Computer Science A Level
Computers and the programs they run are among the most complex products ever made by human beings; designing and using them efficiently present amazing challenges and rewards. Facing these challenges is the aim of Computer Science as an academic discipline. The need for expert computer programmers today is recognised as one of the key drivers in encouraging growth in the economy.
A Level Computer Science focuses on developing your understanding of how computer systems work in terms of hardware architecture, software coding, and how they represent, store and manipulate data. The course develops your theoretical knowledge and practical programming skills which requires a good level of mathematics and a genuine interest in science and technology. Although the course is technically demanding, it will encourage you to increase your capacity for thinking creatively, innovatively, analytically, logically and critically. These skills are highly desirable in students and are applicable to your other A Level subject choices.
A Level Computer Science offers the opportunity for you to learn how to control the machine rather than simply use it, combining programming skills with academic theory. You will become a developer of technology not a consumer of technology.
Students studying four A Levels will be expected to have a minimum of 6 GCSEs at grade A/A*/7, 8 or 9 including English Language and Mathematics at grade 6 or above. Students studying three A Levels will be expected to have a minimum of two GCSEs at grade B/6 and three GCSEs at grade C/4 including English Language and Mathematics at grade 4. Many subjects complement Computer Science, particularly Mathematics and Physics.
You will study a range of topics to meet the demands of a future working with the latest technology in a variety of settings. The skills that are developed over the length of the course will enable you to develop solutions to computing problems faced in the world of work.
The course is split into the following three components:
1. Programming and System Development
2. Computing Architecture, Data Communication and Applications
3. Design and Create a Programmed Solution to a Problem.
In the first component you will investigate programs, data structures, algorithms, logic, programming methodologies and the impact of computer science on society.
The second component investigates computer architecture, communication, data representation, organisation and structure of data, programs, algorithms and software applications.
The third component gives you the opportunity to create a programming solution to a given problem using a high level programming language.
Components 1 and 2 will be assessed through a written examination at the end of the course. Component 3 will be assessed through the submission of a completed coded solution to a given problem and will be at the end of the course.
Future Career Opportunities
The course is well regarded by both universities and employers. Possible careers are very broad as Computer Science covers many disciplines including software and hardware development. Therefore you may find yourself writing code for the latest hi-tech gadgets, or mission critical projects such as nuclear submarines or aeroplanes to working as a hardware engineer designing the latest biometric sensors.