COBOL Programming 101: A Free YouTube Course for Beginners.
7 min readMay 25, 2023
COBOL Complete Reference Course.


In the world of programming languages, COBOL has stood the test of time, proving its longevity and reliability in the realm of business and finance. Despite being one of the oldest programming languages, COBOL continues to play a crucial role in powering critical systems worldwide.

If you’re new to COBOL or looking to enhance your skills, we have the perfect resource for you.

In this article, we’ll introduce you to a comprehensive COBOL Programming 101 course available for free on YouTube and an advanced version on Udemy and Tutorialpoint. Whether you’re a budding programmer or an experienced developer, this course will provide you with a solid foundation in COBOL.

What is COBOL and Why it’s relevant today?

COBOL, which stands for Common Business-Oriented Language, was developed in the late 1950s and early 1960s with the aim of creating a programming language specifically tailored for business applications. It was designed to be easily readable and understandable by both programmers and non-programmers. COBOL’s English-like syntax and structure make it accessible, even to those without extensive programming experience.

COBOL remains relevant in today’s technological landscape for several reasons:

  • Legacy Systems: Numerous critical business systems and applications were developed using COBOL several decades ago. These systems continue to handle essential functions, such as financial transactions, insurance claims processing, and government operations. Rewriting or replacing these systems entirely would be costly, time-consuming, and risky. Therefore, organizations rely on COBOL to maintain and enhance their existing legacy systems.
  • Stability and Reliability: COBOL has a proven track record of stability and reliability. It has been extensively tested and optimized over the years, making it well-suited for handling large-scale transaction processing and data manipulation tasks. The language’s robustness and error-handling capabilities contribute to its continued usage in critical business operations.
  • Industry Adoption: COBOL remains prevalent in industries such as banking, insurance, government, and healthcare, where long-established systems continue to operate reliably. These industries require skilled COBOL programmers to maintain and enhance their existing applications. Consequently, there is a consistent demand for COBOL professionals, to provide job security and career opportunities.
  • Data Processing: COBOL’s strength lies in its ability to handle large volumes of data efficiently. In industries that deal with extensive data processing, such as finance and insurance, COBOL’s optimized data manipulation capabilities make it a practical choice. Its compatibility with mainframe systems further solidifies its position as a reliable language for data-intensive operations.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: COBOL’s continued relevance is also driven by its cost-effectiveness. Organizations can leverage their existing COBOL codebase, minimizing the need for a complete system overhaul. The language’s simplicity and readability allow for easy maintenance and debugging, reducing development and support costs.
  • Integration with Modern Technologies: COBOL can coexist with modern technologies and frameworks. Rather than replacing COBOL entirely, organizations often opt for modernization strategies that involve integrating COBOL applications with newer systems. This allows for a gradual transition, preserving the functionality and investment in existing COBOL applications while leveraging the benefits of modern technologies.

COBOL’s relevance stems from its usage in critical legacy systems, its stability and reliability, industry adoption, data processing capabilities, cost-effectiveness, and compatibility with modernization strategies. As long as these systems continue to operate, the demand for COBOL skills and expertise will persist.

Learning COBOL can offer long-term career prospects and opportunities for professionals in various industries.
Udemy: COBOL Complete Reference Course.

COBOL Complete Reference Course Highlights.

Course content


  • Welcome.
  • Prerequisite for the Course.
  • How to use the exercise and practice file.

Getting Started.

  • Introduction to IBM Mainframe.
  • What is JCL?
  • How to set up COBOL Environment — Write, Compile, and Execute.

Introduction to COBOL.

  • What is COBOL?
  • Features of COBOL.
  • History of COBOL.
  • Why does COBOL Dominates Enterprise Computing?
  • Future of COBOL.

COBOL Fundamentals.

  • Programs vs OS programs vs application programs.
  • Characters in COBOL.
  • Components of COBOL.
  • Reserved Words in COBOL.
  • COBOL Coding rules and guidelines.
  • Data Types in COBOL.
  • COBOL Program Structure Overview.
  • Identification Division in COBOL.
  • Environment Division in COBOL.
  • Data Division in COBOL.
  • Procedure Division in COBOL.
  • Hyphens in Paragraphs, and Variables Names in COBOL
  • Define a Data-name/Variable in COBOL.
  • COBOL Group item.
  • COBOL Initialize Statement.
  • COBOL Like Statement.
  • COBOL Level 88 Clause (SWITCH).
  • COBOL Redefines Statement.
  • COBOL Renames Statement.
  • COBOL Accept Statement.
  • COBOL Display Statement
  • Let’s write a Hello World COBOL Program.
  • 1. Demo Class: Introduction to COBOL Programming: Overview and Basics.
  • COBOL Fundamentals Quiz: Gauge Your Understanding.

Understanding Loop Constructs in COBOL.

  • Logical Control Structure in COBOL.
  • COBOL Perform Statement.
  • COBOL If Then Else Endif Statements.
  • COBOL Evaluate Statement.
  • COBOL GOTO Statement.
  • COBOL CONTINUE VS NEXT SENTENCE (i.e., Control Break Processing).
  • 2. Demo Class: Mastering Control Structures in COBOL.
  • Quiz Time: COBOL Loops.

String Manipulation Operations in COBOL.

  • COBOL Text Manipulation.
  • COBOL String Statement.
  • COBOL Unstring Statement.
  • COBOL Inspect Statement.
  • COBOL Reference Modification Statement.
  • 3. Demo Class: Mastering COBOL String Manipulation.
  • Quiz Time: COBOL String Handling.

Advanced COBOL Programming Techniques.

  • Call Statement in COBOL.
  • Copy Statement in COBOL.
  • Intrinsic Functions in COBOL.
  • 4. Demo Class: Master COBOL Call statements.
  • 5. Demo Class: Mastering Intrinsic Functions in COBOL.
  • Quiz Time: COBOL Program Invocation and Communication.

COBOL Table Handling: Mastering Data Arrays and Indexing.

  • Introduction to COBOL Tables.
  • Occurs Clause in COBOL.
  • Variable Length Table in COBOL.
  • SET Statement in COBOL.
  • COBOL Referring to an item in a table Subscript/Index.
  • What is the difference between subscript and Index.
  • COBOL Table — How to load data into a Table?
  • Search Statement in COBOL.
  • Search All Statement in COBOL.
  • SEARCH Vs SEARH ALL — Difference in COBOL.
  • 6. Demo Class: How to define and use the one-dimensional table?
  • 7. Demo Class: How to define and use the two-dimensional table in COBOL program?
  • 8. Demo Class: How to define and use variable length table.
  • Quiz Time: COBOL Table Handling.

COBOL Data Fields: Definition, Movement, and Usage Clause.

  • Move Statement in COBOL.
  • Numeric Move Rules and Example.
  • Nonnumeric or Alphanumeric Move Rules and Example.
  • COBOL USAGE and Data Format.
  • COBOL Usage Is Display.
  • COBOL Usage is Packed-decimal (COMP-3).
  • COBOL Usage is Computational (COMP).
  • COBOL Comp Sync Clause.
  • COBOL Blank When Zero Clause.
  • Defining Numeric Data — Sign Clause.
  • 9. DEMO Class: Mastering COBOL Data Fields: Definition, Movement, and Usage.
  • Quiz Time: COBOL Data Fields.

COBOL Arithmetic Operation / Calculation.

  • COBOL Arithmetic Operation Introduction.
  • Calculate the Size of receiving field.
  • Addition Statement in COBOL.
  • Subtract Statement in COBOL.
  • Divide Statement in COBOL.
  • Multiply Statement in COBOL.
  • Compute Statement in COBOL.
  • On Size Error in COBOL.
  • Rounded Option in COBOL.
  • 10. Demo Class: Mastering COBOL Arithmetic Operations.
  • 11. Demo Class: Mastering Numeric Operations and Exception Handling in COBOL.
  • Quiz Time: COBOL Arithmetic Operations.

File Management in COBOL.

  • COBOL File and Database Handling Overview.
  • FILE Organization and Access Mode in COBOL.
  • Select Statement in COBOL.
  • File Description (FD) Entries in COBOL.
  • Open Statement in COBOL.
  • Close Statement in COBOL.
  • Start Statement in COBOL.
  • Read Statement in COBOL.
  • How to work with Alternate Index?
  • Write Statement in COBOL.
  • Rewrite Statement in COBOL.
  • COBOL Delete Statement.
  • 12. Demo Class: — How to process Sequential file.
  • 13. Demo Class: How to process VSAM File or Indexed Sequential File.
  • Quiz Time: File Management in COBOL.

File Sorting and Merging in COBOL.

  • Sort Statement in COBOL.
  • Merge Statement in COBOL.
  • 14. Demo Class: Mastering File Sorting in COBOL.
  • 15. Demo Class: Mastering File Merging in COBOL.
  • Quiz Time: COBOL SORT and MERGE.

Compiling and Debugging COBOL program.

  • COBOL Compilation Process.
  • COBOL CICS Compilation Process.
  • COBOL DB2 Compilation Process.
  • COBOL Compiler Options.
  • Quiz Time: COBOL Compilation process.

Web Services Interface in COBOL.

  • COBOL Web Services Interface — Introduction.
  • Comparison of XML and JSON Formats for Web Services.
  • XML Parser and XML Generate Statements.
  • JSON Parser and JSON Generate Statement in COBOL.
  • 16. Demo Class: Web Services Integration in COBOL: A Hands-On Demo Class.
  • Quiz Time: XML and JSON Generation in COBOL.

How to design and structure a COBOL Program.

  • How to design a COBOL Program — Overview.
  • Hierarchy or structure chart.
  • How Programs Are Designed?
  • 17. Demo Class: Designing and Structuring COBOL Programs.
  • Quiz Time: COBOL Program Design and Structure.

Exception Handling in COBOL.

  • COBOL Declarative Statement.
  • Quiz Time: COBOL Declarative Statement.

Examples: COBOL Integration.

  • Example: COBOL CICS Program.
  • Example: COBOL DB2 Program.
  • Example: COBOL IMS Programs.

COBOL Interview Questions.

  • Mastering COBOL Interview Questions: Tips and Strategies for Success.

Project: Employee Report Generation using COBOL Program.

  • Employee Report Generation using COBOL Program from Input File.


· Thankyou!

Youtube: COBOL Programming 101 Course.


Whether you’re a beginner aiming to learn COBOL or a seasoned developer seeking to expand your programming skills, the COBOL Programming 101 course on YouTube is an excellent starting point. With its comprehensive coverage of COBOL basics, syntax, and practical examples, this course equips you with the knowledge needed to excel in COBOL programming.

Moreover, by exploring the related topics of training, legacy system modernization, consulting services, and optimization tools, you gain a holistic understanding of the COBOL ecosystem. To further enhance your expertise, consider exploring the COBOL Complete reference course available on Udemy, which delves deeper into advanced topics.

So, dive into the world of COBOL, and unlock a wealth of opportunities in the realm of business and finance!



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