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.
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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: