Monday, August 18, 2008

Business Technology : Making Sense of Spaghetti Code

A timely reality check...

One poster child for old-code problems is the state of California. When Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger recently ordered that state workers’ pay be cut to the minimum wage during stalled budget talks, Controller John Chiang said no–because there aren’t enough programmers who know the Cobol language used in the state’s payroll software.

Young technicians, raised on videogames and drag-and-drop programming, are not about to manually type in Cobol instructions. “It’s not that you couldn’t find people smart enough to do it,” Wood says. “You can’t find people who would want to.”

Business Technology : Making Sense of Spaghetti Code

1 comment:

Richard Schwartz said...

Complete and utter nonsense.

First of all, they could outsource it to any number of countries if there weren't enough COBOL programmers here. But there are still plenty of people here with the skills. Y2K wasn't that long ago. Mountains of COBOL had to be updated for that, and we haven't had a mass retirement, mass senility, or mass die-off of COBOL programmers that I'm aware of in the last 8 years.

It's all about compensation. Programmers have come to realize that they are likely to be treated as commodities and be outsourced of downsized at any moment. If you want someone to work in a technology that clearly has no future, you have to pay enough to keep him from moving on.

There's no such thing as a labor shortage. There's only a shortage at a given price.