The governor of New Jersey made astrange call for help last night : The state desperately needs COBOL programmers to modernize the software that powers the mainframes of 50 years behind the state unemployment system.
This may seem surprising on the surface because COBOL debuted in 1960 and mainframes gave up the leadership position to general-purpose x86 servers decades ago. Nevertheless, these (sometimes) archaic systems still feed much of the infrastructure behind government agencies, banks and airlines.
The need arises as New Jersey struggles to process a staggering increase in 1,600% on jobless claims as the wave of business closures fueled by the coronavirus crashes offshore. The mainframes of the decade 1980 Boost New Jersey's Unemployment System, so expanding operations to handle the increased load requires programmers that are mostly no longer in existence. That presents a unique challenge, since the state seeks to pay more than 362,000 Unemployment claims filed in the last two weeks, half of which are unpaid, not to mention the continuous attack of new requests.
Nevertheless, the state will have jurisdiction; Connecticut is already leading a joint project with three other states to overhaul its own mainframe infrastructure by recruiting COBOL coders. Neither of these efforts will be easily successful.: COBOL is a dead language that hasn't been taught in most universities for decades, and rare COBOL encoders have between 55 Y 85 dollars per hour. As such, New Jersey is looking for volunteers, probably the retired type, to help solve your problems.
For many, the mention of a mainframe system conjures up mental images dating back to the old full-room systems of a bygone computer age. Actually, mainframes continue to be deployed around the world and processmiles ofmillions transactions per day. IBM's z Systems revenue, for example, actually grew a 62% percent last year, But those systems are decidedly more modernized than the relics behind New Jersey's unemployment system..
New Jersey, along with many other state agencies that have had infrastructure weaknesses exposed amid massive change driven by COVID-19, they're mostly in damage control right now. We can expect these difficulties to spur a wave of much-needed updates in government agencies soon., leading to decisions about whether to adopt modernized mainframes or just use x86 servers or the public cloud.
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