The “dinosaur” programming language COBOL, a long-standing tradition for HN Services

  • We get talked about
  • 17 March 2022

HN Services has a long – standing tradition in COBOL training, either in professional reconversion, or completing the technical studies of youngsters issued from technical universities.

Up to now, almost 300 people started their first steps as programmers in our internal Training Institute and more than half in the COBOL technology. Their determination and willingness to develop further their skills in a “dinosaur” programming language proved that for HN Services it was worth to continue capitalizing on this technology and help its banking partners to backbone their core services.

Mihai Mironescu has been one of our first colleagues who started his career as a programmer in our Training Institute. For already 15 years, he has developed his career in HN Services and spoke with us about his career path and the challenges of being a Cobol developer.

How was your HN journey until now, as you are among HN Services’ first employees?

My journey in HN has been long and fruitful. I began as a fresh medical school graduate with an appetite for IT and curiosity to develop myself in a different professional direction. I then found myself back to school, in HN Training Institute and luckily it wasn’t long before I got the hang for it.

I have always liked riddles and puzzles and for each problem I was able to find out a solution – and these skills are in my opinion keys for a young person wishing to develop as an IT professional.

After the training period I had the opportunity to work on a series of small projects during which I had to also consider the human factor and different kind of interactions, essentials for my work.

I began my mission for my current banking client a little more than fourteen years ago. During this time my team changed several times, as more experienced colleagues were replaced by fresh graduates issued from the HN Training Institute. Each time I could notice that they proved the curiosity needed to work in this field and I always tried to encourage them in their choice of becoming Cobol developers.

As many say that Cobol is kind of a dinosaur now, do you consider yourself one of them?

I must admit that I have heard of the comparison between COBOL and dinosaurs. But to be honest, they are similar in only one way: it would take an apocalyptic size event for COBOL to disappear… 😊Therefore we, the Cobol dinosaurs, are continuing to back millions of banking transactions made every day as Cobol is still the most widely used programming language in financial institutions worldwide.

What would you recommend to a junior who wants to start now a carrier in COBOL?

Advice for a junior starting in COBOL… Keep your curiosity at high levels. Although COBOL doesn’t change much, it constantly interacts with languages that do and there will be modifications to implement. Also, try to remember that logic (the core of all programming) doesn’t change much either.

Once you start as a fresh graduate in HN Services, you have the possibility to develop yourself on different projects and learn each time from your colleagues who can be a real support and resource of enriching your knowledge. There will always be a demand of new Cobol programmers who will be soon proficient enough to service this technology for the years to come. It is not a glamourous technology, but in HN we tend to say that Cobol is here to stay, and we acknowledged this more than 15 years ago when we started our mission in Romania.

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