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COBOL Programming

Maintenance, Modernization, and SOA

COBOL Programming Language COBOL Modernization - Return on Investment COBOL Training by SYS-ED
Courseware for Teaching Professional Distance-learning Service Grow Your Own COBOL Programmers
COBOL Training Program COBOL Training Services Technology Exchange Websites


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Courseware for Teaching - COBOL Training Services
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Application Development, Debugging, and Repurposing Code

COBOL Programming Language

Starting in the late 1960ís, the COBOL: Common Business Oriented Language began to replace assembler and other low-level machine languages in business computing operations; the major hardware providers were Burroughs, Control Data, IBM, Honeywell, Sperry, and UNIVAC. By the early 1980ís, COBOL had emerged as the primary development language platform and IBM as the dominant mainframe hardware vendor and provider of the commercial operating systems and system software: MVS - OS/390, DOS/VSE, and VM. The application design and coding of COBOL programs was done in conjunction with IBM - IMS, VSAM, CICS, and DB2 and third party system software - ADABAS and IDMS. COBOL utilized the extended instruction set on mainframe systems, provided an efficient language structure and syntax, supported decimal arithmetic, truncation, and rounding of calculated results.  It was simpler and more straightforward to code COBOL programs in place of Assembler and other procedural languages such as C, Fortran, PL/1, and RPG. Application design and development could be concentrated on the business and program logic rather than the complexities of the machine architecture.

Other important reasons for organizational enterprise having made the strategic investment in the COBOL programming language as a application development platform:

  • Integration with middleware technologies.

  • Takes advantages of the hardware improvements in the zEnterprise technology.

  • A comprehensive suite of development and collaboration tools.

  • Use of class libraries.

  • Utilization of visual programming environments.

  • Processing efficiency.

COBOL Modernization - Return on Investment

The inventory of 50+ years of COBOL business logic, rules, and applications are a significant component in modern information technology infrastructure; they provide a working framework for standardization and the efficient processing of information and data. The immediate challenge is the maintenance, evaluation, reuse, and web-enabling of COBOL code. The strategic objective is to maximize a return on existing COBOL and information technology resources: shortened development cycles, increased flexibility, and migrating to a SOA: Service Oriented Architecture.


Programmers with multi-platform XML and Java skills, in additional to the COBOL language, will be increasingly important.

IBM Enterprise COBOL for z/OS integrates COBOL and web-based business processes in web services, XML, and Java applications. This allows an organization to build upon and incorporate web-based applications in its information technology infrastructure with: 1- XML and Java interoperability 2- WebSphere MQ middleware support 3- IBM Rational Developer for System z and Rational Team Concert 4- IBM Problem Determination Tools on z/OS.

The new commercial and open source web-based development languages such as Java have featuresets which provide for interaction with IBM COBOL mainframe applications.

COBOL Training by SYS-ED

The COBOL programmers you need may already be working for you! SYS-EDís challenging, COBOL training lets you grow your own programming staff and save the time and expense of hiring new personnel. In our courses, students learn by doing; one-third of their class time will be spent coding and debugging programs. SYS-ED is recognized as a leader in fast-track COBOL courses and integrated COBOL training programs.

Since 1980, SYS-ED has been providing instructor-led mainframe courses and training services to and for major software houses, consulting firms, Fortune 1000 companies, government municipalities, and healthcare providers.

SYS-EDís credentials in terms of consultancy experience and advanced degrees in many situations will be superior to that of the employees from the source software companies. SYS-ED's courses are taught by system consultant instructors in technology driven classrooms and web-based training delivery medium. We teach industry standard COBOL courses augmented with educational consultancy subject matter and the leading mainframe development utilities and tools. We also provide guidance on the implementation of Enterprise COBOL and migrating from Micro Focus COBOL to Micro Focus Net Express. In addition to the SYS-ED schedule, tailored course offerings also can be conducted at the client location. After a course is over, students receive ongoing support for the inevitable COBOL questions which come up back on the job.

SYS-ED's industry standard courses and COBOL training programs have been designed to correspond with and augment IBM's information strategy:

1- Implement information-driven strategies consistent with business priorities.

2- Use unified tools to competitive advantage for managing data and designing reliable data structures.

3- Accelerate the return on investment associated with information technology projects.

Few software or consulting organizations have the skilled personnel or have been doing COBOL and mainframe training longer or better than SYS-ED.

Courseware Superior by Design

The course workbooks and training aids included in SYS-ED COBOL instructor-led and distance-learning training services are highly respected. SYS-ED courseware extends the source vendor documentation with an examination of program logic, diagrams and sample programs which have been validated on consulting projects. Up to date information on COBOL and examples in interrelated areas of information technology - WebSphere MQ, VSAM, CICS Transaction Server, and DB2 are provided. And with the hybrid implementations of IBM systems software, reference material which ďexplains and demonstratesĒ is fundamental to an effective learning experience.

Upon completion of a instructor-led course at the client location, it is standard policy to organize subject matter for future utilization in a web-based training infrastructure.

Courseware for Teaching

The Computer Education Techniques courseware used in SYS-ED courses consists of student handouts, training aids, and industry-specific exercises. The CETi knowledge base aggregates and analyzes information in the public domain. It also is a service for reviewing and answering questions. Content is selectively added to courseware. The long term strategy is to have our courseware recognized as a NRV: Nationally Recognized Vendor.

COBOL Training Services

COBOL Language and Application Development
Programming Skills Mainframe Utilities

CICS Transaction Server and Utilities
IMS DB DL/1 - Hierarchical Database and Utilities
DB2/SQL Programming

WebSphere MQ WebSphere and Rational
Web-based Training Services

Technology Driven IT Training

Teaching Models Return on Investment

Web-based Training Services

Professional Distance-learning Service


SYS-ED's distance-learning training service is 65% lecture with the remaining 35% of the service provided in the form of scheduled interactive question and answer sessions with a subject matter expert, hands-on exercises, optional validation assessment, and submission of questions through our technology exchange websites.

New York State Department of Education Standards 

Enrollment is contingent upon the prospective trainee's having been qualified by our Director of Education to have the appropriate background for the training and review of a checklist of items required for transmission of the service to the client location: bandwidth, firewall, base operating system, software requirements, web browser, and set-up of hands-on machine exercises.

Alternative web-based and e-learning training is available: self-paced, presentation through the client's authoring system, or podcast. These tailored services are offered selectively.

Courseware as Learning Center - Delivery Medium

Structured COBOL COBOL Programming COBOL Programming - Intermediate COBOL Debugging with Abend-AID
COBOL Programming - Advanced COBOL Programming - Review Enterprise COBOL VSAM for Programmers

Grow Your Own COBOL Programmers

Over the past year, we have had a number of inquiries regarding whether SYS-ED still offered COBOL courses for information technology professionals.

The typical comments were:

1. That it is extremely difficult to find COBOL training which provides the foundation and develops the specialized skills needed for specific development and maintenance tasks.
2. That there is a scarcity of fast-track COBOL courses, week long in duration, geared to corporations and their employees.
3. That a high percentage of COBOL courses are cancelled.
4. That travel costs and living expenses in a majority of situations are a significant constraint when it comes to attending a COBOL course.
5. That it is important to have a resource for asking COBOL questions once the programming language course is complete.
In response to these questions:
COBOL Training Services Yes, SYS-ED offers specialized COBOL training: basic, advanced, debugging, enterprise, and tailored modules.
COBOL Training Services Yes, since 1980, SYS-ED has taught fast-track COBOL courses and integrated COBOL training programs.
COBOL Training Services Yes, we have the flexibility and resources to provide personalized training for small groups. We very rarely cancel COBOL courses.
COBOL Training Services COBOL courses are available in multiple formats: classroom, distance-learning and blended web-based delivery.
COBOL Training Services Upon completion of a SYS-ED course, our staff is available to answer COBOL questions.
SYS-ED has been conducting courses in the public domain since 1980; however, there have been changes in the laws and regulations governing computer training in the state of New York. The schedule on our websites reflects a projected time frame for licensure with the New York State Department of Education - Bureau of Proprietary School Supervision and submission and approval of curriculum. It will be updated quarterly.

News for Immediate Release!

Consulting companies recommend SYS-ED in conjunction with distance-learning for z/OS mainframe programming skills, legacy programming languages and web enablement training.

COBOL Training Program - z/OS Skills and Web Enablement

All IT personnel will need to learn new skills for the z/OS environment in order to implement the next generation of technologies. In general these skills will be both a new and better way of doing something that they knew how to do before. Training will cut across generations - some very experiencedpeople will be learning web enablement technologies; while first generation IT staff will be using ISPF, JCL, and ďtried and testedĒ mainframe programming languages, such as COBOL and IBM systems software for the first time.

The tailored COBOL training programs will reflect and incorporate COBOL Debugging, Enterprise COBOL, and optionally OOPs. The instruction will utilize the full complement of training methodologies to address the client's operational objectives, the geographic location of the audience, as well as scheduling and class size requirements.

There is a training plan for mainframe and operating system concepts, operations fundamentals, and application development - legacy programming languages, web enablement, and selected topics.

Program for Client A: Mainframe Training Services

  • Distance-learning will be used for introductory training for personnel, most operator training, and programmer training on selected subjects.
  • SYS-ED will be used for their 5-day z/OS JCL, 5-day COBOL Programming, 5-day COBOL Programming - Advanced, and 3-day Enterprise COBOL courses.
  • IBM Education Center offerings will be used for specialized systems programmer training.

Twelve programmers and eight people from technical support will complete the distance-learning training and then take the SYS-ED instructor-led courses. Based upon feedback from this group, adjustments will be made as needed.

On a long range basis, we plan that all of the programmers and operators will be trained in both z/OS and the new web technologies essential to SOA: Service Oriented Architecture during the period January through June. The exact schedule will depend on the workloads of staff members. The core system programmer education will be completed during this period, although specialized courses may be taken later in the year.

Evolving IT - Interrelated Technologies

Training on IBM mainframe systems and more specifically programming languages and system software is more complex and challenging than ever before. The business and training as usual mainframe paradigm no longer can be simply applied. In the 21st century, organizationís have a huge investment in a working infrastructure. However, there are new web server and web enabled technologies which require for the most part development from scratch and/or integration with the mainframe and client/server systems and enterprise databases. There are long term implications regarding strategies for upgrading the legacy applications, many now 30 or more years of age, while retrofitting and transitioning to the new technologies which for the most part are significantly better than the programming languages developed in the 1960ís and 1970ís. Moreover, for the first time in modern information technology, there are demographic issues which have to be addressed. The original work force who coded, maintained, and documented the legacy applications are reaching retirement age and there is a need for qualified personnel. Very few colleges, universities, or junior colleges offer training on legacy programming languages and IBM system software.

SYS-ED trained a significant number of the first generation of mainframe DP personnel. And look forward to training their IT successors in the 21st century.

Web Servers WebSphere MQ Middleware Internet Programming and Mobile Devices

COBOL Training Services

COBOL Courses
SYS-ED's COBOL courses are tough, but they're worth it. Our challenging "hands-on" COBOL training provides a foundation and framework for Fortune 1000 companies, government municipalities, healthcare providers, software houses, and consulting companies to meet their COBOL staffing requirements and acquire specialized COBOL skillsets. 1

SYS-ED's mainframe courseware is highly respected. We draw upon our extensive library of courseware, sample programs, and case studies to explain, demonstrate, and teach the real world COBOL. Our COBOL curricula include industry standard and consultancy derived content. We have the capability to provide tailored workshops and integrated training programs on z/OS, z/VSE, z/VM, and third party emulation workbench/platforms.

Teaching is Our Business
Most computer training companies are divisions of large software companies or consulting companies. Not SYS-ED. Our only goal is to provide world class COBOL training for motivated IT professionals - no more and no less. Because we're independent, we're free to concentrate on teaching - and since 1980 we have been doing it very well.

Our Teachers Know How to Teach
SYS-ED instructors combine teaching skills with broad practical experience as consultants. Our instructors average 30 years of experience with COBOL in the mainframe environment - operating systems, programming languages, 3rd party utilities/development aids, and system software. And they know how to teach it. We teach not only "how to", but "why", building a solid foundation in fundamentals and insights into advanced subject matter. After a course, they are available to answer questions.

Enrollment - SYS-ED COBOL Courses are Not for Everyone
No one is allowed to enroll in a SYS-ED mainframe course, without a consultation with our Director of Education. We review the operational objectives and project specifications for the organization evaluating whether to send its employee for the training. The employee is only allowed to register if they have the background corresponding to the appropriate learning path.

COBOL Training - Distance-learning or at Your Office
SYS-ED COBOL courses are provided over the Internet through a distance-learning delivery medium or classroom instruction on-site at the client location. If you prefer, we'll arrange tailored mainframe training on-site at your organizationís facilities inclusive of mobile computer classroom set-up. On-site mainframe courses can include the identical workshops, case studies, and hands-on approach as the mainframe training offered through SYS-ED schedule.

Technology Exchange Websites

SYS-ED's websites compile, organize, and present software specific and established operational categorizations of information technology. They provide a framework for assessing knowledge transfer: web-based training, classroom instruction, courseware, learning paths, and validation assessment.

Footnote 1:

SYS-EDís core mainframe curriculum have been submitted to the New York State Department of Education - Bureau of Proprietary School Supervision for technical review and licensing.