COBOL (Common Business Oriented Language) is a computer programming language. It is based upon Hopper’s FLOW-MATIC, which was the first data processing communication that used English words and phrases rather than mathematically formed strings of numbers and letters.
Programming languages can be very difficult for users to understand and can take a considerable amount of time to learn, but utilising the English language in programming functions, like COBOL does, enables the system and programming to become much more accessible to a wider range of users.
Before COBOL, each operating system has its own language, making it difficult for integration, uniformity and cross communication within business. For example, if a business owned more than one brand, it would be preferred that the programming language would be universal within each company, ultimately saving resources and ease of transfer, rather than having a different programming language for each system, computer or program that is used by the company.
COBOL is mostly used in HR, companies who operate a large purchasing and sales operation, finance (including banks) and a range of government systems. Not only is it a programming language, but it is also used for compilers, object code and runtime library amongst other functions.
Jobs that use COBOL include: