April 28, 2006
See, I am currently working as a COBOL programmer. I know, I can hear some snickering and even a gasp of disbelief or two. They don't even teach COBOL in school anymore. Which is all well and good, except that there are literally billions of lines of COBOL code out there in the real world, being used every day, and working perfectly well. The only problem is that it's "old", and to many people in today's technological world, "old" = bad.
It's not always true, and luckily for me, I was able to fall back on the ol' COBOL skillset when my last position disappeared because a "new", "good" system was implemented (one that still doesn't work very well two years later, but that's another story). I did mainframe database systems for years and years before this.
But I don't necessarily want to be a COBOL programmer for the rest of my working life, although I probably could. I'm actually a young whippersnapper compared to a lot of the COBOL programmers still working, and that pool of talent is shrinking faster than the remaining need for 'em. One of the best skills to have for the massive Y2K effort was COBOL. Business needed them, and paid dearly because they needed them badly.
So I've been taking classes and doing a lot of home-study. HTML and CSS. I've got a test database built in MySQL and I've started accessing it via PHP to create dynamic web pages. Not a biggie to the guru's out there, but for a mainframe guy this stuff is a whole new way of looking at the world. Kinda like what you went through learning Visual Basic if you knew plain ol' vanilla Basic before that, or OOP when that became the way to go.
Next up is XML and Java, and my company has told me that VB.NET is hot right now.
But at this moment, I've got my NHL Playoff database and I'm learning how to do strange and wondrous things with it. Up top is a standard HTML table, but at some point it might evolve into something interactive. If I figure out how soon enough.
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