Survey: Cobol noose tightening

Six years after Computerworld first surveyed its readers about their use of Cobol, the installed code base for the 50-year old language hasn't changed much. But the impending talent crisis appears to be hitting home in more organizations.

This spring Computerworld conducted a follow up Cobol survey, which ran with our recent story, Brain Drain: Where Cobol systems go from here. But we didn't have room to talk about the change in attitudes about Cobol in the six years since our original 2006 survey came out.

As the aging base of Cobol programmers prepares to retire, businesses need to bring in a new generation of Cobol programmers sooner rather than later, so that they can train them on the business logic behind those programs before that knowledge walks out the door forever. Most have yet to do that.

In both surveys Computerworld asked readers who manage application development or maintenance in their organizations about their use of and plans for Cobol. In 2006 352 readers responded. This year we had 208 responses. Here's how their responses changed from then to now:

The number of companies that say their Cobol programming talent is graying has increased sharply.

Age of Cobol programmers

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