Computing HNC Level 4

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    Full Time

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    One Year

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    September 2024


The Pearson BTEC Level 4 Higher National Certificate (HNC) in Computing for England is the equivalent to the first year of a University Degree and provides a specialist programme of study that covers the technical knowledge, understanding and practical skills relevant to careers in the computing sector.

The purpose of BTEC Higher Nationals in Computing is to develop you as a professional, self-reflecting individual able to meet the demands of employers in the computing sector and adapt to a constantly changing world.

The key objective of the Pearson BTEC Higher Nationals in Computing is to also equip you with computing skills, knowledge and the understanding necessary to achieve high performance in the global computing environment, as well as providing education and training for a range of careers in computing, including network engineering, software engineering, data analytics, security, intelligent systems and applications development.

The course also allow you to develop the skills necessary to fault find and problem solve in a timely, professional manner, reflecting on your work and contributing to the development of the process and environment you operate within.

What will I do?

This Level 4 Computing HNC is made up of seven core units and one specialist unit.

Core units for Level 4 include:

  • Programming
  • Networking
  • Professional Practice
  • Database Design and Development
  • Security
  • Managing a Successful Computing Project
  • Software Development Lifecycles

Specialist unit:
Fundamentals of Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Intelligent Systems.

Studying the one-year HNC will provide units that can be carried forward towards the HND Level 5.

Successful completion of the Fundamentals of Artificial Intelligence & Intelligent Systems unit also provides you with the entry requirements to take the Microsoft Certified Fundamentals: Azure AI Fundamentals exam.

The course is delivered using a balance between practical and theory. We include e-learning, one-to-one support, events and speakers. You will have access to a well-equipped hardware and networking lab. Each classroom is equipped with computers for each student, along with ILT facilities including smart boards. You will have access to Moodle, which will provide your individual units, including the weekly scheme of work, materials of study and assessment plan.

Alongside your theory-based studies, you will have the opportunity to go on course related trips.

The entry qualifications for the Computing HNC are a MMP profile on a Computing Level 3 course or a related subject or an Access to HE qualification (minimum 80 new UCAS points).

You will also need to have GCSEs in English and Maths at grade 4 (C) or above, or Functional Skills Level 2 and/or minimum IELTS score of 6.

Individual cases will be considered, as well as relevant work experience will also be taken in to consideration if you fall outside any of the above entry qualifications.

If you are concerned about the above entry requirements alternative courses available are the Access to HE.

The Computing HNC will take you one year to complete. You will study at College in a classroom/workshop for one and a half days a week, with a further private study session for half a day on campus, 9:00am - 4:15pm.

You will also need to undertake around 60 independent study hours per unit within the HNC. This will include reading and completing the assessment tasks.

You can also study this course over 2 years, please enquire for more information.

The Computing HNC will cost you £7100.

Fees may vary depending on personal circumstances, please enquire for further information.

You can apply for a student loan to cover the costs of course fees. You may also be able to apply for various grants and loans to support your learning. Specific advice regarding student loans and other benefits can be obtained from The careers team based in college can also assist your application. Please contact them via the Information Line on 01205 313218.

Please note that all fees are subject to change.

The assessment of Pearson BTEC Higher National qualifications is criterion-referenced, and you will provide evidence in the form of written assignments and practical which are assessed against the unit learning outcomes and assessment criteria.

Most of the HNC units will be assessed through two assignments with the first assignment covering the theory and the second assignment covering practical aspects of a unit. All units are individually graded as pass, merit or distinction. A pass is awarded for the achievement of all outcomes against the specified assessment criteria. Merit and distinction grades are awarded for higher-level achievement.

The Pearson HNC in Computing for England qualification is highly valued by employers and can lead to careers in Network Engineering, Software Engineering, Data Analytics, Security, Intelligent Systems and Applications Development. The qualification also offers progression routes to the professional qualifications offered by organisations like the British Computer Society (BCS). A potential progression path for Pearson BTEC HNC is on to the Pearson BTEC HND and do a third-year top-up for a full BSc degree at university.

Alternatively, you may also progress to the second year of a BSc degree in Computer Science at university.

Additional costs include the purchase of your own stationery, but printing for the course is free. Educational trips may need to be paid for. You will have some books recommended to you for the course, and these are available to borrow from the College library.

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You can download our course guide