New tech degree to include legacy app migration

Cobol specialist Micro Focus is aiming to make IT graduates aware of the importance of skills in legacy applications

A degree course that aims to tackle the perceived lack of technologists with business skills will also cover the issue of migrating from legacy applications such as Cobol.

Cobol migration specialist Micro Focus announced on Wednesday that it has joined e-skills UK’s Employer Strategy Forum (ESF) for the Information Technology Management in Business (ITMB) degree course. The aim of the course is to help address growing demand for business-focused IT professionals.

The company also said that Oxford Brookes University and the University of Central England (UCE) and have now signed up to the Micro Focus Academic Connections (ACTION) programme to help deliver the e-skills endorsed Information Technology Management for Business (ITMB) degree.  

Bob Champion, ITMB course director at Oxford Brookes University, said that it was "evident that there is an ongoing need for Cobol-literate programmers as we enter the 21st century. We feel the ACTION programme perfectly complements other aspects of our ITMB degree and will contribute significantly to the skill-set of our students.”

Micro Focus, which began life as the developer of one of the first microcomputer-based versions of Cobol, said that a recent survey of 650 customers revealed that more than three-quarters of CIOs expect the recruitment of Cobol programmers "to remain a key focus of their IT departments over the next five years".

 The ITMB degree came about in February as employee organisations made it clear that half of them looking for graduates did not care what kind of technology-related degree they had and that only two out of every five graduates working in ICT (information and communications technology) have an ICT-related degree.

"Graduates from non-ICT disciplines have often developed skills in areas not yet widely included in traditional computing courses, such as business, project management, communications and other interpersonal skills," said Karen Price, e-Skills chief executive said at the time.

The ITMB course came about as a degree to "evolve to reflect the broader range of capabilities required to be successful in modern careers in IT and telecoms", Price said.

Micro Focus will be working as part of the ESF to ensure that the ITMB degree "prepares future IT professionals with the blend of business, communications, project management and technical skills employers need", the company stated.