0800 371 434

Computing Higher National Certificate (HNC)

The BTEC HNC in Computing and Systems Development will give you the opportunity to study topics which are relevant to you and which will provide opportunities for you to develop a range of skills and techniques to enhance your professional acumen and develop attributes essential for successful performance in the workplace.

It is a suitable qualification for those wishing to change career, develop programming and new technologies skills or move into a particular area of employment following a career break. There is the opportunity to gain a Cisco qualification in addition to the HNC.

TEF Silver
Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that Activate Learning delivers high quality teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It consistently exceeds rigorous national quality requirements for UK higher education.

Programme details
Over the course of two years you will build up enough units to achieve an HNC (120 credits) and can then select extra units
to develop your progression to an HND.

The course will include units such as;

Programming- introduces the core concepts of programming including algorithms, object-orientated and event-driven programming.

Networking – provides the skills to successfully install, operate and troubleshoot a small network.

Database Design and Development- provides the underpinning knowledge to design and develop database systems.

Security- examining security measures, detection of threats and how to manage risks.

You need to achieve all modules to gain the HNC by the end of your programme.


You will be provided with a suitably equipped place to work when attending college, which will include access to specialist staff, IT facilities and other learning resources which will be appropriate for the nature of work you will be required to undertake.

Additionally, the College offers a wide range of other resources and facilities including additional learning support, which will be available to you, further details of which can found in the Higher Education Student Handbook.

Study support

If you do not have a recognised disability or specific learning difficulty, but feel that you require additional support with your studies, you may be eligible to access some discrete sessions in one of the following areas:
• assistive software training
• IT upskilling
• essay planning and structure
• proof reading and editing written work
• bibliographies and referencing
• time management and personal organisation
• revision and exam tips
• presentation techniques

N.B. Your eligibility for any of the above support will be reviewed with your course tutors and a member of the study support team on your campus.
Skills and assessment
To experience a specialist vocational programme, linked to professional body requirements with a strong, sector-related emphasis on practical skills alongside the development of knowledge and understanding

• HNCs are recognised by employers and allow direct progression into employment
• to study with a teaching team of dedicated, experienced individuals who have expertise in computing and systems development
• to develop a range of skills, techniques and attributes essential for successful performance in working life and be able to make an immediate contribution to employment

Assessment methods

The units are delivered through a variety of techniques to suit all different learning styles. The class work includes; group work, pair activities, investigations, discussions, experiments and note taking.
The assessment you undergo could be formative or summative:

Formative - Designed to provide you with feedback on your progress and inform you of your on-going development. Formative assessments, such as in class exercises, tests, activities, do not form part of your grade.

Summative - Designed to provide a measure of your achievement in respect of your performance in relation to the intended learning outcomes of your programme of study. In other words, the end of Unit assignments will determine your grades.

At each level of study you will be asked to participate in formative and summative assessment procedures which may require you to consider and grade your own work against the agreed assessment criteria. This allows you to reflect upon your own practice, with tutors, and to take responsibility for acknowledging areas of strength and weakness in your work.
Entry requirements
Typical offer

A typical offer would be an IT Level 3 Diploma at Merit or Distinction with GCSE Maths and English C grade or above/Functional Skills at Level 2. A-Levels in Maths, Science or IT.

Other entry routes

We will consider a range of alternative qualifications or experience equivalent to the typical offer. Contact us for details.

English language

Applicants whose first language is not English must also demonstrate that their level of English is acceptable, by achieving a score in a recognised test such as:
• British Council IELTS: normally minimum level 6.0 overall with a minimum of 6.0 in the reading and writing components;
• TOEFL minimum score of 550 paper-based or 213 computer-based or 80 internet-based
The HNC prepares students for employment in the IT sector and IT based roles. For those wanting to upgrade to an HND, this should be discussed with their personal tutor at the end of a successful year one. This would take one additional year to achieve after completing your HNC.

Destination of graduates

As this is a new programme, there are no available destination statistics, however, it is expected that students will use the programme to enable them to enter employment in a relevant specialist area and/or progress onto a university or college that enables them to ‘top up’ their HNC to an HND and ultimately a full BA (Hons) degree.
How to apply
Candidates will need to apply directly to the college for an initial literacy and numeracy skills assessment, plus a check on your current level of IT knowledge. A formal interview will take place at which the motivations behind your application will be assessed. After this, a formal offer will be made to successful candidates.

Call 0800 371 434 for more information.

Fees information

Home/EU Fee for 2018 entrance: £3,200 per year.

UCAS code :

Institution code :

Location :

Mode :

Kings Road, Reading Part-time

Year of entry

Duration :

2018 2 Years

case study

Former computing student, Natalie Harmsworth, is forging a career in IT thanks to the skills and experience she gained while at Reading College.
After finishing her education, Natalie spent a year working as an IT User Support Technician at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. Having returned to the UK, she is now a Graduate Oracle Developer at BUUK - a Cardiff-based utilities company. Find out more. 
Anthony chose this course as he wanted to study part-time alongside his current job. He was keen to undertake the additional Cisco qualification on offer. 
He works for an IT software development company. Read more.
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