There are three strands to the course, Systems, Algorithms and the Project.
Component 01: Computer Systems
The foundations and implications of Computer Science including:
- Hardware: the CPU, input, output and storage devices
- Software and and the “agile” development method
- Networks, compression, Cybersecurity and encryption
- Data structures from binary to stacks, queues and graphs
- Legal, moral, cultural and ethical issues such as Artificial Intelligence, eWaste and software piracy
Component 02: Algorithms and Programming
This builds on component 01 to include computational thinking and problem-solving. It covers:
- Thinking abstractly, thinking ahead, thinking procedurally, logically and concurrently
- Modular programming, recursion and Object-Oriented Programming and GUIs
- Computational methods including data mining, backtracking and decision-making with heuristics
- Standard Algorithms including binary search, tree traversal, quick sort and Dijkstra’s shortest path
Component 03: Programming Project
You will apply your skills to a practical programming project where you will analyse, design, develop, test, evaluate and document a program written in Python, or one of four other languages. Many students create games, others create practical applications for healthcare, education or the arts. Advanced programmers may use simple game engines like Defold. This unit is worth 20% of the overall grade.
Links with the University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester Digital and the STEM organisation allow us to provide many enrichment experiences. Recent events have included an intensive full web stack development programme in 2021, and a robotics day at PwC’s offices in Spinningfields in 2019.
Many alumni have gone on to top jobs in the technology industry including positions with PwC and ARM.
A GCSE in Computer Science would be helpful but not essential. Strong mathematical ability evidenced by a good GCSE or equivalent in Mathematics is essential.