Bill gets wild name to promote computer science


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Editor’s note: Story has been updated to include a comment from David Shearer.

The craziest name for a bill to come out of Congress this year goes to Reps. Tony Cárdenas, D-Calif., and Mike Honda, D-Calif., for their 416d65726963612043616e20436f646520 Act of 2013, which would designate computer programming languages as critical foreign languages in schools.

The bill’s name is the hexadecimal translation of “America can code.” Hexadecimal means the number base is 16 instead of 10, which most people use every day. For example, to reach the number 10 in base 16, one would have to count 1-9 and then a-f.

“The very name of this law demonstrates that programming is simply another language,” Cárdenas said in a statement.

The bill would provide incentives to state and local schools for teaching computer programming to children as young as kindergarten.

The pair of representatives were inspired to introduce the bill after learning there will be 1 million more computing jobs than computer science students by 2020.

The bill would officially amend the American Competes Act to redefine the term “critical foreign language” to encompass computer programming languages.

The Obama administration has been trying to get students excited about coding as well. In honor of Adm. Grace Hopper, a U.S. computer scientist, the White House holds an annual Computer Science Education Week. The campaign encourages students to learn at least one hour of coding.

Cárdenas and Honda’s bill will also create a grant program for schools in low-income areas to work with universities in creating new ways to teach computer science.

“Developing a qualified information security workforce starts with awareness at an early age, followed by education and guidance toward a career path that includes professionalization,” said David Shearer, chief operating officer at (ISC)2. “ISC)2 believes that programs that introduce a more technical focus into school curricula at all ages are critical. These efforts provide schools with incentives that will ultimately help to fulfill the desperate need for more qualified information security professionals.”

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Congress, David Shearer, Government IT News, Mike Honda, Tech, Tony Cardenas
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