Career Tips 17/02/2021 by "Andy Helsby"

Why Young Developers Should Consider Learning Old Languages Like COBOL

young developers learning legacy languages

Table of Contents:

Legacy Developers Earn the Big Bucks
Demand is Only Increasing
COBOL is Business Critical


Working in the tech world can be strange. Not many other fields move as quickly with hot new languages to conquer and explore. The culture of new, innovative, sexy can be intoxicating. It’s possible for young developers to get more caught up in what is going to be cool to work with, rather than what will be in high demand, secure, and financially viable for the long term. 

Old languages don’t tend to give off the same level of excitement as the new. Yet, they’re used by some of the largest companies in the world, jobs for them are in extremely high demand and they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. Then there’s this:

Legacy Developers Earn the Big Bucks

Recently I sat down with a COBOL programmer who is a contractor at a large financial services organisation. Their charge out rate is $1,000 per day, and they are in huge demand. What’s their advice to young developers? Learn these skills and thrive. 

Legacy systems aren’t going anywhere in a hurry. COBOL is still the language of choice for the majority of the major banks and insurance companies, and these businesses will pay the big bucks to keep their tech working and competitive. 

Developers who are enticed by these prospects could learn COBOL now and within ten years, progress much faster through the banks and insurance companies than their peers would be able to in other sectors. 

Demand is Only Increasing

Because it’s not a trendy new language, experienced COBOL programmers are gradually thinning out in the market. All of the developers who learned this language in the 90s are heading toward retirement, and a shortage of talent has already begun, which is only going to increase once all of these senior positions exit the market. 

Not enough young developers are coming into this space. That means that anyone who invests in learning these skills has a clear path for their career progression, with security that demand will stay high and certainty that the financial benefits are there. 

Developers who go for the new languages today are going to go through stages in their career when they are one among thousands with the same skills. Standing out will be tough. Those who invest their time in learning legacy systems place a secure bet to avoid that struggle. 

COBOL is Business Critical

While Mainframes may not be enticing, they are absolutely crucial. With most of the major banks using them, they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, so the jobs that keep them functioning are essential for the future. 

Without these skills, our financial institutions can’t function effectively, and without that, our economy and daily interactions with banks are drastically interrupted. COBOL programmers keep our systems functioning. And in return, they get to earn the big bucks and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with job security and fruitful career progression. 

If you’re a young developer considering where to invest your time, it’s worth considering older languages like COBOL. It’s not super exciting, but it’s crucial, it pays well, and it is one way to control career prospects in an otherwise unsure future. 

What do you think? We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with the team at Launch Recruitment today to discuss.