The uses of fortran/cobol today is mainly in maintaining legacy systems, which means old systems that are still in use. FORTRAN is still widely used, especially in engineering applications. John Backus wanted a programming language that was closer in appearance to human language, which is the definition of a high-level language, other high language programs include Ada, Algol, BASIC , COBOL, C, C++, LISP, Pascal, and Prolog. … The same is true of Fortran (though my knowledge is more out of date here). COBOL and FORTRAN (as they are now) as higher level than C. The abstraction of underlying machine is greater. ), then DOS (Turbo) and Windows (Delphi) programming. COBOL is used for commercial applications that require precise and efficient manipulation of large amounts of data. Some success as a teaching tool (UCSD etc. Fortran was released around 1957, while COBOL followed a couple years later. COBOL (COmmon Business Oriented Language) was developed in the late 1950s by computer manufacturers, the U.S. government and industrial computer users. Fortran began as a digital code interpreter for the IBM 701 and was originally named Speedcoding. Whereas COBOL was created to be a general purpose language that worked well for creating applications for business and government purposes in which reports and human-readable output were key, FORTRAN was all about manipulating numbers and numeric data structures. Compared to Cobol and Fortran, Pascal always was a blip on the radar. The two languages you mention, Cobol and Fortran, were both written before automatic parser generation existed. And they had no real prior art to draw on for good and bad ideas of how to create parse-able source text. One should expect a COBOL program - even of considerable complexity - to compile on Windows or *Nix without alteration. The best text and video tutorials to provide simple and easy learning of various technical and non-technical subjects with suitable examples and code snippets. Small niches, not that much of legacy code (especially if you can keep the database and just e.g. So some of the things -- like Area "A" for special section headers -- made the task of manually writing parsers easier. As these systems are retired, the need for these languages will fade, but for now the skills are very much in demand.