May 21, 2020
By Todd Erickson
Educating young developers about the importance of legacy software applications, and building the tools needed to connect them with modern technologies are the keys to combining old-school reliability and new-school engineering say Bill and Eileen Hinshaw of COBOL Cowboys.
If you've followed the stories about the computer-system meltdowns brought about by the overwhelming demand for government financial assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic, then you've probably read about COBOL Cowboys.
The Hinshaw's founded the company to bring together experienced programmers and organizations that lack the expertise needed to fix and maintain their legacy applications.
When the system failures started, government officials were quick to blame their back-end mainframe applications, just as they did during the Y2K crisis. However, those same officials were forced to backtrack when Bill and others revealed that the mainframe applications were fine – it was the agency's infrastructure and front-end systems that caused the problems.
Bill and Eileen have done a number of interviews about the system failures, but now they want to talk about moving forward to ensure that these legacy systems are updated using modern technologies, so they don't get blamed for the next computer catastrophe.
That's where education and better tools come into play. Bill and Eileen say the good that's come from our current situation has been the increased public and industry awareness of how important legacy systems are to industries and companies around the world.
Their goal is to educate young software developers on the advantages of mainframe systems so more programmers will be interested in working with them and will replenish the declining workforce.
Learn more about the COBOL Cowboys and how critical mainframe applications are to the world in this Phase Change podcast.
Todd Erickson is a Technology Writer at Phase Change Software. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.