When I joined my company, I discovered an entirely new world: back-end applications are often written in COBOL and they run on mainframe – I admit that was quite a surprise for me at the time. It took me a while to understand and acknowledge the importance of COBOL and, to an extent, its irreplaceability. Taking my company as an example, we have hundreds of thousands of COBOL files that are essential to supporting our business, and that is hardly an exception. Most transactions across the industry are run on mainframes and the dominant language by far is COBOL. The world is run by COBOL!
COBOL is now 60 years old — whoa! And it is far from disappearing. This is impressive. I got intrigued and could not comprehend how this language became so dominant. I started looking into the history and I was even more amazed: COBOL was designed by a small team led by Grace Hopper. She popularized the idea of a machine independent language, and she believed programs should be written in plain English. Therefore, even though I am not a COBOL specialist, I can understand COBOL code and perform changes as needed. Thank you, Grace!
In my little research, I stumbled upon another interesting person — one of the members of Grace Hopper’s team, Jean E. Sammet. So not only the leader of the COBOL team was a woman! Jean was one of the key developers who designed the COBOL language. I could not be more wrong thinking that women have only recently started entering the world of IT and only slowly started gaining ground. The foundations were laid down much earlier. Same as I am today, Jean E. Sammet was in her early thirties when she participated in this adventure. That’s exciting! Looking at her achievement, and what she left us as heritage, I feel both humbled and empowered.
Jean E. Sammet, was born on March 23rd 1928, so she would have turned 91 years old Saturday. Happy Birthday, Jean!
Michelle is a persona we use at Broadcom MF Business Unit to help us design the next generation of user experience for our Development tools.
Watch this video to learn more about Michelle: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9V5xGAnxEKs