COBOL programming - part 1

The training COBOL Programming is composed of 2 separate courses: in Part 1 the participant becomes familiar with the basic COBOL programming techniques, in Part 2 the more advanced topics are treated.

At the end of Part 1, the participant:

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

This course is also available as a combined course (Parts 1 and 2), see COBOL programming: fundamentals course.


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 simple programs in COBOL. For a more detailed knowledge of all the possibilities of the COBOL language (advanced file processing, COBOL tables, working with submodules, ...), we refer to Part 2 of this training (COBOL programming - part 2).


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 files in COBOL (input / output) • error handling.

Training method

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


3 days.

Course leader

Peter Vanroose.