COBOL programming: fundamentals course

At the end of this course, the participant:

  • knows the complete COBOL syntax;
  • is able to develop, debug and execute COBOL programs.

This course is also available as two separate modules: COBOL programming - part 1 and COBOL programming - part 2


No public sessions are currently scheduled. We will be pleased to set up an on-site course or to schedule an extra public session (in case of a sufficient number of candidates). Interested? Please let us know.

Intended for

Programmers who are going to write programs in COBOL.


Programming experience (Programming fundamentals). Some familiarity with an MVS/ISPF environment is desirable (ISPF/PDF basics). You can test yourself to see if you have enough ISPF background by filling out the online selftest.

Main topics

  • Basic structure of a COBOL program:
  • 4 divisions • sections, paragraphs and sentences.
  • compile • link-edit • execution.
  • Variables, computing and data editing:
  • detailed discussion on the declaration of variables.
  • special instructions on calculations.
  • data editing.
  • Conditional programming:
  • statements that might influence the flow of the program.
  • Treatment of files:
  • use of several kind of files in Cobol • error handling.
  • Table treatment:
  • single and multiple dimensional arrays • index • SEARCH.
  • External submodules:
  • description of the necessary requirements of main and submodules.
  • static and dynamic linking.
  • Advanced topics:
  • working with copybooks.
  • nesting of programs
  • pointers in COBOL
  • advanced use of files.

Training method

Classroom instruction. 70% of the time is spent on programming exercises.


5 days.

Course leader

Peter Vanroose.