Computer science is not about using computers; it is about controlling and shaping the digital world through programming. It is a diverse and broad subject covering topics that range from the design of computer hardware through to programming that hardware to do useful things, with applications in areas such as science, engineering and the arts. It is a rigorous discipline that includes a substantial mathematical component and requires clear logical thought.
Computer science at A level spans theory and practice. The practical side of the course will give you intensive hands-on experience of coding, but computer science is also about problem solving. This requires precision, creativity and careful reasoning.
The first year of the A level course concentrates on developing these problem solving approaches and the practical skills of programming. It also gives you an insight into how the computer works, from the inner workings of the microprocessor to memory, storage, operating systems, databases and networks.
In the second year will deepen your understanding by introducing you to a range of programming languages and techniques, as well as exploring current technology developments such as Cloud computing, functional computing and big data. You will also put your skills to the test by producing a programming project which accounts for 20% of your overall marks.
Many students continue to study computer science or related courses at university, and go on to careers in the much sought after computer gaming, finance and software engineering sectors. A level computer science is valued by universities and employers alike as proof of a logical mind and is seen as the perfect complement to other science or engineering subjects.
Grade 7 in GCSE maths or a GCSE grade 6 in both computer science and maths.
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