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HNC Computing

UCAS code: 
Institution code: 
East Coast College (Lowestoft)


One year full time.

Next intake is September 2022.

Typical Offer: 

60 UCAS tariff points (or above)

This Pearson Higher National award is delivered, assessed and quality assured by East Coast College, working in partnership with the University of Suffolk


The Pearson BTEC Higher National qualifications in Computing is aimed at students wanting to continue their education through applied learning. Pearson BTEC Higher Nationals provide a wide-ranging study of the computing sector and are designed for students who wish to pursue or advance their career in computing. In addition to the knowledge, understanding and skills that underpin the study of the computing sector, Pearson BTEC Higher Nationals in computing give students experience of the breadth and depth of the sector that will prepare them for further study or training. The Pearson BTEC Level 4 Higher National Certificate in Computing offers students a broad introduction to the subject area via a mandatory core of learning, while allowing for the acquisition of skills and experience through the selection of optional units across a range of occupational sectors at Level 4. This effectively builds underpinning core skills while preparing the student for subject specialisation at Level 5. Students will gain a wide range of sector knowledge tied to practical skills gained in research, self-study, directed study and workplace scenarios.

The HNC Computing will be delivered alongside the level 4 FdSc Computer Technologies (Software Development) programme where possible to maximise the opportunities for sharing learning experiences.

Course modules


Programming involves describing processes and procedures which are derived from algorithms. The ability to program is what sets apart a developer and an end user. This unit introduces students to the core concepts of programming with an introduction to algorithms and the characteristics of programming paradigms.


Computer networks are the driving force behind the evolution of computer systems and allow users to access data, hardware and services regardless of their location. Being knowledgeable about the underlying principles of networking is of vital importance to all IT professionals. Networking is an environment that is increasingly complex and under continuous development.

Database Design and Development

Organisations depend on their databases to provide information essential for their day-to-day operations and to help them take advantage of today's rapidly growing and maturing e-commerce opportunities. An understanding of database tools and technologies is an essential skill for designing and developing systems to support them.


Security is one of the most important challenges modern organisations face. Security is about protecting organisational assets, including personnel, data, equipment and networks from attack through the use of prevention techniques in the form of vulnerability testing/security policies and detection techniques, exposing breaches in security and implementing effective responses.

Managing a Successful Computing Project

This unit is assessed by a Pearson-set assignment. The project brief will be set by the centre, based on a theme provided by Pearson (this will change annually). The theme and chosen project within the theme will enable students to explore and examine a relevant and current topical aspect of computing in the context of a business environment.

Computer Systems Architecture

This unit introduces students to the foundations of computer systems architecture together with the integrated hardware and software components and subsystems that enable and allow data to be input, processed and output. The unit further explores the concepts of operating systems, hardware management and computer networks together with the practical skills needed to diagnose, troubleshoot and maintain computer systems taking the security of these systems into consideration.

Website Design and Development

As the expectations for easily-accessed and user-friendly websites increases, so do the demands on the web designer. This unit introduces the underpinning services required to host, manage and access a secure website and the methods used by designers and developers to blend back-end technologies (server side) with front-end technologies (client side).

Career opportunities

Careers in computing include; network engineering, software engineering, data analytics, security, intelligent systems, and applications development.

The Pearson BTEC Higher National Diploma allows students to specialise by committing to specific career paths and progression routes to degree level study. Successful HNC Computing students at East Coast College will have the opportunity to progress to level 5 of FdSc Computer Technologies (Software Development) and further to the BSc (Hons) Computer Technologies (Software Development) programme.

Fees and finance


  • Full-time tuition fee: £6,168 p.a 

Further Information

At University of Suffolk, your tuition fees provide access to all the usual teaching and learning facilities that you would expect. However, there may be additional costs associated with you course that you will need to budget for. 

* 2022-23 tuition fees are subject to change in line with inflation, or a government change in the fee cap.

Entry requirements

Facilities and Resources

The location of teaching and learning is contained within a dedicated Computing HE room at Lowestoft Sixth Form. There are 12 computers, loaded with the latest software (renewed via the site licenses), 3D printer, large plotter printer and a small network area with 8 PCs. As this is a bespoke area, allocated to the computer and IT programmes, students have open access at all times teaching is not taking place. There are also a number of computers with relevant software available within the library and the HE common area for the use of HE students. The college has invested in a high-speed broadband connection that offers some freedom.

The students on this programme will have access to all Lowestoft College main campus resources also, including the library and learning resources support and the HE Students Hub for access to separated HE only social, study and food preparation facilities.