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Old Programming Languages Still Critical, But Nobody Wants to Learn Them


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Large organizations that rely on legacy IT systems face an urgent skills shortage as older developers retire — and take their expertise with them.

The "2021 Mainframe Modernization Business Barometer Report" from Advanced suggests that 89% of large businesses worry about a shortage of IT staff with the skills to maintain and manage their legacy IT systems.  

These systems are typically underpinned by programming languages like COBOL, which was designed in 1959 and yet is still used widely by large organizations for central systems.

"To make matters worse, most universities no longer offer mainframe instruction courses," says Tim Jones, managing director at Advanced. Legacy systems are stable, robust, and continue to meet functional requirements, he says.

A 2018 Forrester Consulting study found that companies lost an average 23% of their mainframe workforce over the previous five years, with 63% of the vacancies remaining unfilled.

"The talent pool for developers of these languages is shrinking," putting companies at risk, Jones says.

From TechRepublic
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