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I was interested in COBOL while doing my MS in CS (coming from non-CS undergrad) but the problem was tooling and projects. I gave up after trying to track down z/OS, install hercules and get all that tooling set up. There is more to learning development on these old applications than just COBOL though, you need JCL and other applications/tools that go along with it. I ended up giving up because it just became too much of a hassle.

Creating a new flapping bird game is exciting for students because it can give them an opportunity to create something from nothing. You aren't going to get that opportunity doing COBOL development. You will most likely spend the rest of your career doing maintenance work rather than any greenfield development. There is nothing wrong with that but not everybody likes the fact they can't create something new.

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