Title of qualification achieved at end of course:
GCSE in Computer Science (AQA)
What will you learn/How will you be taught?
The course is divided between two main areas of focus: Theoretical knowledge and programming skills. The theoretical side will aim to teach you how and why computers work the way that they do, as well as looking into the legal and ethical issues they raise. The programming side will teach you computational thinking and how to use the high-level programming language 'Python' to solve real world problems by developing applications of your own.
These two aspects of the course will provide you with a broad and detailed understanding of the world of computing, giving you hands-on experience in using computers to solve complex problems. You will spend time in lessons developing and practising your programming skills in a supported and supervised environment. This will give you the tools to carry out a range of programming projects: developing applications from start to finish; planning, writing and testing your own solutions to given problems. This will prepare you for the Paper 1 examination, which is a mix of multiple choice, short answer and longer answer questions assessing programming, practical problem-solving and computational thinking skills.
The course will also touch upon topics such as algorithms, networks and SQL and will aim to ensure that you are aware of the cultural, ethical and legal issues surrounding computing and cyber security. This will enable you to put forward your opinions in an informed and coherent manner as we discuss these together. The Paper 2 examination is a mix of multiple choice, short answer, longer answer and extended response questions assessing SQL programming skills and theoretical knowledge.
Why study this subject?
This subject lends itself to people who are logical, creative and enjoy solving problems. The process of breaking down a problem into smaller, more manageable pieces and creating a set of instructions that the computer follows to enact a solution lies at the heart of what is being taught. It is something that is hugely satisfying and yields visible results.
Computers are also being used increasingly in every single industry in the world. The internet especially has revolutionised the way in which humans communicate on a fundamental level. This means that there is almost no limit to the list of subjects that you could apply these skills to. No matter your intended career, the skills taught in this subject will always be applicable.
In addition, with the world’s increasing use of these technologies, our demand for people who understand and can use them is also increasing. This means that job opportunities are plentiful and the salaries available to people with this knowledge are substantial. Careers you could go on to study for include; Application Developer or Analyst, Cyber Security Analyst, Database Administrator, Forensic Computer Analyst, Games Designer - to name but a few. Average computer science salaries are around £58,000 per year at the time of writing this.
Students will complete this course equipped with the logical and computational skills necessary to succeed at A Level, in the workplace or beyond.