Open Mainframe Project Launches COBOL Course
Written by Kay Ewbank   
Friday, 23 September 2022

The Open Mainframe Project has launched a new COBOL programming course as an open source initiative offering introductory-level educational COBOL materials with modern tooling.

The Open Mainframe Project was founded in 2015 to provide a focal point for deployment and use of Linux and open source on mainframes. The aim is to make mainframes more usable by developers by providing "a transparent experience in leveraging the value propositions of the mainframe".


The COBOL Training Course aims to educate and train the next generation of mainframers. The course has been developed collaboratively by COBOL experts from American River College, IBM, and its clients, and was developed with the intention that it would be made available in the public domain.


It is being contributed to Open Mainframe Project as an open source project "to drive further engagement and downstream usage". There are estimates that 220 billion lines of COBOL are still in use today.

The course is aimed at developers or students who would like to learn COBOL skills with Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code editor (VS Code) Zowe, IBM Z Open Editor, Code4z Extension Pack, and extensions. The course materials provide an overview of the language and real-life Enterprise COBOL demos to work on. It also covers more advanced topics like dynamic-length items, multi threading, and programming tuning with hands-on labs to help support the learning. The course starts by teaching students how to use the tooling available, and goes on to cover COBOL basics including the data division, table and file handling, program structure, data types, intrinsic functions and ABEND handling. Later advanced topics cover numerical data representation, dynamic length items, UTF-8 data types, working with DB2, compilation, multi threading and program tuning.

The course materials are available on GitHub.


More Information

COBOL Programming Course

Course Materials On GitHub

Open Mainframe Project

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Last Updated ( Friday, 23 September 2022 )