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 More gentle encouragement by the old guy - COBOL and other "boring" programming
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btiffin




PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2008 7:00 pm   Post subject: More gentle encouragement by the old guy - COBOL and other "boring" programming

So, recently got a call for a short support gig on an old system I worked on.

It's been in production some 22 years or so. polyFORTH on OpenVMS with a DECNet interface to a COBOL application.

What do you think the hourly rate is?

a) $12.50
b) $25.00
c) $125.00

Hourly, mind.

Spoiler:
c; of course.


So learn COBOL and some of the other boring old school computing. And try and stick it out in at least one key area. Build up a domain expertise. It may be good for you.

Cheers
And yeah, I'm bragging and a real professional wouldn't post this, but I'm a clown professional and want to see the young, up and coming coders follow some fact and not just trendy FUD.
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michaelp




PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2008 7:11 pm   Post subject: RE:More gentle encouragement by the old guy - COBOL and other "boring" programming

Holy crap, let the money role in! Very Happy
COBOL is pretty old though... :p
btiffin




PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2008 7:31 pm   Post subject: RE:More gentle encouragement by the old guy - COBOL and other "boring" programming

Not related to my first post so much, but;

Check out http://opencobol.org

COBOL is old, but it's still in active development.
The 2008 draft standard is in the works and Roger While has done a beautiful job of extending Keisuke Nishida's work (who extended Rildo Pragana's work on TinyCOBOL)

OpenCOBOL 1.1 only fails 3 of the NIST '85 standard tests (Roger thinks the GLOBAL clause is a mistake) and passes more of the 2002 tests than many of the commercial compilers.

Roger is currently extending the SCREEN SECTION support for OC1.1 and if I can pull my head out, there will be a libcurl wrapper for 'net access real soon now. The wrapper currently supports transfer from URL to disk file (with optional modification time tests) but there is still a lot more to do.

Cheers
Tony




PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2008 8:10 pm   Post subject: RE:More gentle encouragement by the old guy - COBOL and other "boring" programming

There's the reason the hourly rates are so high, and that's because not many people (anymore) are familiar or even willing to to work with spaghetti mainframes. Though there is a lot of old code (it's all in the business, finance, internal corporate sectors) that needs to be maintained... so the price will just keep on increasing, until some poor programmer will get suckered into a support gig.
Latest from compsci.ca/blog: Tony's programming blog. DWITE - a programming contest.
michaelp




PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2008 8:38 pm   Post subject: Re: RE:More gentle encouragement by the old guy - COBOL and other "boring" programming

Tony @ Fri Jul 25, 2008 8:10 pm wrote:
There's the reason the hourly rates are so high, and that's because not many people (anymore) are familiar or even willing to to work with spaghetti mainframes. Though there is a lot of old code (it's all in the business, finance, internal corporate sectors) that needs to be maintained... so the price will just keep on increasing, until btiffin gets suckered into a support gig.


Fixed. Mr. Green
nike52




PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2008 8:48 pm   Post subject: Re: More gentle encouragement by the old guy - COBOL and other "boring" programming

btiffin @ Fri Jul 25, 2008 7:00 pm wrote:
So, recently got a call for a short support gig on an old system I worked on.

So learn COBOL and some of the other boring old school computing. And try and stick it out in at least one key area. Build up a domain expertise. It may be good for you.



What do you mean stick it out in at least one key area?
btiffin




PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2008 9:30 pm   Post subject: RE:More gentle encouragement by the old guy - COBOL and other "boring" programming

Put in years at something. While changing jobs is the norm now-a-days, always try and keep a little consistency in your knowledge base. Pick a topic and become an expert in at least one thing.

Expertise is measured in decades, so it takes a while. Wink

If you like Python and have a Java job, keep up with Python.

If you like bio-med, keep up with it, even if your job is in the financial trades. That kind of "stick it out".

The definition I'm used to is 10 years, or 10,000 hours. wikipedia adds the concept of 50,000 "chunks" where a chunk is a unit of memory.

Cheers
btiffin




PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2008 9:43 pm   Post subject: Re: RE:More gentle encouragement by the old guy - COBOL and other "boring" programming

Tony @ Fri Jul 25, 2008 8:10 pm wrote:
There's the reason the hourly rates are so high, and that's because not many people (anymore) are familiar or even willing to to work with spaghetti mainframes. Though there is a lot of old code (it's all in the business, finance, internal corporate sectors) that needs to be maintained... so the price will just keep on increasing, until some poor programmer will get suckered into a support gig.


Oh ye of little faith. Wink

Good COBOL is not spaghetti anymore than good C (or even BASIC or any code) is. There is a reason there are some 200 billion lines of COBOL. Professionals use COBOL. Script kiddies use perl.

Does anyone here believe that ANY of the Java code written this year will still be in production 60 years from now? By that time some of the COBOL will be over 100 years old, and still running the planet's banks.

Cheers
P.S. languages are my hobby. I'm not dissing perl persay and would be just as willing to take a perl gig as a COBOL gig. The point of the thread is; Don't let "shiny and new" blind you to what really is the meat and potatoes of the computer field. Gee, I'd recommend that everyone learn some assembly (where GOTO rulez, as jump is all you get). It won't hurt.
nike52




PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2008 9:43 pm   Post subject: Re: More gentle encouragement by the old guy - COBOL and other "boring" programming

oh ok. now i understand. thx for explaining it Smile i want benjamins too
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