How to get started with COBOL (on a Mac)

Hussein Esmail
2 min readApr 21, 2020
COBOL Example

So you want to get started with COBOL. I wouldn’t blame you. Today with all the pandemic stuff going on, it’s good for people to keep busy. It’s also nice because there are less and less people who know COBOL, and many systems depend on it. Just a while ago basically every company is trying to get COBOL programmers (see here and here)

What is COBOL?
COBOL stands for Common Business-Oriented Language. It is mainly used in businesses, finance, and governments.

How to install COBOL on your Mac:

1. Open Terminal.
2. If you don’t have Homebrew installed, see this link to install it:
3. Install Gnu-cobol with this command: brew install gnu-cobol
4. Other places might say to install OpenCobolIde with Python, but that didn’t work out too well for me. I downloaded a specific version from this webpage. Just make sure you download a version that works with your OS.
5. Install OpenCobolIde from your downloaded installer.
6. Now you have a working COBOL IDE on your system!

If you want to find resources where you can learn COBOL, you can look on YouTube, course websites, and looking up articles and free books online, and borrowing books from your local library.