COBOL Mainframe Programmers switching careers have to overcome several challenges including the fear of learning new programming languages.
In addition, cobol programmers have to pick the right programming language which is not an easy task considering the range of possibilities (C#, Java, C/C++, PHP, Python, Visual Basic, Perl, etc.).
Cobol programmers also have to brand their resumes to look like that of modern, object oriented software developers.
Considering these challenges, one is not surprised whenever a cobol programmer decides to stick with legacy programming skills.
That is why I am dedicating this post to helping cobol mainframe programmers transition their skills or careers.
How To Transition Cobol Mainframe Legacy Programming Skills
I will start by answering a question which is at the core of the challenges faced by many cobol programmers.
Here is the question submitted by a cobol mainframe programmer from Stafford, Texas.
I am a Cobol programmer but I have been out of the business for more than 5 years due to layoff.
I have been driving an 18-wheeler for 6 years and I want to get back into programming.
What is the best route to take?
I am planning to take A+ Certification class at Houston Community College in the Summer.
In the meantime, I need to stop driving.
Changing Careers For Mainframe Cobol Programmers
I would advice that you start with learning the Microsoft .NET suite of programming languages.
Learning Microsoft .NET is not a small undertaking, but it currently presents the best career path for modern, object oriented computer programmers.
Learning Microsoft.NET includes learning the following family of programming languages or platforms:
- .NET Framework
- C# or Visual Basic .NET … I recommend C#
- SQL Server for database Development
I don’t recommend that you start with A+ certification because that is taking an in-direct route to a programming career.
That path will take you to a desktop support job and you may actually end up getting lost in that role … which is okay if that is what you really want!
If you really want to become a computer programmer, then you need to learn Microsoft .NET
Here is why learning Microsoft .NET will be a better option for you:
High Demand For Microsoft.NET Programming Skills
There is such a high demand for Microsoft.NET programming skills in the current economy, that you’re virtually guaranteed a job, as soon as you’re skilled or competent at programming with .NET Framework.
Shorter Training Time For Microsoft.NET
Here is why I advocate that you learn Microsoft.NET instead of Java or C/C++.
It has a shorter learning curve or training time because the language is easier to master and Microsoft provides you with a Rapid Application Development (RAD) environment which allows you to write full-featured applications in a shorter time.
These RAD tools have intelligence built-in which presents you with tips on the programming syntax as you code.
This reduces the challenge of memorizing .NET Framework programming syntax and it also reduces the time it will cost you to create complete, working business applications.
More Career Options for .NET Developers
Becoming a .NET Developer opens up your career to the corporate computer programmer career path.
As a .NET Developer, you have more career options because Microsoft.NET is designed to work with other Microsoft products. This makes your skills more portable and it opens up a bigger programming market for you.
If you’re a .NET developer, you may also get a job creating websites or work as a database developer or focus on developing MS Office applications.
You can also work as a windows developer or as a mobile developer.
You can even work on enterprise business applications like Commerce Server, Sharepoint or Reporting Services.
Since you have some previous programming background (even though it was as a cobol programmer) and you are still interested in computer programming, I would advice you to jump into learning .NET Framework immediately and not to waste your time on other pursuits!
Finally I would like to mention that we are running a special discount where you can get trained on both the Microsoft .NET Framework and SQL Server database development.
All you really have to do is, place an order for both the Software Developer Boot Camp and the SQL Boot Camp and this special discount would be applied to you.
Here is what you need to do to be fully enrolled as a Microsoft .NET Framework Developer … enroll for both the SQL Boot Camp and the Software Developer Boot Camp at the same time using the links below:
Once you add both the SQL and Software Developer Boot Camp, you will get the on-going special discount for the Microsoft .NET Software Developer Training Track.
In this post we discussed the challenges facing legacy cobol mainframe programmers and suggested the best path for those interested in changing careers.