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1997-11-15 19:18:48


COBOL Programmers: Tightening Supplies



There are conflicting stories about COBOL programmers' salaries. This one says they are rising fast.

This article appeared in COMPUTER RESELLER NEWS (Nov. 17). It appears toward the end of the story.

* * * * * * *

COBOL programmers had seen a 30 percent to 40 percent increase in their salaries during the spring, Gene Raphaelin, vice president of executive programs with the Gartner Group Inc., Stamford, Conn., said in April.

Gail Lutey, director of training and development at Complete Business Solutions, an integrator in Farmington Hills, Mich., said she had received 45 responses to a tiny local advertisement offering COBOL training plus dozens of worldwide inquiries.

Complete Business Solutions, which already had been training new employees in COBOL, had begun offering the training to non-employees in April.

"We've been asked, 'Is this [year 2000 conversion issue for real?' " Lutey said. She said the integrator's training classes were being filled by everyone from truck drivers to nurses, all of whom were receiving 160 hours of basic instruction in COBOL and related disciplines aimed at solving the computer industry's year 2000 problem.

A last-minute exodus to outsource the predicted crash of countless computers at the stroke of midnight in the year 2000 will continue to sweeten the deals for integrators, analysts predicted.

If Gartner Group's estimates are correct, there are "not enough people on the entire planet to solve the year 2000," said David Pollard, director of recruiting for Keane Inc., a Boston-based systems integrator training entry-level personnel in COBOL.

Mark Starcheski, an independent programmer, said, "Even if companies think their problem is solved, there will still be bugs in the system. COBOL programmers can make up to $100,000 a year just by popping into companies for two weeks at a time to fix the bugs."

Not only will VARs and integrators be called upon to fix bugs in computer systems, but they will have to clean up the backlog of projects put off by corporations which had for several years been focusing their resources on the pending date-fix dilemma.


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