“Change or Die” is a common aphorism in the Information Technology Industry, however the truth is that some people did not change and they did not die. In fact, they make a wack of money maintaining legacy systems. I gleaned into this reality at a garage sale recently. A guy my age (late 40’s) was selling his late mom’s stuff, and I asked what he did. He replied “I’m a PLC programmer”. I scanned my memory banks and came up empty. “Logic controllers for industrial applications in super-markets and factories,” he replied. He smiled and said, “It’s easy. If-then statements, simple loops, and I make good money at it,” he said with a smile.
I looked up PCL (Processor Control Language) and saw that its been around since the late 1960’s so its uber-legacy. I wondered what the first programming language I was paid to code in was currently making and checked out what COBOL jobs are paying these days. At indeed.com the average is $88,000 USD!
I also wonder if this might be a track for Geezer Geeks who are despairing at breaking into the young hipster IT zone? Instead of getting botox and learning Node/AngularJS, I wonder if some should be re-learning COBOL or dare I say it … FORTRAN! … Saint Grace preserve us (That’s Grace in the photo; she invented COBOL and was an amazing lady from all accounts. I’d have loved to have met her).
I’m actually going to do some research into legacy IT since I think its a legit career track. No one cares, and in fact they expect that those caretaking some old DB2/COBOL system will be gray-beards. The odds some young wiz-kid will even want to compete for these jobs is somewhere between zero and zero.