Article by Vasilis A. Coufos

The needs upon the fight against Covid – 19, draw our attention to very specific demands: respirators, masks, fullness of human resources in health systems, compliance with the framework of prohibitions and restrictions imposed by the application of lockdown and respectful observance of the rules of personal hygiene .

In the United States, at the time of writing, the number of confirmed cases is 825,306 and their deaths are 40,062 (source : John Hopkins University and Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center , Wednesday, April 22, 2020). it is necessary to add another enormous need: to find a sufficient number of CoBOL language programmers , on which the code of some places of federal – and not only – electronic support systems of a large number of US States has been written .

The CoBOL language designed in distant 1959 as a Service tool for additional applications and solutions to pervasive language then, ForTran , which serve primarily commercial and scientific purposes. The CoBOL name is created from the Common Business Oriented Language description . The reason CoBOL dominated was simple: It worked as a programming language, largely with the rules of using the English language – sentences, paragraphs, punctuation, syntactic rules – so that its code became extremely easy to read and write on it. The period of rapid growth and the interconnection of of computers use with everyday life (early 1960s to mid-1980s) coincided with the full dominance of CoBOL . Is indicative, the statement of the IBM Z Ecosystems VP , Meredith Stowell , that 220 billion lines of CoBOL code are in use today . At the same time, a Reuters report since 2017, revealed that 43% of the banking systems and 95% of ATM movements based on Codex CoBOL .

In these circumstances, a number of US state governors (including New Jersey, Kansas and Connecticut ), make a public distress call to enlist developers able to write code CoBOL , on which are placed countless federal and state data . The problem has gotten emergency proportions, based on the management of applications unemployment benefits as a direct consequence of the invasion of Covid – 19. A clear picture of the size of the difficulty is summarized in the following data: From 15 to March to the first ten days of April had been 16.8 million applications , a quantity corresponding to 13% of the US workforce

“It’s a disaster,” told Bloomberg News by Mahmoud Ezzeldin, who worked in CoBOL based computer systems for Blue Cross, Blue Shield and the Internal Revenue Service. “CoBOL is hard to learn and has not been designed for the Internet. College graduates want to learn something easier. I can’t blame them.”. IBM , finally, announced he intends to proceed in a series of free trainings to inform developers and network architects to CoBOL .

So this pandemic shows a holistic profile . So far, both directly and sideways and at a similar level, both international money markets and local economies have been hit. Now in the next phase, we will see the deterioration of the technical tools of the world economic system, as special economic policy methods will need to be applied, related to the revision of the global division of labor, monetary circulation and the new functional terms of the international trade. In this context, the need for CoBOL developers is more of a glaring example of the depth of the impact than a single projection of a serious side effect.

Is clear that, the resolution manual about the Covid – 19 consequences, will contain many references to theories and practices which until the end of last December, had only an academic character.