New Jersey seeks cobol developers to keep mainframes running

The New Jersey governor is asking volunteers who can program in cobol to come forward to help keep his mainframe running. Pressure on the state’s outdated systems has increased due to the corona crisis.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said in his daily press release last week that his state is seeking not only health care volunteers, but also programmers. “Since we have legacy systems, we would add a page for people with ‘cobalt’ experience because that’s what we’re dealing with.” Murphy is referring to cobol, which stands for common business-oriented language, a programming language from the early 1960s. Despite its image of an outdated programming language, some systems in especially large business environments still run on cobol.

According to Murphy, his employees are doing a heck of a job. “But we literally have systems over forty years old.” According to him, one of the lessons after the crisis will be how the state has come to depend on cobol programmers. New Jersey has been hit relatively hard by the coronavirus.

The Register refers to previous statements by the governor indicating that the state’s systems are under increasing pressure from a huge increase in the number of benefits claims. Half of the six hundred thousand applications in the past two weeks in the state would not be processed immediately. The governor blames the inflexibility of the outdated systems.