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Working As a Cobol Programmer

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Getting Information
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Repetitive

  • $78,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Cobol Programmer Do

Computer programmers write and test code that allows computer applications and software programs to function properly. They turn the program designs created by software developers and engineers into instructions that a computer can follow. In addition, programmers test newly created applications and programs to ensure that they produce the expected results. If they do not work correctly, computer programmers check the code for mistakes and fix them.

Duties

Computer programmers typically do the following:

  • Write programs in a variety of computer languages, such as C++ and Java
  • Update and expand existing programs
  • Test programs for errors and fix the faulty lines of computer code responsible
  • Create and test code in an integrated development environment (IDE)
  • Use code libraries, which are collections of independent lines of code, to simplify the writing

Programmers work closely with software developers, and in some businesses their duties overlap. When such overlap occurs, programmers can do work that is typical of developers, such as designing the program. Program design entails planning the software initially, creating models and flowcharts detailing how the code is to be written, writing and debugging code, and designing an application or systems interface. Programmers often use an IDE, which allows them to create, edit, and test code.

A program’s purpose determines the complexity of its computer code. For example, a weather application for a mobile device will require less programming than a social-networking application. Simpler programs can be written in less time. Complex programs, such as computer operating systems, can take a year or more to complete.

Software-as-a-service (SaaS), which consists of applications provided through the Internet, is a growing field. Although programmers typically need to rewrite their programs to work on different system platforms, such as Windows or OS X, applications created with SaaS work on all platforms. Accordingly, programmers writing SaaS applications may not have to rewrite as much code as other programmers do and can instead spend more time writing new programs.

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How To Become A Cobol Programmer

Most computer programmers have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related subject; however, some employers hire workers with an associate’s degree. Most programmers specialize in a few programming languages.

Education

Most computer programmers have a bachelor’s degree; however, some employers hire workers who have an associate’s degree. Most programmers get a degree in computer science or a related subject. Programmers who work in specific fields, such as healthcare or accounting, may take classes in that field to supplement their degree in computer programming. In addition, employers value experience, which many students gain through internships.

Most programmers learn a few computer languages while in school. However, a computer science degree gives students the skills needed to learn new computer languages easily. During their classes, students receive hands-on experience writing code, testing programs, fixing errors, and doing many other tasks that they will perform on the job.

To keep up with changing technology, computer programmers may take continuing education and professional development seminars to learn new programming languages or about upgrades to programming languages they already know.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Programmers can become certified in specific programming languages or for vendor-specific programming products. Some companies require their computer programmers to be certified in the products they use.

Other Experience

Many students gain experience in computer programming by completing an internship at a software company while in college.

Advancement

Programmers who have general business experience may become computer systems analysts. With experience, some programmers may become software developers. They may also be promoted to managerial positions. For more information, see the profiles on computer systems analysts, software developers, and computer and information systems managers.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Computer programmers must understand complex instructions in order to create computer code.

Concentration. Programmers must be able to work at a computer, writing lines of code for long periods.

Detail oriented. Computer programmers must closely examine the code they write because a small mistake can affect the entire computer program.

Troubleshooting skills. An important part of a programmer’s job is to check the code for errors and fix any they find.

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Cobol Programmer Career Paths

Cobol Programmer
Programmer Analyst Consultant Project Manager
Contract Project Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Programmer Analyst Business Analyst Project Manager
Service Delivery Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Programmer Analyst Consultant Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Operations Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Programmer Systems Analyst Business Analyst
Product Owner
9 Yearsyrs
Programmer Project Manager Development Manager
Senior Development Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Programmer Consultant Information Technology Project Manager
Information Technology Infrastructure Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Programmer Analyst Information Technology Manager Information Technology Director
Director Of Information Technology Services
12 Yearsyrs
Senior Programmer Analyst Manager Applications Development
Application Development Director
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Programmer Analyst Senior Consultant Information Technology Manager
Information Systems Director
8 Yearsyrs
Systems Analyst Network Engineer Network Administrator
Information Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Systems Analyst Systems Administrator Information Technology Consultant
Information Technology Systems Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Developer Senior Consultant Information Technology Director
Director Of Infrastructure Operations
13 Yearsyrs
Developer Business Analyst Senior Systems Analyst
Application Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Developer Senior Software Engineer Director Of Software Development
Vice President Of Software Engineering
13 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Senior Systems Analyst Information Systems Manager
Director Of Information Services
9 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Senior Systems Analyst Application Manager
Director, Applications
12 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Information Technology Consultant Information Technology Analyst
Information Technology Supervisor, Information Technology
6 Yearsyrs
Software Developer Project Leader Manager Applications Development
Vice President Of Application Development
11 Yearsyrs
Software Developer Senior Software Engineer Software Development Manager
Information Technology Development Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Software Developer Information Technology Consultant Information Technology Operations Manager
Manager Information Technology Applications
11 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Systems Programmer 5.0 years
Staff Programmer 4.7 years
Cobol Programmer 4.0 years
Programmer Analyst 3.8 years
Programmer 2.5 years
Junior Programmer 1.8 years
Top Careers Before Cobol Programmer
Programmer 10.4%
Consultant 6.9%
Developer 2.8%
Top Careers After Cobol Programmer
Consultant 10.2%
Developer 7.0%
Programmer 7.0%

Do you work as a Cobol Programmer?

Average Yearly Salary
$78,000
Show Salaries
$59,000
Min 10%
$78,000
Median 50%
$78,000
Median 50%
$78,000
Median 50%
$78,000
Median 50%
$78,000
Median 50%
$78,000
Median 50%
$78,000
Median 50%
$102,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Community National Bank & Trust
Highest Paying City
Roseville, CA
Highest Paying State
Washington
Avg Experience Level
4.4 years
How much does a Cobol Programmer make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Cobol Programmer in the United States is $78,666 per year or $38 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $60,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $103,000.

Real Cobol Programmer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Cobol Programmer BCM Global Technologies Consultants, Inc. Salem, OR Dec 03, 2014 $114,785
Db2/Cobol Programmer Cormac Corporation Herndon, VA Aug 13, 2015 $100,000
Cobol Programmer Cormac Corporation Columbia, MD Aug 08, 2012 $100,000
Db2/Cobol Programmer Cormac Corporation Columbia, MD Aug 13, 2012 $90,000
Cobol Programmer Cormac Corporation Columbia, MD Aug 13, 2015 $88,190
Cobol Programmer Analyst Pemco Mutual Insurance Company Seattle, WA Sep 13, 2014 $88,000 -
$95,000
Cobol Programmer Ciber, Inc. Nashville, TN Oct 10, 2016 $85,358 -
$110,611
Cobol Programmer Cormac Corporation Columbia, MD Aug 13, 2012 $84,000
Cobol Programmer Chili Corporate Solutions Inc. Austin, TX Aug 24, 2015 $82,500 -
$92,000
Cobol Programmer Analyst Boden Inc. Somerset, NJ Mar 12, 2010 $82,000
Cobol Programmer Millennium Software, Inc. Concord, NH Nov 10, 2014 $75,132
Cobol Programmer Data, Inc. Montvale, NJ May 26, 2015 $74,000 -
$100,000
Cobol Programmer Analyst II FIS Management Services, LLC Menomonee Falls, WI Mar 07, 2011 $73,000
Cobol Programmer Analyst II FIS Management Services, LLC Menomonee Falls, WI Mar 01, 2011 $73,000

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Top Skills for A Cobol Programmer

  1. Cobol
  2. Mainframe
  3. DB2
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Programmed retirement services applications utilizing both Micro Focus AcuCobol and SQL
  • Worked in Royal Saudi Naval Forces (RSNF) as a COBOL Programmer for over 8 years on Mainframe computer IBM-3081.
  • Designed and implemented interactive tool (COBOL II, command level CICS and DB2) for testing of claims processing software.
  • Designed and wrote CICS on-line transactions to add change and delete data records for the billing department.
  • Designed and programmed large batch COBOL II systems for HCFA mandated projects using VSAM file structures on an MVS mainframe.

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Top 10 Best States for Cobol Programmers

  1. North Carolina
  2. District of Columbia
  3. Connecticut
  4. Virginia
  5. Washington
  6. Rhode Island
  7. California
  8. Texas
  9. New York
  10. Pennsylvania
  • (149 jobs)
  • (46 jobs)
  • (51 jobs)
  • (157 jobs)
  • (69 jobs)
  • (14 jobs)
  • (476 jobs)
  • (304 jobs)
  • (268 jobs)
  • (172 jobs)

Cobol Programmer Demographics

Gender

Male

67.7%

Female

23.2%

Unknown

9.0%
Ethnicity

White

60.3%

Hispanic or Latino

14.2%

Black or African American

11.0%

Asian

10.6%

Unknown

3.9%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

German

25.0%

Russian

25.0%

Hindi

25.0%

Spanish

25.0%
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Cobol Programmer Education

Schools

New York University

11.7%

University of Phoenix

8.3%

Lawrence Technological University

8.3%

Northeastern University

6.7%

University of Alabama

5.0%

California State Polytechnic University - Pomona

5.0%

Prairie View A & M University

5.0%

Liberty University

5.0%

The Chubb Institute-Westbury

5.0%

Strayer University

5.0%

Pace University - New York

5.0%

University of Texas at Arlington

3.3%

Missouri State University

3.3%

Texas A&M University

3.3%

Columbus State University

3.3%

Moraine Valley Community College

3.3%

Illinois State University

3.3%

Central Connecticut State University

3.3%

University of South Florida

3.3%

Southern Illinois University Carbondale

3.3%
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Majors

Computer Science

33.5%

Computer Information Systems

13.5%

Business

9.0%

Computer Programming

8.2%

Information Technology

4.2%

Information Systems

3.7%

Management Information Systems

2.9%

Mathematics

2.9%

Computer Applications

2.9%

Accounting

2.9%

Economics

2.6%

Electrical Engineering

2.6%

Management

1.8%

Project Management

1.6%

Data Processing

1.6%

Engineering

1.3%

Computer Engineering

1.3%

Education

1.3%

Information Sciences

1.1%

Elementary Education

1.1%
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Degrees

Bachelors

44.2%

Other

17.2%

Masters

15.7%

Associate

14.4%

Certificate

5.9%

Diploma

1.9%

Doctorate

0.6%
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Updated May 19, 2020