Colorado — like most states and territories across the country — is experiencing record unemployment numbers. But the state’s unemployment system is built on aging software running on a decades-old coding language known as COBOL. Over the years, COBOL programmers have aged out of the workforce, forcing states to scramble for fluent coders in times of national crisis.
A survey by The Verge found that at least 12 states still use COBOL in some capacity in their unemployment systems. Alaska, Connecticut, California, Iowa, Kansas, and Rhode Island all run on the aging language. According to a spokesperson from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, the state was actually only a month or two away from “migrating into a new environment and away from COBOL,” before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
Are you one of the already 17 million people laid off in the US, losing what little health insurance you had in the process, and now you can’t even apply for unemployment assistance because some baby boomer coded the damn system in COBOL? Time to lift yourself up by the bootstraps and learn the wonders of COBOL!
India needs to teach its H1-Bs ready to come here COBOL.
Y2K reappears 20 years later.
Condemning how things have been done many years earlier though is disingenuous. They have had 3-4 DECADES to update the code, but then if they spent taxpayer money you would be screaming that they shouldn’t waste money updating a fully working system.
Now the next problem is can they keypunch hollerith cards for batch processing.