Mastering the Mainframe

The Stack Overflow Podcast

On this week's episode, we chat with JJ Asghar and Elizabeth K Joseph, two developer advocates from IBM who work with COBOL on a regular basis. COBOL programmers are in high demand as unemployment systems across at least a dozen US states have crashed under heavy demand. JJ and Elizabeth not only know how to use COBOL, but how to integrate it with modern tools and frameworks.

JJ came to our attention when we saw a tweet about his work to get an ETL pipeline with COBOL running on Kubernetes.

Elizabeth comes from the world of Linux Systems Administration, but more recently has been working on COBOL and mainframe computing. She tells us that there is actually a cohort of college students actively learning and using COBOL, both for competitions like Mastering the Mainframe, but also because it's a language that can attract a high paying job at a number of big banks, healthcare providers, and government institutions.

You can find JJ on Twitter here and on Github here. Prior to IBM he was a partner architect at Chef Software.

You can read more about Elizabeth on her website,, and yes, we are going to have her back on the podcast in the future to talk about how and when she got that domain name.

If you're interested in learning COBOL, a ton of resources are available here.

As always, don't forget about the upcoming charity event, DevAroundTheSun, which is bringing together a lot of cool developers for talks and activities, with proceeds going to support those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Audio Player