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COMPUTER SCIENCE

A LEVEL

They say in life, most decisions are not binary. But in computers, everything is.

There are few guarantees. But when it comes to secure and rewarding careers, getting smart in Computer Science is the closest you can get to one.

It’s a rare thing these days that’s unaffected by technology. Data is the new oil, algorithms control everything from farming to fast food, and artificial intelligence is one of the fastest growing sectors. 

You can quickly grasp the importance of Computer Science in society.

On this course you’ll first learn how computers work, including the language they speak and the components from which they’re made. We’ll discover how they’re connected to form networks – including the most famous network of all, the Internet – and how you can code pretty much anything on basic frameworks.

We’ll start simple, looking at problems, breaking them down, and writing code to solve them.

By the time you’ve completed this course you’ll be knowledgeable in coding and ninja-like in networking.

The world will be at your feet. Technology is only becoming more important in all our lives – and you’ll be ready to play a big part in the future of our world.

It doesn’t matter whether or not you have any experience coding. We’ll start, as you’d hope, at the very beginning. But we move fast.

While every course at Xaverian is designed to provide skills readying you for the world of work – from problem solving to critical thinking – Computer Science is all about the practical application of lessons learned so you’ll feel super confident when it’s time to hit the world of work.

You’ll need to be methodical, focused and considered in how you approach solving problems. Getting in flow is a huge part of being a winning programmer.

Coders are patient, but equally work fast. You’ll enjoy working both on your own – there’s lots of independent study and analysis expected on this course as you progress towards coding mastery – and as part of a team.

In return, you’ll enjoy a course that’s as inspiring as it is insightful, learning from a team of teachers who are passionate about how technology is transforming our world. And showing you step-by-step that transformation is taking place.

LESSON TIME!

Mrs Graham is here to lead us through a fascinating session all about encryption, followed by a programming challenge in C# to figure out the Fibonacci sequence.

If you want to write your own language, encryption could be just what you need. In today’s lesson you’ll learn how to use a cipher – like the Caesar cipher, commonly known as a ‘shift’ cipher.

Then we get on to our favourite number series – the Fibonacci sequence, where each number is the sum of the two preceding ones (1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, etc). Your challenge is to write a program that reveals the first 10 Fibonacci numbers.

This lesson gives you a great glimpse into life as a Computer Science student.

Incidentally, the Fibonacci sequence was actually created by Leonardo of Pisa when he needed to work out how many rabbits would be bred in a year.

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What’s next?

Accordion Content

Computer science graduates are in high demand. You can expect to be hired into roles such as:

  • Computer games tester
  • IT service engineer
  • Network manager
  • Software developer
  • Systems analyst
  • Technical architect
  • Web developer

And you’ll likely be working in one of these sectors:

  • Wholesale and retail trade
  • Manufacturing
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Finance

It’s likely you’ll progress into higher education beyond this course.

While you might be considering a regular degree focusing 100% on study, you might also choose to pursue a degree apprenticeship, which sees you hired and studying alongside regular work (20% study versus 80% time at work).

Degree subjects related to Computer science include: 

  • Information systems
  • Software engineering
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Health informatics

Degree apprenticeships might include:

  • Cyber security
  • Data scientist
  • Digital and technology solutions
  • Project manager
Fundamentals of:

Programming

Computer Systems

Data Representation

Computer Organisation and Architecture

Communication and Networking

Functional Programming

Software Development and Algorithms

Theory of Computation

Consequences of using Computing

Big Data

Data structures

Databases

Entry requirements:

Six good passes at GCSE including two at grade 6 or above

Course specific entry requirements:

Grade 6 Mathematics, Grade 5 Science and Grade 5 Computer Science (if studied)

Course duration:

2 years

Assessment methods:

2 final exams and a coursework project

Course type:

Linear A-level

Exam board:

AQA

Half of all lessons will be of a practical nature. You will be introduced to a new programming language and the environment. The programming language being taught is C# which is widely favoured by universities. Initially you will be shown by your teacher how to enter a program, how to run a program, as well as the first steps in writing your own programs. This will eventually lead to you developing solutions to more complex problems. In addition you will be given theory lessons focusing on the hardware, software, logic and architecture.

I came to Xaverian as I wanted to combine my studies with joining the basketball team. I enjoy Computer Science because I have always enjoyed coding and problem-solving and the course provides the opportunity to do both. With the support of tutors, I have gained As and A*s on my first assessments, and this has been a big encouragement for me.

Hassan Qozman, Computer Science

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