The 2020 Congressional App Challenge Launches Today

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives has come together to launch the 2020 Congressional App Challenge. Registration is now open for students, and more detailed rules and guidelines can be found on our website. 

The Congressional App Challenge, the official student coding competition of the U.S. House of Representatives, is an initiative encouraging American students to learn to code and inspiring them to pursue careers in computer science through a series of district-specific competitions. Over 250 Members of Congress have already signed on to host App Challenges in their districts, with many more expected in the coming weeks. This remarkably bipartisan initiative is co-chaired by Rep. Suzan DelBene (WA-01) and Rep. French Hill (AR-02). 

In five short years, the App Challenge has become the largest series of student app developer competitions in the world. The challenge is open to middle and high school students who reside or attend school in a participating congressional district. Eligible students can submit applications to the program through October 19th, 2020. 

Students demonstrating their winning Congressional App Challenge apps to Members of Congress at #HouseOfCode.
Students demonstrating their winning Congressional App Challenge apps to Members of Congress at #HouseOfCode.

“Urging students to pursue these careers is important not only because of the COVID-19 crisis, but because we are also facing a larger competitiveness and innovation crisis in America” said DelBene and Hill in a joint statement. “The Congressional App Challenge inspires students and workers to pursue these technology careers.”

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. The COVID-19 crisis will likely exacerbate this talent deficit. However, the virtual and decentralized nature of the CAC will provide students with the inspiration and tools to pursue these crucial skills despite the interruption to their regular educational routine.

The Congressional App Challenge winners receive official recognition from their Member of Congress, and their app is displayed in the U.S. Capitol for one year.

The CAC aims to bridge the gender, geographic, and racial gaps in tech by building the domestic pipeline of future tech innovators. The program has inspired over 25,000 students across 48 states to code over 6,500 apps for desktop PCs, web, tablets, mobiles or other platforms. Participant demographics for the 1,132 past App Challenges surpassed all tech industry diversity metrics. This year, the Congressional App Challenge strives to build upon this success.