Numlock Sunday: Dave Gershgorn on COBOL
By Walt Hickey
Welcome to the Numlock Sunday edition. Each week, I'll sit down with an author or a writer behind one of the stories covered in a previous weekday edition for a casual conversation about what they wrote.
This week, I spoke to the excellent Dave Gershgorn who wrote “Our Government Runs on a 60-Year-Old Coding Language, and Now It’s Falling Apart” for OneZero. Here's what I wrote about it:
New Jersey needs programmers who know the 60-year-old language COBOL, which may be antiquated, but is also the programming language the Garden State’s unemployment benefits system is based on. Connecticut and four other states are forming a joint effort to recruit retired COBOL programmers to update their software, as the skill may not be taught much anymore, but it’s critical to all sorts of systems. Half the world’s banking systems run on COBOL, 80 percent of card-based transactions use COBOL, the Government Accountability Office tracked down 10 computing systems like the Department of…