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Discover the top reasons for hiring experienced COBOL developers and how FireHire can help you connect with the best talent in the industry.

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Four Reasons to Hire COBOL Developers


Proven Reliability

COBOL developers are highly sought after for their experience and reliability in handling complex business operations. Developed more than six decades ago, COBOL has been the backbone of many financial institutions, government agencies, and large corporations. This means hiring a COBOL developer connects your business with professionals who are experienced in managing large-scale, mission-critical applications. Their expertise helps ensure that your systems are efficient and reliable, reducing downtime and maintaining security. Your business can trust these developers to maintain the integrity of long-standing systems, minimizing the need for constant troubleshooting while ensuring seamless operations.


Cost-Effective Legacy Maintenance

Maintaining and updating legacy systems can often be more cost-effective than completely overhauling them with newer technologies. COBOL developers bring specialized skills in managing and seamlessly integrating updates into existing systems without extensive rework. This reduces the cost and effort associated with migrating to entirely new platforms. Their familiarity with COBOL codes helps in extending the lifecycle of legacy systems, thus ensuring that the existing investments in infrastructure and software are maximized. Having such expertise on board means you can continue to leverage functional, established systems while remaining competitive in an increasingly digital marketplace.


Seamless Integration

COBOL developers excel in creating systems that easily integrate with newer technologies and platforms. Despite being an older language, COBOL’s robustness makes it adaptable to modern-day requirements like distributed databases and cloud applications. By integrating COBOL with newer technologies, businesses can continue maximizing their existing systems while enjoying the productivity benefits of newer solutions. This hybrid approach ensures the continuity of business operations and allows for gradual, well-managed modernization, making the transition smoother for all involved. Ultimately, seamless integration by experienced COBOL developers helps in achieving a balanced, efficient, and technologically-updated business environment.


Scarcity Equals Value

The relatively small pool of experienced COBOL developers adds a unique value to their skill set. As the industry’s demand for these specialists continues to rise, businesses that secure top-tier COBOL talent stand out. Their rare expertise helps solve critical challenges that few others can handle effectively. By hiring a COBOL developer, you invest in a skill that remains crucial for maintaining and progressing vital systems around the world. Their specialized abilities mean fewer disruptions to your operations and more reliable performance from your essential applications. Businesses that value and utilize these rare skill sets gain a competitive advantage in maintaining operational excellence.


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Comprehensive Guide to Hiring Senior COBOL Developers

In the realm of enterprise software development, COBOL remains a cornerstone for many organizations. If you're looking to hire COBOL developers for your team, this guide offers an in-depth analysis and valuable insights on the subject.

Benefits of COBOL Development

COBOL, or 'Common Business-Oriented Language,' may sound archaic to some, but its value can't be overstated. Let's take a look at the benefits of COBOL development:

  • Mature Technology: With over six decades of evolution, COBOL has proven its reliability in enterprise environments.

  • Large Codebase: Many legacy systems, especially in banking and insurance sectors, still run on COBOL. This means a wealth of existing code to work with, simplifying maintenance tasks.

  • Performance: COBOL applications are optimized for high-volume transactions and have excellent performance metrics.

  • Longevity: COBOL code tends to have an extremely long lifecycle, further justifying investments in the language.

  • Integration Capabilities: Modern frameworks allow COBOL to integrate with newer technologies, ensuring its relevance in the current tech ecosystem.

Top Frameworks and Advantages

When looking to hire COBOL developers, knowing the top frameworks and their advantages can be a game-changer. Here are some key frameworks:

  • Micro Focus Visual COBOL: This modern framework offers an integrated development environment and supports cloud deployment, making it easier to maintain and modernize COBOL applications.

  • IBM Enterprise COBOL: This framework is widely used in enterprise environments. It offers robust performance optimization and support services, ensuring high-quality maintenance of legacy systems.

  • GnuCOBOL: An open-source option that allows easy integration with C programs, providing flexibility and scalability for varied projects.

Each of these frameworks has unique features, but they all focus on modernizing COBOL development, enabling better performance, and offering integration with current technologies.

Comparing COBOL with Other Programming Languages

COBOL has unique offerings compared to other languages, particularly in enterprise contexts. Here's a comparison:

  • COBOL vs. Java: Java is versatile and widely used in web applications and modern enterprise solutions, but COBOL excels in handling large-scale financial transactions. Java offers more flexibility, while COBOL provides unmatched stability and performance for financial sectors.

  • COBOL vs. Python: Python is known for its simplicity and quick development cycles, making it ideal for startups and web development. COBOL, on the other hand, is optimized for mainframe systems and high-transaction environments, making it irreplaceable in certain industries.

  • COBOL vs. C++: While C++ is favored in system software development for its high performance, COBOL is the go-to for business applications requiring detailed data processing capabilities.

Roles and Responsibilities of a Senior COBOL Developer

To hire COBOL developers, understanding their roles and responsibilities is crucial. Here’s what a senior COBOL developer typically handles:

  • Maintain Legacy Systems: They ensure that existing COBOL applications are functioning efficiently and make necessary updates.

  • Debug and Optimize: They use various debugging tools and techniques to enhance the performance of COBOL applications.

  • Integration: They work on integrating COBOL applications with newer technologies, ensuring seamless operations.

  • Documentation: They maintain comprehensive documentation for existing systems and new developments, aiding in future maintenance efforts.

  • Team Collaboration: They often work closely with project managers, QA teams, and other stakeholders to deliver high-quality software solutions.

Skills to Look for in a Senior COBOL Developer

When you set out to hire COBOL developers, specific skills are essential for ensuring top-notch performance:

  • Proficiency in COBOL: In-depth knowledge of COBOL syntax, commands, and industrial applications.

  • Mainframe Experience: Hands-on experience with mainframe systems such as IBM z/OS and similar platforms.

  • Integration Skills: Ability to integrate COBOL applications with modern software solutions, including APIs and web services.

  • Debugging and Performance Optimization: Skillful in identifying and resolving performance issues, ensuring high efficiency.

  • Soft Skills: Strong problem-solving skills, attention to detail, and the ability to work in a team environment.

  • Knowledge of Database Systems: Familiarity with database management systems used in conjunction with COBOL applications.

These skills collectively ensure that your development team will be adept and efficient in managing and advancing COBOL projects.

Tips for Job Description to Hire Senior COBOL Developers

Crafting an effective job description is essential when aiming to hire COBOL developers. Here are some key points for a comprehensive job description:

  • Clear Job Title: Use a straightforward title like 'Senior COBOL Developer' to avoid ambiguity.

  • Detailed Responsibilities: Clearly outline the specific tasks the developer will be responsible for, such as maintaining legacy systems, integrating with contemporary technologies, and optimizing performance.

  • Required Skills: List essential technical skills and soft skills necessary for the role. Mention any specific experience with mainframe systems or particular frameworks.

  • Experience Level: Specify the number of years of relevant experience required, ensuring that candidates are aware of the expected proficiency level.

  • Company Culture: Describe your company's culture and team environment to provide potential candidates a feel for what working at your organization would be like.


Hiring COBOL developers can be a challenging but rewarding endeavor. Choosing to hire COBOL developers through FireHire brings several advantages. With our Senior Vetted Devs Delivery and Staff Augmentation services, you gain access to top-notch talent, speeding up your hiring processes while ensuring high quality. Our Risk-Free Hiring and Efficient Process guarantee satisfaction and quick onboarding. Partner with FireHire for all your COBOL development needs and see the transformative impact on your projects.

COBOL Interview Questions And Answers

Top 5 Technical Interview Questions to ask when Hiring a COBOL Developer:


What does COBOL stand for?

COBOL stands for Common Business-Oriented Language. It is primarily used in business, finance, and administrative systems.


Explain the basic structure of a COBOL program.



What are data types in COBOL?

COBOL primarily has three data types: Numeric, Alphanumeric, and Alphabetic. Numeric types store numbers, Alphanumeric can store both letters and numbers, and Alphabetic types store letters only.


What is a PIC clause in COBOL?

A PIC clause (Picture clause) defines the general characteristics and editing of the data item. For example, PIC X(10) means a field can store an alphanumeric string of up to 10 characters.


How do you declare a variable in COBOL?

You declare a variable in the DATA DIVISION using a level number, a data name, a PIC clause, and an optional initial VALUE.


Frequently Asked Questions

How much do COBOL developers get paid?

COBOL developers' salaries can vary widely based on experience and location. On average, they earn between $80,000 and $120,000 annually in the United States. Highly experienced developers or those working in specialized sectors may command higher salaries. Freelance COBOL developers may have hourly rates starting from $45. Read more

Are COBOL programmers still in demand?

Yes, COBOL programmers remain in high demand, particularly in sectors relying on legacy systems, such as finance, government, and healthcare. The need to maintain, update, and integrate these critical systems ensures that skilled COBOL developers remain valuable assets. Read more

How old is the average COBOL programmer?

The average age of COBOL programmers tends to be higher than developers in more modern languages, often between 50 and 60 years old. This reflects the language's longevity and the enduring expertise of its practitioners, many of whom have decades of experience. Read more

Why using FireHire for hiring COBOL developers is the best choice?

FireHire connects businesses with pre-vetted, senior-level COBOL developers, ensuring quality and expertise. With a network of over 1600 talents, we provide a wide range of tech skills and offer a 30-day risk-free replacement guarantee. Our efficient process means your new team member is on board within an average of 5 days, saving you time and effort in the hiring process.



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Sarah is a seasoned COBOL developer adept at optimizing legacy systems and ensuring data integrity. She has a knack for debugging complex code and streamlining processes.


Senior COBOL Developer

12 Years


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Mark specializes in integrating COBOL applications with modern technologies, maintaining efficiency and reliability. His expertise includes extensive work in banking and financial systems.

15 Years



Senior COBOL Developer

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John is proficient in managing large-scale COBOL systems and enhancing their performance. He excels in project management and leading development teams to successful project completions.

10 Years



Senior COBOL Developer

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Hiring COBOL developers is a strategic decision for businesses reliant on robust, longstanding systems. Their expertise ensures reliability, cost-effective maintenance, seamless integration with new technologies, and unique value due to their specialized skill set. FireHire stands out as a premier choice for connecting with these indispensable professionals, offering a streamlined and risk-free hiring process.


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