[Java] A story about changing skills from COBOL cultivated for 5 years in the late twenties to Web-based languages

9 minute read

Hello! I’m Qiita’s first post (@k_eng_m). Below is a brief self-introduction.

  • 28 years old born in Tokyo
  • 6 years as an engineer from a liberal arts background -5 years COBOL at SIer company (experience all processes from requirement definition) -Java at SES Company 1 year

Most of the carriers have been involved in the development and maintenance of so-called host systems, which are the core systems of companies, using COBOL. Currently, SES companies are mainly working on Java, JavaScript (vue.js), AWS etc.

About a year has passed since the skill change, Today, I will leave a story about ** COBOL experience and inexperienced conversion to Web languages ** as an article.

I have some experience as an engineer, “I was using legacy languages such as VB and COBOL, but is it possible to change skills?” “Does the experience so far be useful after a skill change?” “Isn’t it too late from age XX?” Those who are thinking about such things as In addition, it would be greatly appreciated if those who are thinking about changing jobs with skill changes will add something to their own theory and experience.

Background and reason for skill change

I am a new graduate and got a job at a certain SIer company. It is a company that mainly develops and maintains financial projects and has a high social impact. When I first joined the company, I was confused by saying, “I will work hard and produce results!”

However, after a few years, the following complaints were born.

  • Coding is almost entirely left to the commissioner. Focusing on project coordination and management with customers.
  • Very long working time for document management (design documents, evidence) created in Excel.
  • The development focused on batch processing is lacking in the feeling of making something.

I’m sure there is a SIer. Lol The quality of the excel material and the readability of the text are more important than the cleanliness of coding.

When I was a student, I faced a reality that was far from the image of the engineer I envisioned.

So, I participated in a Java study session that volunteers of the company were working on, By learning JSP and servlets, I was fascinated by the versatility of Java development. I learned the fun of creating a Web application that cannot be realized with COBOL.

If you learn this language, you will gain a lot of experience in various projects regardless of industry,

That’s why I decided to change jobs.

To change jobs

About the fifth year after joining the company, I started job hunting activities. At first, anything was fine as long as I gained practical experience anyway and could experience Java + α (front language etc.). Speaking of engineer development work, I think that it is often categorized into “SIer”, “in-house development (Web system)” and “SES”**. Regarding “SIer”, I was not aiming for this change of job, so I interviewed “In-house development (Web system)” and “SES” at multiple companies. Below, we will list the selection results and their impressions.

** In-house development (Web system) **###

**I was all put off due to lack of skills. ** (I created a simple inventory management app in Java as a portfolio, but it’s overkill…) Furthermore, it is almost impossible to join a self-developed company without any portfolio. Regarding technology, “I am reading this book and learning” and “I am participating in such study sessions and striving to improve myself every day” You can’t break through the interview very much.

In order to join a company that provides services in-house, At a minimum, the following conditions must be met:

  1. Work experience Experience in the programming language and development environment used for the company’s own services is strongly required. Few companies require Java experience, and overwhelmingly many companies require experience with Ruby on rails or PHP. I have no experience needs with COBOL.

  2. Creating a portfolio In the programming language used by the company, launch one service (a few if possible), By committing to GitHub, I think that the ** document selection ** will be passed for the first time. At the interview, the key is how you can talk about your commitment to the service you created. It is important to tell ** about your portfolio, how you created this service, how you devised it, and what kind of service the company can contribute to (possible) **.


**We were able to receive unofficial offers from multiple companies. ** I was able to meet a company that evaluated a certain number of COBOL experiences. The key to choosing an SES company is whether the programming language that the company is good at matches the skill set in the field you want to do **. During the interview, you will be asked the following questions.

  1. Work experience What programming language you’ve used, what kind of project You will always be asked what results you achieved. It would be nice if there was an episode in which one’s work was largely reflected in the figures and data as a company. ** Mixing materials that are easy for a third party to imagine, such as using numerical values, improves the concreteness of the story. **

  2. Qualification Many SES companies confirm their qualifications in order to improve the assignment rate for projects and to facilitate unit price negotiations. (I had no relevant IT qualifications…) If you have it, you will be able to appeal your learning motivation and potential. Engineers with less experience have IPA qualifications (basic information engineers, applied information engineers, etc.) Possession of a vendor qualification (Oracle certification exam (Oracle Master or Java), LPIC, etc.) is a weapon.

The impression that joining a company is much lower than that of an in-house company.

Join SES Company

From several companies and unofficial offers, centered on server-based Java, front-related and infrastructure-related projects I decided to join an SES company that deals in a well-balanced manner. Before joining the company, we acquired Oracle-certified Java Silver to promote learning motivation, After leaving the life of being a COBOL choice, I am still resident at the customer and spending every day of studying everyday while touching Java.

Will your COBOL experience be evaluated during an interview?

To be clear, it was hardly evaluated. ** Dozens of companies have developed their own and interviewed SES companies. Probably from the personnel manager ** “I know the flow of system development (waterfall model)” “A complete program but not an amateur” With that in mind, I was not able to gain much advantage as an experienced programming person.

Even if you have the same job as an engineer, Web programming languages such as Java, PHP and Ruby are It means that the quality of experience points will vary considerably.


I would like to spell out what I felt I should have done more when changing skills.

  • There were too few materials to appeal motivation and posture in the interview

Anyway, because I wanted to gain practical experience quickly, there were too few materials to appeal other than COBOL experience, Even if you change jobs in your twenties, there are limits to what you can see in your potential. At the very least, I should have shown my sincerity in acquiring qualifications and enhancing my portfolio. **I think engineers with less work experience should have a visible weapon and be more motivated. **

  • Lack of knowledge about IT industry and programming languages

I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t know the programming characteristics of COBOL too much. What kind of programming languages are there in the world, what kind of things can be achieved by using them, I thought it was necessary for the students to think carefully about what kind of career they could build. In the case where you become aware of the gap between ideal and reality as you work, and become clear what you want to do I think there are all kinds of industries, so it’s a difficult place…

  • 5 years was too long in my previous job

It was too late to decide whether to continue fighting with COBOL or trying other languages. As a condition for participating in the project, there should be application guidelines such as “more than 000 years of Java experience” **Experience with each language, framework and tool is very important in an engineer’s career. **

Obviously, the IT industry can work without a qualification, so no matter how difficult the qualification is, No matter how great your portfolio is, it’s no match for hands-on experience. If you are wondering what to do with your career in the future, I think that you should make time to face it thoroughly. Then, examine and think about it, and then take action. For example, if you don’t want to make a decision to change jobs right now, register for the job change site for now. I think that anything is good, such as looking for a company that you are interested in, or having an agent evaluate your career. If you feel it is different as a result of moving, you can go back to research, think, or even stop doing once, and that’s fine.

**If you put it later, the size of the return will increase. Age does not wait. **


**You can change your skills from COBOL to Web language in your late 20s. ** However, I think that few companies can appreciate the experience value as a COBOL engineer to date. *My background may be only shobo…

Also, it will be a story at an SES company, What I felt through interviews with each company, and what I felt after seeing seniors in their 30s and 40s after joining the company **You can change your skills if you are in your 20s, even if you do not have a big record. ** **In my thirties, I had the impression that more emphasis was placed on the achievements, leadership experience, and degree of self-improvement in my career.

In any case, since it will be a start from the beginning, I think it will be difficult to increase the annual income and treatment in this skill change. Think of it as a self-investment in the future, think that you have gained experience, and just make an effort.


Through such experience, I am now. I am very satisfied with the current environment where I can learn the technology I want to do and feel self-growth. One year after the skill change, I decided to acquire all the qualifications in the fields I want to learn and to solidify the basics, so I acquired the following vendor qualifications.

  • July 2019 Oracle Java Silver SE8

  • January 2020 Oracle MASTER Bronze 12c

  • April 2020 Oracle Java Gold SE8

  • June 2020 AWS Solution Architect Associate

From now on, I plan to study the knowledge that I want to wear, such as frameworks, front languages, and Docker.

Although it has become a long sentence covered with theory, I would like to thank everyone who read this difficult-to-read sentence up to this point. .. “Isn’t it different? “It was like this at my time! !! , Etc. I would appreciate if you could let me know.

Lastly, I would like to say that ‘regrets without human behavior are much more painful than regrets with behavior’! Let’s do our best to become strong engineers!