Computer Science is the study of computers and computational systems, and is both theoretical and practical, involving technical analysis, planning, programming and testing. Students will develop the ability to model and analyse problems, and to make use of the theory to design solutions. Computer Science has a strong mathematical underpinning, and the problem solving inherent in this course requires precision, careful reasoning and creativity.
About the Curriculum
The course is comprised of a number of topics:
• Topic 1: Fundamentals of programming
• Topic 2: Fundamentals of data structures
• Topic 3: Fundamentals of algorithms
• Topic 4: Theory of computation
• Topic 5: Fundamentals of data representation
• Topic 6: Fundamentals of computer systems
• Topic 7: Fundamentals of computer organisation and architecture
• Topic 8: Consequences of uses of computing
• Topic 9: Fundamentals of communication and networking
• Topic 10: Fundamentals of databases
• Topic 11: Big Data
• Topic 12: Fundamentals of functional programming
• Topic 13: Systematic approach to problem solving.
Assessment is by two 2 hour 30 minute exams and a practical project
Students are not expected to have studied Computing at GCSE or have any prior experience of programming although a basic exposure to this would be beneficial. More important is that students have the ability to think logically and systematically; to this end a grade 7 in GCSE Mathematics is strongly recommended. Computer Science sits very well alongside A Level Mathematics (and Further Mathematics) as well as other sciences, or as part of a balanced sciences/arts curriculum.
The study of Computer Science at A Level is not a requirement for students wishing to go on to study this subject at degree level, but it does provide a very solid foundation for so doing. With computer programming becoming an ever more useful and sought after skill, a Computer Science A Level would provide learners with a range of transferable skills which could be of use in related degree subjects or in the workplace thereafter. A Level Computer Science can lead directly to a degree in Computer Science, Computing or Software Engineering, with career opportunities such as systems analyst, network engineer, IT consultant or games developer. Computer Science is also very useful for careers in engineering, physics, biology, economics, management studies and other disciplines where the ability to understand the nature of data and to write scripts or programs to process huge amounts of data quickly and accurately is valued by universities and employers.