WHAT WILL YOU STUDY ?
You will take a minimum of 15 units (240 credits) to gain your diploma over the course of two to three years of study: 120 credits, 8 units in Level 4 (15 credits each unit) and 120 credits, 7 units in Level 5 (one 30-credit unit, and six 15-credit units).
Extra support modules customised to your needs might be added to the below units.
The aim of Programming involves describing processes and procedures which are derived from algorithms. The ability to program is what sets apart a developer and an end user. Typically the role of the developer is to instruct a device (such as a computer) to carry out instructions; the instructions are known as source code and is written in a language that is converted into something the device can understand. The device executes the instructions it is given. This unit introduces students to the core concepts of programming with an introduction to algorithms and the characteristics of programming paradigms. Among the topics included in this unit are: introduction to algorithms, procedural, object-orientated & event-driven programming, security considerations, the integrated development environment and the debugging process. Algorithms in a chosen language within a suitable Integrated Development Environment (IDE) will be used to develop and help track any issues with the code.
The aim of this unit is to provide you with knowledge of security, associated risks and how security breaches impact on business continuity. You will examine security measures involving access authorisation, regulation of use, implementing contingency plans and devising security policies and procedures. This unit introduces you to the detection of threats and vulnerabilities in physical and IT security, and how to manage risks relating to organisational security. Among the topics included in this unit are Network Security design and operational topics, including address translation, DMZ, VPN, firewalls, AV and intrusion detection systems. Remote access will be covered, as will the need for frequent vulnerability testing as part of organisational and security audit compliance.
The aim This unit provides a foundation for good practice in a variety of contexts. The ability to communicate effectively using different tools and mediums will ensure that practical, research, design, reporting and presentation tasks are undertaken professionally and in accordance with various communication conventions. Among the topics included in this unit are: the development of communication skills and communication literacy; the use of qualitative and quantitative data to demonstrate analysis, reasoning and critical thinking; and tasks that require the integration of others within a team-based scenario and planning and problem-solving.
Database Design & Development
The aim of this unit is to give you opportunities to develop an understanding of the concepts and issues relating to database design and development, as well as to provide the practical skills to translate that understanding into the design and creation of complex databases. Topics included in this unit are: examination of different design tools and techniques; examination of different development software options; considering the development features of a fully functional robust solution covering data integrity, data validation, data consistency, data security and advanced database querying facilities across multiple tables; appropriate user interfaces for databases and for other externally linked systems; creating complex reports/dashboards, testing the system against the user and system requirements; and elements of complete system documentation.
The aim of this unit is to provide you with wider background knowledge of computer networking essentials, how they operate, protocols, standards, security considerations and the prototypes associated with a range of networking technologies. You will explore a range of hardware, with related software, and will configure and install these to gain knowledge of networking systems. A range of networking technologies will be explored to deliver a fundamental knowledge of Local Area Networking (LAN), Wide Area Networking (WAN) and their evolution to form large- scale networks and the protocol methodologies related to IP data networks will be explored. On successful completion of this unit, you will gain knowledge and skills to successfully install, operate and troubleshoot a small network; and the operation of IP data networks, router, switching technologies, IP routing technologies, IP services and basic troubleshooting
Managing a Successful Computing Project
The aim of this unit is to offer you an opportunity to demonstrate the skills required for managing and implementing a project. You will undertake independent research and investigation for carrying out and executing a computing project which meets appropriate aims and objectives. On successful completion of this unit, you will have the confidence to engage in decision-making, problem-solving and research activities using project management skills. You will have the fundamental knowledge and skills to enable them to investigate and examine relevant computing concepts within a work-related context, determine appropriate outcomes, decisions or solutions and present evidence to various stakeholders in an acceptable and understandable format.
Software Development Life Cycles*
This unit introduces students to lifecycle decision-making at different stages of the software development process. Students will examine various lifecycle models and appreciate their particular characteristics to understand which project environments they are most appropriate for. Theoretical understanding will be translated into practical skills through an actual software development lifecycle project and students will become confident in the use of particular tools and techniques relevant to a chosen methodology. Among the topics included in this unit are iterative and sequential models of software development lifecycles and reference frameworks for initially capturing conceptual data and information through a feasibility study and requirement gathering techniques through to analysis, design and software implementation activities.
Strategic Information Systems*
This unit introduces students to the importance of information to organisations. It will examine how systems can be used to support core business functions and enable organisations to be more productive and competitive within the global marketplace. Students will be required to analyse the information needs of an organisation at different levels and within different functional areas. It is important that computing professionals are able to understand how an organisation works and how it uses information in order to be able to design, implement, maintain and manage secure information systems to support its operations.Examination of different information systems at the operational, tactical and strategic levels will be required, in addition to evaluating their effectiveness and role in terms of decision making and gaining competitive advantage.
Website Design & Development*
This unit introduces students to the underpinning services required to host, manage and access a secure website before introducing and exploring the methods used by designers and developers to blend back-end technologies (server-side) with front-end technologies (client-side). Among the topics included in this unit are: domain structure, domain name systems, web protocols, database servers, development frameworks, website publishing, content management, search engine optimisation, web browsers, HTML standards, CSS and CSS pre-processing (LESS, SASS), presentation models, responsive design, integrated development environments, user requirements, interface design, user experience, branding, navigation, optimisation and validation.
* Non-core modules
You need to take 2 of the 3 non-core modules above.
Computing Research Project**
This unit is assessed by a Pearson-set assignment. Students will choose their own project based on a theme provided by Pearson (this will change annually). The project must be related to their specialist pathway of study (unless the student is studying the general computing pathway). This will enable students to explore and examine a relevant and current topical aspect of computing in the context of a business environment and their chosen specialist pathway. The aim of this unit is to offer students the opportunity to engage in sustained research in a specific field of study. The unit enables students to demonstrate the capacity and ability to identify a research theme, to develop research aims, objectives and outcomes, and to present the outcomes of such research in both written and verbal formats. The unit also encourages students to reflect on their engagement in the research process during which recommendations for future, personal development are key learning points.
This unit introduces students to different operating systems such as DOS, Windows, UNIX and Linux. The topics covered are the tasks of operating systems such as controlling and allocating memory, prioritising system requests, controlling input and output devices, facilitating data networking and managing files, including security and protection. Among the topics included in this unit are: the history and evolution of Operating Systems; the definition of an Operating System; why Operating Systems are needed; how Operating Systems started and developed; Operating Systems management roles; management of memory, processes, processors, devices and files; security and protection: user security, device, application and process protection; inter-process communication; comparison of Operating Systems; distributed and networked systems; concurrent systems; multi-user systems; graphical interface systems; and practical application of Operating Systems: user interface commands of major Operating Systems; installations and extensions of Operating Systems.
Business intelligence has evolved from technologies such as decision support systems (DSS) to include tools and methods associated with data mining, data integration, data quality and data warehousing in conjunction with other information management systems and applications. This unit introduces students to a range of tools, techniques and technologies for acquiring data and processing this into meaningful information that can be used to support business functions and processes. Within this unit students will examine the concept of business processing in terms of data capture, conversion and information output. Students will also be required to define the tools and technologies associated with business intelligence functionality. The use of a business intelligence tool/s and techniques is also required to demonstrate an understanding of a given problem. Finally, students will be expected to evaluate the impact of business intelligence for effective decision-making.
Systems Analysis and Design*
This unit explores the processes of systems analysis and design using two methodologies – the traditional systems development lifecycle methodology providing a comprehensive structured framework and the agile methodology with different framework models developed with the emphasis on variations of iterative incremental modelling. To provide perspective, students will examine the models in both these methodologies. They will consider the particular strengths and weaknesses of the two methodologies and examine the suitability of the methodologies using different examples.Topics included in this unit are: examining the business case for a new system or for upgrading an existing one, looking at traditional and agile systems analysis methodologies and evaluating the merits of each, considering the implications of moving from using the traditional methods of analysis and design to agile methods on analysts, designers and developers in an organisation, and applying systems design tools and techniques.
Network Management has become one of the most sought-after skills for government institutions, commercial organisations, financial institutions as well as academic institutions as they try to run their IT networks in a more cost effective, efficient and secure way. The art of Network Management needs to be perfected by those in charge of networks for today and the future. This includes multimedia applications such as VoIP, IPTV and mobile network as well as virtualised environments. This unit introduces students to simple network Planning, Configurations, Setup, and Management, including LAN, WAN, NAT, PAN, MAN, using a variety of tools and methods for managing Networks, including Network Monitoring, Network Security such as Snort, Firewalls & IPS, Network Protocols and standards such as SNMP, NETCONF, IEEE, MIBII, RMON, MDIB & ANS.1, as well as industry’s best practices. Students will also be introduced to Virtual Networks, Network Operating Systems, Risk Management and Cloud Network Management. Among the topics included in this unit are: Network Planning, Network Configurations, Network Setup and Network Management of LANs, PAN, MAN, WAN, NAT using several tools and methods; Network Monitoring, Network Security, Network Load Balancing, Network Protocols and Standards, Best Practices, Virtualisation, Network Operating Systems, Network Risk Management and Cloud Network Management.
E-Commerce and Strategy
Electronic Commerce, or E-Commerce, refers to any type of commercial/business transaction where information, data, products and services are exchanged across the internet. These transactions can cover a wide diversity of business types to include: consumer-based retail sites (e.g. Amazon), sites that provide facilities such as auctions (e.g. eBay) and business exchanges between different organisations. E-Commerce allows consumers to electronically exchange goods and services 24/7 with no barriers in terms of time or geography. Within this unit students will gain an understanding of how and why businesses and and organisations develop E-Commerce strategies: to remain competitive in the global market. Students will also appreciate the elements and resources required to set up an E-Commerce site and be engaged in the design and implementation of their own strategies that would in reality form part of a secure E-Commerce site. Students will examine the impact that E-Commerce has on society and the global market for consumers, buyers and sellers in terms of the benefits and drawbacks of online purchasing. Through investigation, students will also research the technologies involved in setting up a secure E-Commerce site in preparation for their own E- Commerce strategy. There is an expectation that students will devise a strategy based on an element of E- Commerce such as designing a shopping cart, an ordering system, payment system or an online marketing system, for example. This design should be fully implemented and evaluated accordingly in terms of its success or failure. Standards and levels of support, marketing, CRM, promotion and supply chain management will all be explored within the context of developing the implementation strategy.
Cloud Computing is a natural evolution of networking and is adapting the modern network-oriented technologies such as virtualisation, service-oriented architecture, utility computing and ubiquitous computing among others. This unit is designed to develop an understanding of the fundamental concept of Cloud Computing, cloud segments, and cloud deployment models, the need for Cloud Computing, an appreciation of issues associated with managing cloud service architecture and to develop a critical awareness of Cloud Computing based projects. Topics included in the unit are the paradigms of networking, fundamentals of Cloud Computing, Cloud Computing architecture, deployment models, service models, security, technological drivers, and cloud service providers.