HNC Computing

Start Date
Course Course
IT & Computing
City Campus

About this Course

This HNC course has been developed to enhance your computer skills to meet the demands of business needs in support of the economic growth and computing skills gaps in the Sheffield City Region; providing a crucial service to businesses and organisations with systems support and computer specialists. This course will suit you if you wish to gain a solid understanding of the skills & knowledge to be successful in the computing industry / develop your existing skills and knowledge of computing technologies and get an introduction to more progressive techniques to an advanced level.

Key Units

Students will study six mandatory core units (15 credits each) and two elective units (15 credits each) to make up a total of 120 credits.

Core Units
Programming (15 credits)
This unit introduces students to the core concepts of programming with an introduction to algorithms and the characteristics of programming paradigms. Among the topics included in this unit are: introduction to algorithms, procedural, object-orientated & event-driven programming, security considerations, the integrated development environment and the debugging process.

Networking (15 credits)
The aim of this unit is to provide students with wider background knowledge of computer networking essentials, how they operate, protocols, standards, security considerations and the prototypes associated with a range of networking technologies. Students will explore a range of hardware, with related software, and will configure and install these to gain knowledge of networking systems. 

Professional Practice (15 credits)
This unit provides a foundation for good practice in a variety of contexts. The ability to communicate effectively using different tools and mediums will ensure that practical, research, design, reporting and presentation tasks are undertaken professionally and in accordance with various communication conventions.

Database Design & Development (15 credits)
The aim of this unit is to give students opportunities to develop an understanding of the concepts and issues relating to database design and development, as well as to provide the practical skills to translate that understanding into the design and creation of complex databases. 

Security (15 credits)
The aim of this unit is to provide students with knowledge of security, associated risks and how security breaches impact on business continuity. Students will examine security measures involving access authorisation, regulation of use, implementing contingency plans and devising security policies and procedures. This unit introduces students to the detection of threats and vulnerabilities in physical and IT security, and how to manage risks relating to organisational security. 

Managing a Successful Computing Project (15 credits)
The aim of this unit is to offer students an opportunity to demonstrate the skills required for managing and implementing a project. They will undertake independent research and investigation for carrying out and executing a computing project which meets appropriate aims and objectives.

Elective Units
Subject to availability, students can select an additional two units from the following options:
  • Strategic Information Systems (15 credits)
  • Computer Systems Architecture (15 credits)
  • Software Development Lifecycles (15 credits)
  • Website Design & Development (15 credits)
  • Maths for Computing (15 credits)
  • Data Analytics (15 credits)

Entry Requirements

  • 2 A Levels / BTEC Diploma / Access qualification in a relevant subject
  • Grade C / 4 or above in GCSE English and Maths (or a Level 2 equivalent)
Please note that mature students with relevant experience will also be considered on an individual basis. Applicants may be required to attend an interview prior to an offer being made.

All applicants who are non-native English speakers or who have not studied the final two years of school in English must have an IELTS score of 5.5 or above, with a minimum score of 5.0 for individual sections.


  • Presentations
  • Written reports
  • Practical Assessments (using hardware and software)

Where does this Lead

The Higher National Certificate (HNC) is designed to deliver a general Computing Pathway and can be studied in its own right. Students can also progress onto the Level 5 Higher National Diploma (HND) which consists of the Level 4 Higher National Certificate (as above) plus an additional 120 credits at Level 5 delivered via the general Computing pathway or one of the following six specialist pathways:

  • Network Engineering
  • Software Engineering
  • Data Analytics
  • Security
  • Intelligent Systems
  • Applications Development

Future Opportunities

Successful completion of this course could lead to employment at junior level within many areas of the computing industry.

Possible employment areas could include:
  • Network Administrator
  • Helpdesk Support Technician
  • Systems Analyst/Tester
  • IT Consultant
  • IT Project Manager
  • Web Developer

Tell Me More

How to Apply
Please note that applications for this course should be made via UCAS.
Course Application Code: 4R2Q
College Institution Code: S22

Course Handbook
Please click on the link below to download the course handbook.

Further Information
Additional information about higher education at The Sheffield College can be found here.

If you have any further queries, please email; leaving your name, contact details and the title of the course you are interested in, together with a brief summary of your query. Alternatively, you can call the college on 0114 260 2600.

The Sheffield College is a registered provider with the Office for Students.

Terms and Conditions
You can find details of all of our policies, procedures and T&Cs here.

Extra Costs

Learning Resources

Students are advised to provide their own removable storage device (USB), minimum of 2GB.

Whilst essential texts are provided on a loan basis, students may wish to purchase their own copies or buy additional texts, which may incur an additional cost of £50-£100. 

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