Cobol is alive and kicking in Brazil

Organizations continue to invest in development based on the programming language despite skills shortages, says study

Programming language Cobol still represents an important part of development budgets in Brazilian IT organizations and that will continue to be the case in the coming years, according to research.

According to a study by software vendor Micro Focus that covered 370 development professionals in Brazil, some 52 percent of those polled say that Cobol is the main mainframe language utilized at their organizations.

In terms of resourced devoted to development in that programming language, 49 percent of the respondents said they write only Cobol-based code and 43 percent said their employers have teams exclusively dedicated to development in Cobol.

Looking forward, some 64,8 percent said they intend to write new Cobol-based applications in the next few years. When the subject is changes to existing applications, half of the respondents said the top two priorities were implementing web services, followed by improvements in the user interface.

Despite the need for skilled Cobol programmers in Brazil, the local market is suffering with a skills shortage, worsened by the fact that IT universities and colleges do not consider the programming language important.

Another Micro Focus study conducted with 119 coordinators of university IT courses worldwide - including Brazil - confirms this worrying trend. Some 58 of those polled believe that Cobol programming should be part of the mandatory curricula of IT course with 54 percent affirming that demand for Cobol skills will rise or maintain the current pace in the next decade.

However, out of the 27 percent of universities offering Cobol programming as part of their course curricula, only 18 percent believe that these skills are essential to their students' careers.