Computer Science

A Level

COURSE OVERVIEW

Year 1

Study an amazing array of concepts, from basic introductions to how computer systems work, to looking at binary and the basic constructs of programming. Start to learn how to program and the key concepts to enable you to build computer programs to solve problems in the real world.

Year 2

Develop and enhance your programming skills in object oriented programming languages like Java in order to be able to create your own piece of software of your choice. In developing the software you will demonstrate a number of key programming skills and concepts all whilst building an app, website or other executable program.

Curriculum:

We all make use of digital technology, websites, social media, apps. But how do any of these work? How was your favourite app imagined? How did they design the user interface to allow the user to effortlessly understand how to use it? How were the key algorithms conceptualised? How were they developed so that bugs were removed? As a computer scientist you will begin a journey to start to see behind the curtain. Making use of the skills of computational thinking: breaking an idea down, decomposition, identify the key concepts that you need to model, removing the unnecessary detail, abstraction, looking for patterns and using these to write efficient algorithms. You will learn to use an industry standard programming language, Java, and in our year two programming project you will have the opportunity to create your own software. You will analyse and understand the needs of your software, design the user interface and key algorithms, develop and test your software and evaluate your success. It’s a hugely empowering moment when you take your concept and over several months your ideas become manifest with software you have written. You will also learn about core concepts in computing networks, databases including use of SQL, how data is processed at a hardware level and more. Students have taken these core concepts into computer science degrees, but this has been a platform for students to enter apprenticeships in computing. Computer Science develops your ability to think through complex ideas, but is also a route into the digital economy which has tremendous demand.

Progression

BSc Computer science; games development; systems analysis and any computer science related qualification apprenticeship in industry.

Careers

Programmer; games developer; systems admin; systems analyst; software developer; app developer; hardware designer.

Additional Entry Requirements

Grade 5 in computing or relevant qualifications. Grade 5 in mathematics minimum.

Assessment

The full A-Level is assessed at the end of the second year. Your final grade will be based on two examinations, contributing 80% to your marks, and coursework contributing 20% of the grade.

Opportunities for work related activities

Visit the National Computing Museum, develop software for real end users, create apps that you can sell for yourself, network with computer science professionals.