Introduction to COBOL Programming

This course provides application developers with basic knowledge in developing COBOL programs in a mainframe environment. It is designed for both new and experienced programmers. They will learn as much COBOL in 1 week to make them instantly productive in maintaining changes or writing new programs. Students will have hands on workshops of programs to code, test, and compile for report writing and file processing.

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Course Days: 5

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Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Code and test COBOL batch programs
  • Understand the principles and practices of “Structured Coding”
  • Be able to create reports and process input and output files
  • Code table array handling. Search table arrays.
  • Understand keyed and non-keyed (sequential) files
  • Understand the more common ABENDS that may occur and how to handle them
  • Review file status codes. Review COBOL standards and guidelines (Best Practices)


Application programmers who want to learn COBOL.


Familiarity with z/OS JCL, TSO/ISPF and z/OS Utilities and a programming background is preferred.


  1. COBOL Essentials
    • What is COBOL
    • COBOL history
    • ‘Hello World’ program
    • Operating systems for IBM mainframes
  2. COBOL Overview
    • COBOL preparation steps. Compile and Link
    • COBOL advantages/limitations
    • COBOL program divisions
    • COBOL columns and margins
    • COBOL Syntax
  3. COBOL Definitions
    • Divisions in detail
    • Describing file definitions (FD)
    • Describing fields
    • Level numbers
    • Picture clauses
    • USAGE numeric clause
    • Value clause
    • Group and elementary items
    • Copy statement
    • Compile Process
  4. Procedure Division
    • Open / Close files
    • COBOL Accept statement
    • Current date
    • COBOL display
    • Move statement
    • Goback / Stop Run
  5. Editing and Branching
    • Structured vs non structures coding
    • Perform statement
    • If-Then-Else logic
    • Evaluate statement
  6. Testing and Debugging
    • Testing strategies
    • Compiler listings
    • ABENDS
    • Display statement
  7. Structured COBOL
    • Sequence, selection, iteration
    • Sub programs
    • Readability
    • COBOL programming standards and guidelines
  8. COBOL Reports
    • Report
    • Break Logic
    • Report output lines
    • Redefines, Inspect, String commands
    • Line counters
    • Page counters
    • Switch logic
    • Report line carriage control
  9. Arithmetic Statements and Intrinsic Functions
    • Coding arithmetic statements
      • Compute statements
      • Arithmetic expressions
      • Add and Subtract statements
      • Multiply and Divide statements
    • On size Error handling
  10. Working with Characters
    • Reference modification
    • Functions for working with characters
    • String statements
    • Unstring statement
    • Inspect statement
      • With the Tallying clause
      • With the Replacing clause
      • With the Tallying and Replacing clauses
      • With the Converting clause
    • Two illustrative routines
      • An editing routine
      • A conversion routine
  11. Table Handling
    • What is a table
    • What is the OCCURS clause
    • Tables and Redefines
    • Initializing a table
    • Loading a table
    • Searching a table
    • Using subscripts
    • One dimensional tables
  12. Testing and Debugging
    • Testing Strategies
    • Compiler Listings
    • Usefulness of listings with abends
    • System Abends (SOC1, SOC4, SOC7)
    • User Abends
  13. Structured Program Development
    • Program specifications
    • Pseudo code
    • Analyze
    • Design
    • Code
    • Compile
    • Test
    • Document
    • Test plan

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