Manta Releases More COBOL Courses
March 25, 2013 Jenny Thomas
It was just last year when Bill Hansen, president of Manta Technologies achieved his long-time goal of introducing a COBOL training series for programming students. COBOL was the one training course Hansen said customers consistently asked for over the years, so he was pleased to add it to Manta’s curriculum.
Now comes the addition of two more courses to the COBOL series: Performing Arithmetic in COBOL and COBOL Table Processing. The curriculum already includes Developing a COBOL Program, COBOL Output Programming, and COBOL Input Programming, which we told you about last year. The two new courses begin to round out the complete series that Hansen says will include a minimum of eight total courses, all of which he intends to release by the end of this year.
COBOL is often characterized as “old school” and the need or desire for COBOL training is a subject open for debate, as was discussed in the recent IT Jungle article, If COBOL Is Too ‘Un-Cool’ For School, What’s That Make RPG?. But when it comes to COBOL, Hansen says don’t believe the hype.
According to Hansen, the fact of the matter is “there’s businesses that need people to maintain programs. COBOL’s still going to be here 50 years from now.”
While Hansen does agree there are fewer colleges teaching COBOL, he also says colleges weren’t producing COBOL people 40 years ago either. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t people who need COBOL training. Hansen describes a typical call he gets from an employer as going something like this: “I have this kid I hired who knows how to program in C. Can you teach him how to program in COBOL or RPG?” And since Hansen has been in the training industry since the 1980s, they’re asking the right person.
Of course, having IT people with skills beyond COBOL is a definite benefit to companies. The laundry list of responsibilities in the typical IT department has expanded far beyond maintaining a server and a company website and now includes new demands for things like data analytics, social media, and the integration of mobile computing devices. But Hansen says there is always the need for people with COBOL knowledge. “The job may have many new things in the future, but a large part of the job is maintaining the thousands of COBOL and RPG applications that are out there,” he says.
Hansen also points out that just like modern computing, COBOL is evolving. “There were things that we would teach 40 years ago that we don’t now because the equipment has changed. As one simple example, a course I used to teach dealt with maintaining everything on tape. The introduction of DASD changed that. Other changes are spending less time on green screens and more time on spitting out information directly into your user’s browser.”
One big item Hansen says he has noticed is more companies are making the employee pay for the training. Even if you’re not lucky enough to get your company to spring for the training, Hansen strives to make the training he offers affordable, and since all of the training is done online, there are no additional travel expenses to consider. As with all Manta courses, a one-year, single-user license for either of the new COBOL classes is available for $120. Customers who opt for the entire series will receive a two-year license for the price of one year, which costs $1,296. Each new course in the COBOL series will appear in the student’s menu as it becomes available for those that purchase the two-year license.
In addition to the new COBOL courses, Manta has also recently updated its IBM i Programming Environment series for IBM i 7.1. Changes include updating the material on PC-based integrated programming environments to cover RDP instead of RDi. A one-year, single-user license for the series is available for $324. All Manta series include free student reference guides (in PDF format), competency exams, and student administration reporting and control software.
Visit www.mantatech.com for a free preview of any of Manta’s 116 courses and competency exams, including the new COBOL products.