Micro Focus Launches COBOL Code Contest Challenge

Student and community developers challenged to create COBOL centric video game

7 October 2013

As part of its Academic Program, Micro Focus (LSE: MCRO.L), a leading provider of enterprise application modernisation, testing and management solutions, is launching a global COBOL code contest. Student and community developers around the world are being challenged to design and develop a video game program using Micro Focus Visual COBOL Personal Edition, for the chance to win a cash prize of $1,000, an iPad Mini plus other great prizes. The winning game will also make a highlighted appearance in a future release of Visual COBOL.

Anyone who dabbles in coding, or who wants to break into code development, can take part in this competition. Contestants can create their entry based on any existing video game, like the COBOL Blitz version of Space Invaders, or invent a new game of their own. The core contest requirement is that the game must contain at least 50% Visual COBOL. By downloading a copy of Visual COBOL Personal Edition – the free version of this innovative programming language – developers can build their video game using the very latest modern IDE of their choice - Visual Studio or Eclipse. Contestants are also encouraged to be creative, combining other programing languages or technologies with Visual COBOL to deliver a real game-changing experience.

The contest judging will take place between close on December 17 2013 and January 20 2014, with winners announced in late January, 2014. Competition entries will be judged by Micro Focus on a number of criteria including creativity, function, capability, experience and core technology requirements. Participants can also show off their work on the COBOL Community Forum to garner support and feedback on their entries. Full terms and conditions for the contest can be found here.

Commenting on the value of the COBOL code contest, Michael Coughlan, Lecturer at University of Limerick said: "COBOL supports 90% of Fortune 500 business systems and many organizations will continue to use it for decades to come. Students who wish to work in enterprise environments need a mixed skill-set, combining experience in modern programing languages with knowledge of enterprise applications written in older languages such as COBOL. Competitions like this help to encourage an interest in COBOL and allow enthusiastic students to gain experience with the language that may prove a useful differentiator when seeking employment in an increasingly competitive job market."

"Since expanding our Academic Program earlier this year in support of the academic institutes, business organizations and student community, we continue our commitment to bridging the IT skills gap and building the next generation of COBOL developers. Since the rebirth of this program, we have seen a real upsurge in academic participants," said Kevin Brearley, Senior Director of Product Management at Micro Focus. "An additional 44 universities around the globe have signed up to participate in our program – a membership increase of 26% - proving that COBOL has its place in the classroom and remains an importance component of the academic curriculum."

In support of the Academic Program, Micro Focus representatives will be guest lecturing this semester at the University of Limerick, Ireland; Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo, Brazil and Mackenzie Presbyterian University in São Paulo, Brazil.

More details and entry to the code contest can be found here: www.microfocus.com/codecontest.

Notes to Editors

A poll of academic leaders from 119 universities across the world in February 2013 saw more than half (58%) say they believed COBOL programming should be on their curriculum, with 54% estimating the demand for COBOL programming skills would increase or stay the same over the next 10 years. That’s a far cry from today’s reality. Of the 27% confirming COBOL programming was part of their curriculum; only 18% had it as a core part of the course, while the remaining 9% made it an elective component.

  • COBOL in demand:
  • COBOL supports 90% of Fortune 500 business systems every day
  • 70% of all critical business logic and data is written in COBOL
  • COBOL connects 500 million mobile phone users every day
  • COBOL applications manage the care of 60 million patients every day
  • COBOL powers 85% of all daily business transactions processed
  • COBOL applications move 72,000 shipping containers every day and process 85% of port transactions
  • 95% of all ATM transactions use COBOL
  • COBOL enables 96,000 vacations to be booked every year
  • COBOL powers 80% of all point-of-sale transactions
  • There are 200 more COBOL transactions per day than Google + You Tube searches worldwide
  • $2 trillion worth of mainframe applications in corporations are written in COBOL
  • 1.5 million new lines of COBOL code are written every day
  • 5 billion lines of new COBOL code are developed every year
  • The total investment in COBOL technologies, staff and hardware is estimated at $5 trillion
  • An estimated 2 million people are currently working in COBOL


Sources: Aberdeen Group; Giga Information Group; Database & Network Journal; The COBOL Report; SearchEngineWatch.com; Tactical Strategy Group; The Future of COBOL Report.


About Micro Focus

Micro Focus, a member of the FTSE 250, provides innovative software that allows companies to dramatically improve the business value of their enterprise applications. Micro Focus Enterprise Application Modernization, Testing and Management software enables customers' business applications to respond rapidly to market changes and embrace modern architectures with reduced cost and risk. For additional information please visit www.microfocus.com.

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About the Micro Focus Academic Program

The Academic Program supports new and existing university IT programs to meet the demands of today’s business organizations, facilitates greater collaboration between businesses and academic communities and provides an interface through which existing students can connect with prospective employers seeking COBOL based development skills.

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