The fourth annual Congressional App Challenge (CAC) launches June 4th. The CAC is a congressional initiative to encourage student engagement in Computer Science.
The “App” in “Congressional App Challenge” is short for “application.” An application is any computer software program written in any programming language, which can run on a variety of platforms such as:
- a personal computer (example: Microsoft Word)
- a web app (example: Dropbox, Fortnite, MailChimp)
- a mobile phone (example: Candy Crush, Lyft/Uber, WhatsApp)
- a robot (example: computer program which makes a robot follow a delimited perimeter)
- a tablet
- a vehicle with automated features, etc.
The CAC is a congressional initiative to encourage student engagement in Computer Science through local App Challenges hosted by the Members of Congress. Already, there are over 65 Members of Congress signed up to host Challenges in their respective districts! Many more are expected to join in by the June 4th launch date.
The CAC aims to bridge the gender, geographic, and racial gaps in tech by building the domestic pipeline of future tech innovators. In its first three years, the program inspired over 8,800 students across 43 states and territories to code over 1,150 apps for desktop PCs, web, tablets, mobiles or other platforms. Participant demographics surpassed all industry diversity metrics. This year, the Congressional App Challenge strives to build upon those numbers.
From June until September, thousands of students in participating Congressional districts are expected to register. Students are encouraged to register before Labor Day. Middle and high school students are invited to participate. High school seniors can participate as long as they submit their app before they graduate from high school.
Their apps will be evaluated by panels of local judges. Winners are selected for recognition by their Member of Congress, wand have their work put on display in the Capitol Building in Washington, DC. More prizes will be announced throughout the Challenge.
The CAC was created because Congress recognizes how essential computer science and STEM skills are for economic growth and innovation, and that the U.S. is currently experiencing a dearth of adequately trained technical talent. By some estimates there are nearly a quarter of a million unfilled programming jobs in the US, right now. The CAC is a congressional effort to maintain American competitiveness, by proactively inspiring our youth and encouraging them to pursue these crucial skills.
The Challenge owes gratitude to Representatives Bob Goodlatte and Anna G. Eshoo, co-chairs of the Congressional Internet Caucus, who requested and supported the creation of the CAC.