Print Story Ran into a COBOL programmer on the elevator
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By gzt (Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 01:56:11 PM EST) gzt, reply all, puerto rico, phd, hacker, cobol (all tags)
Old school.


I was just thinking about how what our team really needs is a hacker. I'm not much of a programmer and lack the time to become extremely competent on my own, plus we simply would not be given the tools in this department to actually do anything. But, seriously, give us a decent Python/VBA guy (VBA necessary because of all the stupid MS stuff) and let me loose on the stats end and between the two of us we'd be ten times as productive.

If I could do the "PhD applications" thing all over again, I would've had the idea in September so I could've met the December 15th and maybe December 1st deadlines some schools had, even after waiting to take the GRE and get GRE results before having a final decision on whether to apply or not. But, you know, you have ideas when you have them, c'est la vie.

Snowing decently. Not terribly hard. Supposed to be 2-4 right now. I have my boots here at work. No, wait, it looks like they've been revising upward. Or something.

I was supposed to go somewhere at 6 before heading home, I think I'll just go home. Somebody might be coming to play Puerto Rico, he lives nearby, so maybe we will do that, maybe not.

I'm caught in the middle of a "reply all" thing. Shoot me now.

< Don't worry about Planet Express, let me worry about blank. | Onwards and Upwards >
Ran into a COBOL programmer on the elevator | 17 comments (17 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Cobol programmers by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #1 Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 02:23:46 PM EST
I thought they all retired on their Y2K windfall.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
we have lots of old mainframe stuff by gzt (2.00 / 0) #3 Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 04:30:01 PM EST
here at $INSURER.

[ Parent ]
You don't have to *BE* a COBOL progger by BadDoggie (2.00 / 0) #2 Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 04:23:58 PM EST
At 50¢/line it's a pretty sweet gig. I'm expecting COBOL to cover my forced-at-62 retirement in a country where benefits don't kick in until you're 67.

"Reply all" needs teleomeres to auto-terminate continued chains.

woof.

Jesus Christ you're a tool -- Dr Thrustgood

It only took a dozen people saying... by gzt (2.00 / 0) #4 Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 04:31:21 PM EST
..."stop replying to all and stop including the listserv on the e-mails" to kill it.

[ Parent ]
I was a COBOL programmer by jimgon (4.00 / 1) #5 Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 07:09:49 PM EST
Obviously I could still do it if there was a job.  Not something you could easily forget and it's only been four years since I last wrote COBOL.  I became a PM because the place I was at sent most of the programming jobs offshore.  They didn't have a long term need for programmers in the US.




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Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
2030 will be like 1998 by BadDoggie (2.00 / 0) #7 Sun Jan 15, 2012 at 10:37:04 AM EST
Except it'll be at least a buck a line because most of the people who still know the language will be dead. I'm contractually out of a job five years before my state pension kicks in; CONOL will be paying the bills.

woof.

Jesus Christ you're a tool -- Dr Thrustgood

[ Parent ]
Couldn't find anything around here by jimgon (2.00 / 0) #8 Sun Jan 15, 2012 at 12:29:12 PM EST
There's limited demand around here for COBOL.  All the companies in these parts pushed hard to offshore.  Of course the savings they were looking for have mostly evaporated now and they did what most of us predicted ten years ago.  They destroyed the US competency to save money and now that the savings is gone they have no one onshore to pick up the jobs they can't really afford to offshore.  That and they've completely destroyed the experience level since the people they let go first were the people who knew the systems the best.




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Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
[ Parent ]
You can only off-shore so much by BadDoggie (2.00 / 0) #9 Sun Jan 15, 2012 at 08:29:54 PM EST
Once they start getting code back that reads

_ _ _ _ _ _ PICTURE 99.999.999,99

they'll pay up. COBOL is there for code that cannot fail, and it's a lot cheaper to pay a buck a line and have your softeware back inside three years so that it can be fully tested than to pay two cents a line and hope your machines are running by the year 2525.

woof.

Jesus Christ you're a tool -- Dr Thrustgood

[ Parent ]
I agree by jimgon (4.00 / 1) #10 Mon Jan 16, 2012 at 08:24:37 AM EST

Unfortunately at every company I've worked for IT is ultimately driven by the finance department who don't see stability as a goal.  Reduced expense is their mission.






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Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
[ Parent ]
Remember the "Masters of the Universe" by BadDoggie (4.00 / 1) #11 Tue Jan 17, 2012 at 02:22:37 AM EST
Tjey sure as shit didn't like paying 50¢ a linbe, but they made more as a result. Again, if it's in COBOL, it has to work. COBOL & FORTRAN do most of the word's heavy lifting, and thank fuck for that. Still kicking myself for wasting time learning SNOBOL, PL1 and PASCAL.

woof.

Jesus Christ you're a tool -- Dr Thrustgood

[ Parent ]
I'm on a call with IT right now... by gzt (2.00 / 0) #12 Tue Jan 17, 2012 at 03:25:58 PM EST
...and we apparently have 300 (!) COBOL programmers.

[ Parent ]
Holy crap by jimgon (2.00 / 0) #13 Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 06:22:33 AM EST
It's impressive, but I naturally have to ask in what country?  Most companies decided COBOL was as commodity to be purchased at the cheapest rate.  Everyone knows you pay for quality, but Corporate America only wants the lowest cost.




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Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
[ Parent ]
Not that I'm bitter <n/t> by jimgon (2.00 / 0) #14 Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 06:23:15 AM EST





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Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
[ Parent ]
The America by gzt (2.00 / 0) #15 Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 08:11:34 AM EST
But now that I'm off the call I have to elaborate that it's 300 who have been COBOL programmers, not 300 people who currently do COBOL for us. We're doing a big project to transition a lot of stuff to Java or something.

[ Parent ]
Move COBOL code to Java? by BadDoggie (2.00 / 0) #16 Tue Jan 24, 2012 at 06:54:54 PM EST
::popcorn::

woof.

Jesus Christ you're a tool -- Dr Thrustgood

[ Parent ]
I'm not the guy who is doing this... by gzt (2.00 / 0) #17 Tue Jan 24, 2012 at 07:27:37 PM EST
...and that's kind of second-hand, so it might have been distorted.

[ Parent ]
A cousin learned COBOL in college by wiredog (4.00 / 1) #6 Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 07:23:58 PM EST
She was a graphic arts major and took it as the required "math or science" credit. During the run-up to y2k she made enough money to fill up the college funds for both her kids.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

Ran into a COBOL programmer on the elevator | 17 comments (17 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback