Computer Science at A Level is good preparation for many university courses and goes well with Mathematics and the Sciences; students can study Computer Science and also go on to a career in Medicine, Law, Business, Politics, Engineering or any type of Science. The emphasis of this course is on being a developer of computer systems rather than just a user. It provides a theoretical foundation for understanding the principles of what goes on inside a computer system – hardware, software and networking. It includes programming in theory and practice.
The course is not about learning to use tools or just training in a programming language. Instead the emphasis is on computational thinking; a kind of reasoning used by both humans and machines. A Level programming involves grasping many new and exciting concepts and paradigms. You will be expected to spend time doing practical work outside lessons and in private study periods.
The full A Level course follows a two year programme. During the two years, you will cover a range of technical topics including fundamentals of programming, data structures, data representation, communications and networks and Computer System Architecture. Students will be encouraged to solve problems and to increase their computational thinking. The principle programming language we use is VB.net, but students will gain practical experience of logical, functional and Object Oriented programming paradigms.
During Year 13, you will complete a Non-Examined Assessment that assesses your ability to use the knowledge and skills, gained through the course, to solve and investigate a real practical problem. This NEA contributes 20% of the final assessment.
A Grade 6 or above in GCSE Computer Science. If you did not take GCSE Computer Science, you should be able to demonstrate that you can programme in a high level language (such as VB.net, Python, Pascal) up to GCSE standard. Also, at least Grade 6 in GCSE Maths and English.
You could take this course with other Advanced Level courses to prepare for Higher Education in areas of Computer Science, Computing and Information Technology or more general Higher Education courses as the course offers skills that are useful in lots of subjects. With further training, you could go into a job directly related to Computing such as a Computer Programmer, ICT Technician or Website Developer. The course will also help you develop the skills, understanding and knowledge for entering today's workforce across many industries who depend on computers and technology more generally.