graduate, will I get a chance to get a job with my new career or will it be a big waste of time and money and never get a chance.

So, if anybody who is in my situation has any advice for me, I would appreciate hearing from.

Thanks.

Gee, I guess no one wants to reply to my message. Thanks for not giving me any help!

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John in New Carlisle, Ohio

72 months ago

Rich in Boston,

I think the reason you aren't getting any feedback or responses is because mainframe Cobol developers are all in the same boat and don't really have any advice for you.

I'm sixty and was thinking about going back to school to upgrade my technical skills. After reading your profile, I need to rethink my strategy.

Sorry I can't help you....

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Dave in Louisville, Kentucky

72 months ago

I started my COBOL career the year you claim yours went away. I haven't had a single day of unemployment since I became a COBOL programmer in Aug 1999. I get job offers constantly ( approx 1 a week). This whole "COBOL is dead/dying" is a falsehood...they've been saying that since the late 80's...I'm not sure what cities you are against, but my company currently has 15-20 COBOL programmers working in Boston, in fact we are opening a Boston office for our company due to all the opportunities there. We have approx 500 COBOL programmers that we staff throughout the country..in places tend to like to live..Boston, Chicago, New York, Atlanta, San Diego... I think you just need to change your attitude and put a little effort into looking for work.

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Rich in Waltham, Massachusetts

72 months ago

Dave in Louisville, Kentucky said: I started my COBOL career the year you claim yours went away. I haven't had a single day of unemployment since I became a COBOL programmer in Aug 1999. I get job offers constantly ( approx 1 a week). This whole "COBOL is dead/dying" is a falsehood...they've been saying that since the late 80's...I'm not sure what cities you are against, but my company currently has 15-20 COBOL programmers working in Boston, in fact we are opening a Boston office for our company due to all the opportunities there. We have approx 500 COBOL programmers that we staff throughout the country..in places tend to like to live..Boston, Chicago, New York, Atlanta, San Diego... I think you just need to change your attitude and put a little effort into looking for work.

Dave, I don't know where your coming from. But your wrong. Cobol is dead. Your insulting too. I don't have an attitude problem. But I am not here to argue with you, but just to tell you the facts! Probably you haven't woke up and realized that this is the year 2008 not 1978. Cobol was hot back in the year 1978 or so through the year 2000. Then after the year 2000 and up until now, Cobol is basically dead. Since the year 2000, replacing Cobol are such hot skills as Java, C++, .Net, Oracle, Linux and so on and so on.
Out of curiosity, I wanted to see how many Cobol programming jobs are in the entire country. So recently, I went into the Monster Board and ran a search. I searched for the word "Cobol" and it brought back only 995 Cobol jobs in the entire country. Then next, I ran a search with the word "Java" and the search came back with 10,000 plus Java jobs in the entire country. So, see there are much much more jobs for Java than there is for Cobol. Also, everytime I speak to recruiters they tell me that they hardly ever get a job request for a Cobol programmer. Think what you want to think but I agree when most Cobol programmers say that Cobol is dead.

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Steve in Mission Viejo, California

72 months ago

Rich in Boston, Massachusetts said: Gee, I guess no one wants to reply to my message. Thanks for not giving me any help!

I'm in the same boat, but 5 years behind you in age. I hate to say it, India has pretty much all the COBOL jobs. I even did the same thing you did, take a JAVA class and have discovered the exact same. Too many years in the development arena with no new language experience, just "out of school training"

I am now trying something different. I have over 25 years in as a system engeneer. Here are all ythe languages I know. As you can see I am extremely diveres and I am able to perform functions on many different platforms.

Face it, I have watched India come in with no experience and take a job away from an American using the same phrase.

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Rich in Boston, Massachusetts

71 months ago

Steve in Mission Viejo, California said: I'm in the same boat, but 5 years behind you in age. I hate to say it, India has pretty much all the COBOL jobs. I even did the same thing you did, take a JAVA class and have discovered the exact same. Too many years in the development arena with no new language experience, just "out of school training"

I am now trying something different. I have over 25 years in as a system engeneer. Here are all ythe languages I know. As you can see I am extremely diveres and I am able to perform functions on many different platforms.

Face it, I have watched India come in with no experience and take a job away from an American using the same phrase.

Hi Steve,

Your absolutely correct in everthing you say here. I agree with you. Most of the computer jobs in America out there have been given to foreigners instead to Americans. Also we all know that many computer jobs are sent out overseas too. It just isn't fair. Because of this, alot of Americans can't get a job. The combination of these two; (1)the hiring of foreigners as well as (2)no company giving me a chance with the new skills I learned because I have no working experience with them, has put a nail in my coffin and my glorious career as a computer programmer for the past 22 years is over.
I now am looking into trying to run and own a business. I am looking into being my own bossbut it certainly won't be with computers. Those days are over for me. On to a new chapter in my life.

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Peter in London, United Kingdom

70 months ago

COBOL is dead in London see my thoughts at

www.computerweekly.com/blogs/it-networks-and-communications-blog/2008/04/cobol-programmers-back-in-dema.html

Can only see two jobs posted here just as an example:

www.reed.co.uk/job/searchresults.aspx?k=cobol&jto=false&s=&l=london&lp=&ms=From&mxs=To&st=5&ns=true&da=168

Do your own research before you take a course which includes COBOL in its modules. The internet is full of biased views.

Just do a job search ad really see if COBOL is in demand - pretend you have a few years of COBOL experience and see if there are any jobs.

Simply put COBOL is dead from the viewpoint of a career. Learn the skills that are going to get you your first job in development as COBOL did for those folks years ago.

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Peter in London, United Kingdom

70 months ago

Do your own research before you take a course which includes COBOL in its modules. The internet is full of biased views.

Just do a job search ad really see if COBOL is in demand - pretend you have a few years of COBOL experience and see if there are any jobs.

Simply put COBOL is dead from the viewpoint of a career. Learn the skills that are going to get you your first job in development as COBOL did for those folks years ago.

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andrew in Hoddesdon, United Kingdom

70 months ago

Is anyone interested in development jobs for a software house using graphical COBOL on Windows ? Based not far from London. I used to work for a COBOL company and hear of positions that come up every now and again.

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balyan in San Ramon, California

67 months ago

Rich in Boston, Massachusetts said: Gee, I guess no one wants to reply to my message. Thanks for not giving me any help!

Hi, I am in the same boat with 17 yrs of experience; I had a job in Southern CA working for a healthcare company for 6 yrs; I got married and moved to bay area (where my husband's job and home is and I agreed to move because I needed a change); I got 3 contract jobs since my move; each for 6 to 8 months at various companies (mostly healthcare) and I took time off to be a mother (18 months plus the present time); I didn't upgrade my skills because I knew they wouldn't hire me without the experience in new skills (I was interested in Oracle). I can't take boot camp classes at their location because it's 8 to 5 and I have a 3 year old child attending preschool half days x 3 days a week costing $650 a month;

I thought about going for a degree in another field like education or ECE or marketing but like you, I don't want to spend money or waste money at this time due to economy; I am just taking classes in ECE as well as cake decorating (new interest);

As for you, I recommend you apply for business analyst or QA jobs since programmers have skills in this area as well; or go for your masters so you can teach in college; If you have Bachelors in IT, take the CBEST test and pass it and start teaching in low income areas to get experience; I was willing to start as entry level Oracle programmer. Another thing you can do is IT recruiting. You can open your own business to teach computers to kids like Computer Explorers. You can also volunteer some of your time to gain experience in a new field.

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Dan in Dublin, California

65 months ago

Balyan; there are plenty of Mainframe jobs in Pleasanton (healthcare). There are also 2,000 jobs nation wide. Any one thinks that COBOL is dead is wrong.
Oracle, Peoplesoft, informx, even SAP use some form of COBOl. But not Mainframe Cobol, but, Micro Focus Cobol. I have over 35 years in this field and I can't find work because of my age, 68. I upgraded my skill sets, HTML, Javascript, ASP and Ms/Access, SQL/7 and so on. Didn't help.

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Anne in Toronto, Ontario

65 months ago

Ah, another mom in the same boat as me! I'm 40 and have been unemployed for 2 1/2 yrs and can't find a thing. For my 10+ yr career as a COBOL programmer I also did QA but no one will hire me in QA because QA Analyst wasn't my title (even though I trained the QA people who took over that role just before I left). I have new skills but no job experience so I can't get hired for those. My COBOL/DB2/IMS skills aren't in demand due to outsourcing to India. Hiring freezes have been in place at my old company since 2006. The few jobs that are posted for mainframe COBOL/IMS/DB2 have tonnes of applicants and are usually as a team lead but i don't have experience. There are just some skills that are no longer in demand and not transferrable. Oh, and did I mention the expected 60 hr work week for the few jobs that there are? If you are the primary care giver for a young child you'll know that's completely unrealistic. Long term employees sometimes work around this by logging on at home after their child is asleep, but you won't be hired as a new employee with this deal.

Unfortunately that's the case for many jobs now. If there are openings it's at a senior level; there are few entry level positions. I also can't get a job with my teaching degree. So I've created my own job as a web designer for small businesses. Unfortunately some of my clients are now out of business or on the verge of it. I supplement my income with babysitting in the meantime. I'm considering a third source of employment as well -- perhaps housecleaning if there is any demand left.

So far I've managed to keep everyone fed and clothed, however, so why worry? Just take it as it comes. . .

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Darrell J in New Albany, Indiana

65 months ago

Dave in Louisville, Kentucky said: I started my COBOL career the year you claim yours went away. I haven't had a single day of unemployment since I became a COBOL programmer in Aug 1999. I get job offers constantly ( approx 1 a week). This whole "COBOL is dead/dying" is a falsehood...they've been saying that since the late 80's...I'm not sure what cities you are against, but my company currently has 15-20 COBOL programmers working in Boston, in fact we are opening a Boston office for our company due to all the opportunities there. We have approx 500 COBOL programmers that we staff throughout the country..in places tend to like to live..Boston, Chicago, New York, Atlanta, San Diego... I think you just need to change your attitude and put a little effort into looking for work.

Hey Dave,
I'm your neighbor on the other side of the Ohio River and I'm wondering if your company is hiring any COBOL progammers now? I'm the same age as Rich (55) and have over 30 yrs COBOL and MicroFocus COBOL & UNIX but out of work for the last nine months. I worked in J'town Industrial park for 28.5 years, so if you read this let me know if you have any leads in the Louisville area. Please feel free to email me darrellj2323@yahoo.com if you prefer. Thanks!

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Russ

65 months ago

Darrell J in New Albany, Indiana said: Hey Dave,
I'm your neighbor on the other side of the Ohio River and I'm wondering if your company is hiring any COBOL progammers now? I'm the same age as Rich (55) and have over 30 yrs COBOL and MicroFocus COBOL & UNIX but out of work for the last nine months. I worked in J'town Industrial park for 28.5 years, so if you read this let me know if you have any leads in the Louisville area. Please feel free to email me darrellj2323@yahoo.com if you prefer. Thanks!

I'm 51 and been mainframe programming 25+ years. The problem with software developers these days is that you have to compete with people All over the world. As long as someone can connect to a mainframe(from overseas), well, that means why should a company hire you, when they can get the same effort from a person who lives and works in another country and pay them a very small fraction of what they would pay an American?

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Dan in Dublin, California

65 months ago

Russ;
Some comp's have caught on, some are smarter than others. Ask BofA, they outsourced their req's to Inda, (TATA) the cost of development was below US standard costs, but the maint. was very very high. Another thing about outsourcing to foreign countries is that they use identifiers (data names, file names etc.) in their own language, that's what makes so diffcult to debug.

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patrick in Eau Claire, Wisconsin

65 months ago

Rich in Waltham, Massachusetts said: Dave, I don't know where your coming from. But your wrong. Cobol is dead. Your insulting too. I don't have an attitude problem. But I am not here to argue with you, but just to tell you the facts! Probably you haven't woke up and realized that this is the year 2008 not 1978. Cobol was hot back in the year 1978 or so through the year 2000. Then after the year 2000 and up until now, Cobol is basically dead. Since the year 2000, replacing Cobol are such hot skills as Java, C++, .Net, Oracle, Linux and so on and so on.
Out of curiosity, I wanted to see how many Cobol programming jobs are in the entire country. So recently, I went into the Monster Board and ran a search. I searched for the word "Cobol" and it brought back only 995 Cobol jobs in the entire country. Then next, I ran a search with the word "Java" and the search came back with 10,000 plus Java jobs in the entire country. So, see there are much much more jobs for Java than there is for Cobol. Also, everytime I speak to recruiters they tell me that they hardly ever get a job request for a Cobol programmer. Think what you want to think but I agree when most Cobol programmers say that Cobol is dead.

COBOL is not dead, as if you will contact microfocus, or ACUCORP,INC., you will receive their newest versions of cobol that can do anythings that java, or visual basic can, including icons, colors, or menues screens, along with processings of various file structures, in cobol. Also, How come all of the mainframe systems are still using cobol??. I have over Thirty Years of various cobols, including Main Frames, Minis, and PC computer systems, and was using Acucobol-gt systems, that can perform with all of the mondern days computer systems, including windows, and features, OK.

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Rich in Boston, Massachusetts

65 months ago

Your still wrong. If Cobol is not dead then why is it when you look at every job site there just isn't any Cobol jobs listed? There is hardly any Cobol jobs or none at all. All I ever see now are jobs for Java, .Net, Oracle, C++, HTML and so on and so on. Also whenever I speak to other computer professionals they all agree with me that Cobol is not in demand anymore. Think what you want to think. If you believe there are a ton of jobs in Cobol then that is your belief.

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andrew in Hoddesdon, United Kingdom

65 months ago

COBOL is not dead, its just that very few new systems are being written in COBOL because newer languages are perceived (rightly or wrongly) as more productive, flexible and offering more modern facilities.
A Java or VB.NET programmer is also cheaper to recruit because there are a surfeit of them on the market and they tend to be younger with lower salary aspirations.

However, there are a huge number of existing COBOL systems in use throught the world (most Fortune 100 companies I would speculate) either on IBM Mainframe or rehosted to Open Systems using Micro Focus. In the current econmic climate, I suspect business will do whatever they can to renew those legacy assets and drain every last drop of value from them rather than replace or rewrite (higher risk, higher cost).

The COBOL workforce tends to be older and maybe less career mobile so these jobs dont come up all that often, but when they do they can pay reasonably well.

If I was an out of work COBOL programmer I would target IBM sites or Micro Focus customers to find out who was running projects and needed skills. Often these companies are happy to find a fully qualified COBOL programmer as when they go out to the market all the recruiters just put Java programmer their way because that is what they have most of !

Would I learn COBOL if I was just starting out today ? Probably not. But both IBM and Micro Focus have built a nice business from it so the demand is still there and there is no need to thrown in towel in IMO.

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Rich in Boston, Massachusetts

65 months ago

Think what you want to think. If you think Cobol is not dead, then good. You think that way.

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Rich in Boston, Massachusetts

65 months ago

Think what you want to think, okay? By your thinking Cobol is not dead.

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andrew in London, United Kingdom

65 months ago

I am not sure that adds a whole lot to the discussion.

I suppose it depends to certain extent how you are defining 'dead'. You may perceive the language as dead if you are struggling to find employment from it, but the fact is there are still a huge number of COBOL applications out there, in use, and being actively developed / modernised with modern COBOL toolsets (MF, .NET COBOL, ACU and now also VeryAnt and COBOL-IT with an open source compiler)

I would agree that the use of COBOL for designing new systems has declined. But that is not the same thing as an entire language being dead.

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Darrell J in New Albany, Indiana

65 months ago

I worked as a cobol programmer for 28.5 yrs for a manufacturing company in Louisville, KY, before being "forced" to retire last year. We still had over 2k legacy cobol programs that we ran on a UNIX platform using Microfocus cobol. We couldn't afford to even begin to convert the programs now. Instead, we only replaced if we had to replace an application and it made dollars & cents to replace it. In fact, we still had a limited amount of development going on there in cobol, and probably have a couple hundred more or so since the Y2k conversion. However, there are basically no cobol jobs available at the present time here. But I think that is to a large extent due to the economic downturn. Staffs are being trimmed and it's hard to say for sure how India is affecting the market here. No one wants to spend money to re-invent the wheel, particularly during these times. I think cobol probaby goes away when it becomes clearly cheaper to do so, in other words, mostly out of economic necessity. These other cobol toolsets will help delay that change. I don't think there's a doubt that cobol is in decline, and it probably should be, but I agree it's NOT the same thing as an entire language being dead. I just wish Dave that posted a few months back from here in Louisville would email me his company name so I can apply for a COBOL job there!!!

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Fred P in Vallejo, California

64 months ago

I was told many years ago COBOL would be totally obsolete and everyone would be going to PCs but that did not happen. Large companies, most notably banks still have their mainframes. Security and speed of processing are the main reasons. And well written COBOL is a lot easier to maintain.

I did check with a company I was with previously, they now outsource a lot of their coding. We used to be Programmer/Analysts who would work with the Business Analyst on the specs and make sure we gave them exactly what they wanted, not what they asked for. Now with the coding being overseas they need to have their specs perfect. A previous post referred to this about the higher cost of maintenance when outsourcing the coding. The companies still outsource though due to the lower up front cost but they may start realizing it is not necessarily better code and a better value for their money.

I just found this site and there seems to be a lot of people like me. 19 years at one company, 11 at another and downsized in January. After enjoying a few months off I am now looking for contract work. Working 6-8 months and then a few months off sounds inviting. I just put in COBOL and my zip code on this site and was surprised to see so many positions out there. Time to start looking.

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Michigan_Unemployed in Grand Rapids, Michigan

64 months ago

I have 30 years of COBOL, and now that I am unemployed, I can't find any type of job either. Trying to search for COBOL is like trying to find the Holy Grail. I was thinking of going back to school for the newer languages ".Net", but then I ask myself why? Having 30 years of business experience and still no job, trying to restart my career with no experience in a new language, who is going to hire you? So Rich, did you ever find a job?

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Rich in Boston, Massachusetts

64 months ago

To Michigan_Unemployed

Hi. I went back to school in 2000 to upgrade my computer programmer skills because I knew COBOL was on its way out.

Well for me going back to school didn’t pay off. I wasted all that money to upgrade my computer skills for nothing. Nobody ever wanted to give me a chance because I have no “working experiences” with the new computer skills. Plus having the computer jobs always outsourced to different countries hasn’t helped me either. So from 2000 up until this current year it has been a big struggle for me to keep my career alive. When I say it has been a struggle for me, it really has. Because I never got the chance to work with the newer computer skills, the only jobs I would get would still be COBOL jobs.

Your right when you say finding a COBOL job is like finding the Holy Grail. Also, I agree with you when you say having 30 years of business experience and still no job, and no experience in a new language who is going to hire you. I am going through the same thing.

As far as COBOL goes, there aren’t many COBOL programming jobs around. Usually I noticed that when I find a COBOL job somewhere, it usually is located way out somewhere in the Boone docks far from civilization. Aren’t there any COBOL jobs anymore in a major city like NY, Boston, Chicago, Atlanta? I really don’t want to be forced to take a COBOL job way out beyond in no man’s land. I am not anxious to relocate to no man’s land for a COBOL job because I am divorced and would be entirely alone. So for me, I would rather relocate to an area of the country where I could have a COBOL job and a normal dating life and a chance to make friends. But like I was saying, the last of the COBOL jobs that are around are in desolate places. I guess these desolate places wouldn’t be bad to relocate if you have someone to go with you. But since I am alone, I really would be alone moving to a no man’s land where I would only have a job and no other life.

I feel for you and I

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Rich in Boston, Massachusetts

64 months ago

I feel for you and I know what your going through. I don’t know what advice to tell you. But I know for me school didn’t work out. I am in the same boat as you. Well, for me right now I am unemployed. I have been out of work now for 15 months. My last job that I had would have been my best chance to finally do something else other than COBOL. I actually got hired to become an ORACLE developer. You see, from my IBM Mainframe working experiences besides the COBOL, I also got a lot of working experiences with IBM DB2 over the years. So, in my last job which was 15 months ago, I got very lucky. I got hired on this job to work with ORACLE only because I have an IBM DB2 background. The company who hired me figured if I can do DB2 then I certainly can do ORACLE since they are similar and they both are SQL. So I got this job. It supposed to be a 4 year project (contract). Well, I had bad luck happen. It just so happened going onto 3 months on this project, the company decided to do away with this project. So when this happened, they layed off everyone including me who was on this project. When this happened to me I only got 3 months working experience as an ORACLE developer. And I am sure you know 3 months working experience as an ORACLE developer will not be enough experience to get another job as an Oracle developer.
So here I am unemployed. I don’t know what I am going to do? And I don’t know what I can tell you to help you out? I am 56 years old. I really don’t feel like going back to school again at my age to learn a brand new career when there is no guarantee I would get a job when I graduate school. I thought of trying to start my own business in something but with the way the economy is, I don’t think that is such a good idea. I really don’t want to land up with an $8.00 an hour job because I can’t live off of that pay.

I am sorry I wish I could give you good advice. But I am sorta in the same boat as you. I want to wish you all the good luck in the world

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Michigan_Unemployed in Grand Rapids, Michigan

64 months ago

This is a very depressing site. We have a bunch of unemployed COBOL people here. I agree with you Rich in that after making good money, $8.00 on hour just won't work. Seeing that Michigan has the highest unemployment in the country, I don't have much hope of finding anything here. What are older workers expected to do? Everyone here says go into health care, but not everyone wants to work in health care. But I guess I am coming to a point where a job is a job. What a way to end your career!

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brambleton in Ashburn, Virginia

63 months ago

Tupperware lady, give it a break already. Did you notice this thread is for computer programmers--those who have spent years in school for this PARTICULAR type of work? Are you on a wild posting frenzy and not even looking at the title anymore?

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Darrell J in New Albany, Indiana

63 months ago

Yes, I agree!! She must not understand that she comes off as adding insult to injury. I have no beef against anyone selling Tupperware, but that has no place at all in this forum!!

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Leigh in Toronto, Ontario

63 months ago

I just assumed that was tongue-in-cheek. Maybe we'll have some Avon or Mary Kay pitches here soon.

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Darrell J in New Albany, Indiana

63 months ago

At least they could pitch sales for Pure Romance or something like that!!

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Mike in Lansing, Michigan

62 months ago

For those in Michigan, I'd recommend you send a resume over to Auto Owner's Insurance company. Their headquarters is in Lansing which is where all their programming is done. They still continue to hire cobol programmers year after year. They may not have shown up in a job search for you since they don't tend to advertise their open jobs. They typically rely on word of mouth or go to college campuses to recruit new programmers. I'm currently approaching my 2.5 year mark wih them (I found out about my current job via word of mouth from an old colleague who doesn't even work for them).

On a side note, I'd agree with what I've seen a few posters saying on this board. It's not that cobol is dead but that new development isn't as alive and kicking as it used to be. Places that currently use cobol will continue to use cobol. Also, one thing which tends to get overlooked, is that many of the cobol devs out there are from the baby boomer generation and are rather content to hold on to their jobs (instead of job hop) until they have to retire (since it won't be long). Because of that fact, the turnover rate for cobol developers at many companies is rather low which in turn means new cobol positions aren't going to start cropping up all over the place. However, in another 5 years or so, give or take, when the baby boomer generation starts to retire en masse, there will be vacancies that will need to be filled. And since colleges don't tend to teach cobol that much these days, people with existing cobol experience will be in high demand. This is part of the reason why my company still hires new graduates year after year because they know they are going to be in some trouble when the bulk of their older devs retire. Heck, I was hired with no cobol experience, they trained me on site if that tells you anything.

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Fiona in Edinburgh, United Kingdom

60 months ago

Would be interested to hear if anyone (Dave, this might be you) know of any opportunities for Cobol which may be visa sponsored? We've also heard that the cobol workforce is shrinking because the baby boomers are retiring.

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JimD in Catonsville, Maryland

59 months ago

After 30+ years of cobol, mostly with full time work that included benefits, health insurance, vacation and sick days (yeah, remember those things!), it's been all contract work since 2007, with a few months here and there, with time in between 'on the beach'. That's ok when there is unemployment insurance available, but that is not always the case. Well, for me, I am ready for low level of Social Security next year at 62, so you can bet, I'll be over and out of the wonderful world of Mainframe IT! With some basic SS money each month to live on, maybe a door greeter at WalMart wouldn't be such a bad thing! If employed keep job else get lost....end if!

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Jane in Philly

59 months ago

I've been unemployed for 4 months. I thought I'd have a Cobol job by now. I couldn't see taking courses for new skills because companies won't hire without 5 years experience. Even before I lost my job (knowing it was coming because my company bought a new system in a different language) I felt I didn't want to waste my life taking courses that wouldn't benefit me.

We also had India taking positions; from my experience the work was getting done at a crawl compared to the amount of work that got done in the home site by American Citizens(communication was difficult and they were entry level for the most part).

I thought that I'd be able to get a job since BabyBoomers were retiring. The only Cobol jobs I see are for contract work (2 months, 6 months). If I took that route, when it ends where would I be?

After reading all the comments on this message board I fear my fate. I'm lost for answers, too.

I'm thinking that, possible, a contract job may lead to a full time position. ?? I may have to go that route.

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Darrell J in New Albany, Indiana

59 months ago

Wish the news was better, Jane, but I am still unemployed after 14 months, and never thought I'd ever find myself in such a position! Hope to find something by Christmas when my unemployment runs out. I am not willing to relocate, but if you are, I think it is a little easier.

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Aiza in Maidenhead, United Kingdom

56 months ago

I've been unemployed for 9 months now. I'm only 38 and had 15 years of COBOL skills. 7 years of DB2 Administration skills also didn't help cos most of my job titles were COBOL programmer. My last employer was IBM. I am even more convinced that I'll never get another COBOL job anytime soon. This is really depressing. Maybe I should re-skill myself as a nurse or something like that. It's sad really.

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rnstudent in Bremen, Georgia

55 months ago

I have 10 yrs exp w/ COBOL. I do see some jobs available in Atlanta, but they seem to want specialized skills above and beyond just vanilla COBOL. You might want to check out Atlanta again.

I gave up on getting a computer job a while ago, and have gone back to school to become a registered nurse. Their skills do not ever become obsolete! And the job market is booming. But on the other hand the school enrollment is at the max, as well.

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kenj in Toronto, Ontario

55 months ago

Anyone out there looking for Cobol (Acucobol on CentOs actually) job in Ontario Canada ?

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RichardA in Revere, Massachusetts

55 months ago

Kenji, I would be interested to take a job in Ontario Canada. I have 21 years of Cobol working experience. I never worked with Acucobol on CentO but I am sure it would be similiar to Cobol.

Kenji, please tell me more about this job. I am interested.

Thank you,
Rich

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Peter in London, United Kingdom

54 months ago

Its Peter back from over a year ago

www.reed.co.uk/job/searchresults.aspx?k=cobol&jto=false&s=&l=london&lp=&ms=From&mxs=To&st=5&ns=true&da=168

Still only 2 jobs in COBOL in London!!!

COBOL is never gona come back.

Good thing I left it well behind me - but still care that people dont get fooled by misconceptions.

Good luck to those who are trying to get a job in COBOL but also I would recommend taking a less senior position and get your career back on track. You dont want to be in the position you are in now, again in the future.

Stay away from the dead!!!

Regards, Peter

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RichardA in Boston, Massachusetts

53 months ago

Hi everybody. I just want to comment again. However, this time I am not going to talk about the dying of Cobol. I want to talk about how bad recruiters are today. You know back in the 1970's thru 2000, recruiters would read resumes to see if you would fit a particular job that they would have. If you were a match for that job, the recruiters would send you the job description by email and ask you if you are interested in this job. That was the correct way of how a recruiter should help you find a job. Well, I don't know if anyone has noticed. I know I have. But since the year 2000, most recruiters only do buzzword searches on the resumes. They don't read your resumes anymore. Say for instance recruiters are looking for an Oracle person for a job that they have. So next the recruiter will do a Buzzword search on the word "Oracle'. So the recruiters find all the resumes in their database with the word "Oracle". Then next they send out the job description to everyone who had that word "Oracle" on their resume. This is a bad practice because just because each candidate has the word "Oracle" on their resume doesn't mean that they are qualified for that job description the recruiter sent them. You have no idea how many computer developer job descriptions I get from recruiters by email that I have to delete because I am not qualified for the job. It is very frustrating for me. I will tell you most recruiters today are just plain bad. They don't read resumes anymore. They do buzzword searches only. They don't know what they are doing. Plus I get a kick out of this, many recruiters are from foreign countries and don't even speak good English when you talk with them on the phone. If you going to be a recruiter, they should at least speak very good English. Don't you think? But I just wanted to let you guys know my thoughts about today's recruiters.

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Kramer in Phoenix, Arizona

53 months ago

I remember back in the 80's when my manager and myself would go to the user, ask what they wanted, design and code the application, CICS screens, DB2 tables, document, test, implement and support the application. Nowadays that is about 5 different jobs, 5 times as long, with less quality and support. This was all the doing of corporate management. Because the newer project managers were not technically able to produce the analysis, they had to create a new job called systems analyst, who designed specs to hand to the programmers. Then upper management decided to cut programmer costs by outsourcing jobs to India. The resulting high error rate led to a new job called QA tester. Layers of management followed, onshore managers to manage off shore resources, QA managers, technical managers, etc. and I.T. became an extremely wasteful bloated pig. If management had just stuck with capable project managers and programmers, then projects would be done in 1/5 the time and cost, with more quality and better support. I have worked at jobs where the coding, QA and support were done on different continents.
These groups often have a lack of communication and dislike for each other.
I'm still around though, scrounging what I can get, QA here, programmer there, support here, etc.

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SIA in Marietta, Georgia

53 months ago

kenj in Toronto, Ontario said: Anyone out there looking for Cobol (Acucobol on CentOs actually) job in Ontario Canada ?

Hi Kenji,
I have 18 years of Acucobol and also a Canadian citizen, please let me know if the job is still available.

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tm2vsa2@aim.com in Hudson, Massachusetts

52 months ago

Rich in Boston, Massachusetts said: Gee, I guess no one wants to reply to my message. Thanks for not giving me any help!

I am in pretty much the same boat seeing that my previous job of 30 years was on one certain software product...after being layed off I can't get past the 1st interview because I am not "PROFICIENT IN EXCEL AND WORDS". I have knowledge and experience but that doesn't seem to count for anything!!! Extremely frustrating! I too have been trying to come up with something that has little or nothing to do with computers. Would love some feed back on this problem!!!!

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tm2vsa2@aim.com in Hudson, Massachusetts

52 months ago

Fred in Vallejo, California said: I am also finding it hard to even get into a job interview for a contract position. I am 54 and was downsized in January 2009.

You asked what career changes you can do? I discovered a company called Primerica that helps people save money, get out of debt, protect their families and become financially independent. They bend over backwards to help you succeed. Look them up on the internet and see if your area has any representatives. They need to expand because so many people out there need our help. Over 90% of Americans cannot afford to retire and this company is trying to prevent that. The company was formed in 1977 and I sure wish I had gotten into this years ago. You are not employed by them, you own your own business and are a representative of the company. So now I am not fretting about getting a programmer job, I am in the business of helping families succeed in life. Owning your own business is the way to go as opposed to having a job (which means Just Over Broke). Check them out. If you have any other questions you can contact me through this site.

www.primericabusinessopportunity.com/

Hi Fred, I have been unemployed for almost a yr now a representative from this company recently saw my resume and called to meet with him. I have not done that yet but could you give me some details as to how you started with this..ex.did they train you?, was there a fee and how much was it for the training etc. I thought it sounded more like a sales job or a sales pitch. Would like to know more from you!!!

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Fred in Vallejo in American Canyon, California

52 months ago

Primerica just had their IPO on 4/1, opened at $15 and closed over $19 so anything you read on the internet that says the company is a scam is just not true. I cannot speak for all locations but the training in my area is great. You get your first license within your first two months. There is a $99 starting fee but I heard they will waive it if you already have a life license. They are now helping me get securities licenses. It is similar to other MLMs in that if you recruit a strong team you will move up the ladders quickly. Unlike corporate America, this company encourages people to advance. People are more than happy to help get you promoted to their level. What I like about this is that you are not asking clients to really buy anything. If you can help them get out of debt or save for retirement, the company who provided the solution pays you. Everything done for the client is no charge. If there is an opportunity meeting in your area I suggest you spend the hour and a half to hear them out. I am really enjoying learning about money. This is information that most middle income Americans know little about. I cannot believe how much I have learned in less than a year.

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hjoseph7 in Arlington, Virginia

52 months ago

Jane in Philly said: I've been unemployed for 4 months. I thought I'd have a Cobol job by now. I couldn't see taking courses for new skills because companies won't hire without 5 years experience. Even before I lost my job (knowing it was coming because my company bought a new system in a different language) I felt I didn't want to waste my life taking courses that wouldn't benefit me.

We also had India taking positions; from my experience the work was getting done at a crawl compared to the amount of work that got done in the home site by American Citizens(communication was difficult and they were entry level for the most part).

I thought that I'd be able to get a job since BabyBoomers were retiring. The only Cobol jobs I see are for contract work (2 months, 6 months). If I took that route, when it ends where would I be?

After reading all the comments on this message board I fear my fate. I'm lost for answers, too.

I'm thinking that, possible, a contract job may lead to a full time position. ?? I may have to go that route.

I'm in the same boat as 95% of the people here. Have been a Cobol Programmer and Adabas/Natural programmer for the pas 25 years. When Adabas/Natural died(well nearly died) in the early 1990's, I relocated to washington DC from NY. It took me 2 years, but I was able to land jobs both in Cobol and Natural Unfortunately it was one Reorg and one outsourcing after another. I didn't last on a job more than 4 years. I went back to school and got a certificate in Web Design, because that's what the President of the United States said to do. I graduaded with a GPA of 3.7. While in school I designed and coded projects in HTML that would make some of the intranet sites at my job(s) look like childs play. Despite that, most if not all of my bosses pigeon-holded me into COBOL possitions until the job got outsourced or eliminated. tell you the truth I'm getting out of the IT field It's not worth it anymore !!

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alto100 in Anonymous Proxy

52 months ago

Glad I found this thread. Now I know I'm not alone. I've over 20yrs. experience in Cobol, too. Most of it spent with a NYSE member securities broker/dealer here in Los Angeles. It was Y2K that caused them to put the 'golden handcuffs' on me and my salary and bonuses nearly doubled my income. So of course it would have been foolish to leave since most recruiters would chuckle when I told them what my salary requirements were. Since retirement was close and well funded I thought I would ride it out.

Things went swimmingly due to easy credit and economic bubbles and record earnings for Wall St., but there was a warning on the horizon. In 2007 we were reading about problems at Bear Stearns, one of our oldest biggest customers. From what I was hearing there were going to be failures. Sure enough, Bear Stearns bites the dust followed shortly by Lehman Bros., another customer. Faces became pale around the office. Everyone knew this meant nuclear financial meltdown but were afraid to discuss it. I boldly predicted from what I was reading that our Federal Reserve and Treasury would be on its knees by 4th qtr. 2008. This amazed me and everyone else when it happened. We had already been given our notice of pink slips in July '08 and by mid Nov. I was on the street. My job given to a Chinese immigrant who could barely speak English but I had to 'train' him. Talk about bitterness and animosity.

So, here I am nearly 18mo.s later unemployed. Thank God I saw all this in advance and was able to stash my cash away. The severance was just OK. Nothing to reflect nearly 20yrs. But I'm still holding out with the help of UI extensions.

I've retrained on the .Net platform of Microsoft fame and earned an MCPD. But no one wants to hire me because... you guessed it... no paid experience and I'll be 58 this year. The unemployment rate in this town is over 20%. I think I've only applied to a dozen Cobol jobs this whole time because most of those jobs have been offshored.

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Ken in Centreville, Virginia

51 months ago

Rich in Boston, Massachusetts said: Gee, I guess no one wants to reply to my message. Thanks for not giving me any help!

I'm basically in the same boat. 61 years old and 22 years of COBOL. I've taken some courses (Oracle HTML, JAVA). I've done alot of reading PHP MYSQL. I built a php/mysql website but it's just a hobby. I have a website with no traffic yet. I'd like to get into building websites. I think I'll take my social security early. I'll just keep learning. Maybe by the time I'm 80 somehing will come around.

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