Cambridge Technicals in IT (Extended Diploma)

Qualification

This course has refreshing and exciting content, that’s up to date, engaging, fit for purpose and suitable for the needs of learners of the future and beyond. The course has been developed in consultation with universities, employers and industry specialists to make sure that your students will gain the right combination of knowledge, understanding and skills required for the 21st century.

The qualifications aim to develop your students’ knowledge, understanding and skills of the principles of IT and Global Information Systems. Learners will gain an insight into the IT sector as they investigate the pace of technological change, IT infrastructure, and the flow of information on a global scale, and the importance of legal and security considerations. Designed in collaboration with experts spanning the breadth of the sector, the Level 3 Cambridge Technicals in IT focus on the requirements that today’s universities and employers demand.

A wide range of centre assessed units with practical and wider project-based assessment opportunities, as well as examined units on the Fundamentals of IT, Global Information, Cyber Security, and Cloud Technology has resulted in focused qualifications. Dependent on the size chosen the qualifications either complement a Key Stage 5 study programme alongside other vocational qualifications, A Levels, or may constitute the bulk of a two-year study programme. Your students will practically apply their skills and knowledge in preparation for further study, apprenticeship or the workplace.

Learners will also develop professional, personal and social skills through interaction with peers, stakeholders and clients, as well as theoretical knowledge and understanding to underpin these skills. These support the transferable skills required by universities and employers such as communication, problem solving, time management, research and analytical skills.

Availability

Available for students with the minimum requirements for Level 3 entry into NUAST given in more detail below in the section on entry requirements.

Equivalency

Equivalent to three A Level qualifications with a range of grades available.  A pass is equivalent to an E grade, a Merit is equivalent to a C grade, a Distinction is equivalent to an A grade and the highest a Distinction* is equivalent to an A* grade.  The UCAS points are given below and the qualification is very widely accepted.

Grades UCAS points
D*D*D*  420
D*D*D   400
D*DD  380
DDD  360
DDM  320
DMM  280
MMM  240
MMP  200
MPP  160
PPP  120

Board

OCR

SPECIALIST PATHWAY

Students will study the Application Data Technician specialist pathway and will require between 17 and 18 units, all of which are detailed below.

Course Description

Unit 1 - Fundamentals of IT

A sound understanding of IT technologies and practices is essential for IT professionals. Information learnt in this unit will create a solid foundation in the fundamentals of hardware, networks, software, the ethical use of computers and how businesses use IT. After completing this unit, the knowledge, skills and understanding you have developed will underpin your study for the additional units. Knowledge gained in the study of this unit will also help prepare you for relevant industry qualifications such as CompTIA A+, CompTIA Mobility+ and Cisco IT Essentials

Unit 2 - Global Information

The purpose of this unit is to demonstrate the uses of information in the public domain, globally, in the cloud and across the Internet, by individuals and organisations. You will discover that good management of both data and information is essential and that it can give any organisation a competitive edge. This unit will provide you with a greater understanding of how organisations use information sources both internally and externally and the types of information you will encounter. The skills gained by completing this unit will give you knowledge of the functionality of information and how data is stored and processed by organisations. You will also learn about how individuals use information of various types. This unit will help you to understand the legislation and regulation governing information which flows in to and out of an organisation and the constraints and limitations that apply to it. You will also learn the relationship between data and Information. Knowledge gained in the study of this unit will also help prepare you for relevant industry qualifications such as VM Ware.

Unit 3 - Cyber Security

The need for secure digital systems is more crucial than ever before. We rely on computerised systems and networks to collect, process, store and transfer vast amounts of data and to control critical systems such as water and power supplies. Business and e-commerce can be undertaken twenty four hours a day, seven days a week and telecommunications enable us to keep in touch with family and friends and collaborate with colleagues at any time. Mobile devices offer us freedom and flexibility of where and how we learn and work. However, for all the advantages that these systems offer us, some people have found ways to exploit them and this poses a threat to our safety and security in the real world, as much as in the cyber world. To deal with this problem, the cyber security industry is expanding at a rapid rate. This unit has been designed to enable you to gain knowledge and understanding of the range of threats, vulnerabilities and risks that impact on both individuals and organisations. You will learn about the solutions that can be used to prevent or deal with cyber security incidents resulting from these challenges. You will be able to apply your knowledge and understanding of cyber security issues and solutions by reviewing and making recommendations for ways to best protect digital systems and information. Learning within this unit will also support the delivery of the Cisco Cyber Security and CompTIA A+, CompTIA Security+, CompTIA Mobility+ qualifications. The unit also makes reference to UK government cyber security initiatives, for example, the UK government’s UK Cyber Security Strategy, Cyber Essentials Scheme, 10 Steps Strategy, and Cyber Streetwise.

Unit 6 - Application design

The world is increasingly reliant on applications that help individuals, business and organisations achieve specific activities or purposes. In this unit you will explore potential ideas for a new application and develop the fundamental design for it. You will then develop the designs for an application and how users will interact with it. The application that you will design could be for any sector and for any purpose. You will have the opportunity to present your ideas, prototype them and gain feedback before refining your design. Besides the technical knowledge that you will gain about designing an application, you will also learn key transferable skills about liaising with clients, questioning people effectively to gain the information you need to develop successful designs, and presenting your ideas to an audience and getting feedback from them. This unit is mandatory to the Application Developer pathway due to its relevance to the job role of an application developer. The unit supports the development of skills, knowledge and understanding appropriate to a wide range of job roles requiring the development of applications within mobile technology, business software, graphics, games and web design to name but a few.

Unit 7 - data analysis & design

This unit will enable you to develop the skills and knowledge required to actively use data analysis techniques to provide evidence and interpretation for decision making for a range of organisational needs. Organisations and individuals collect both quantitative and qualitative data and store it for current or future use. The data analyst examines, cleanses, transforms and models data in order to support decision making and understanding. This unit is mandatory to the Data Analyst pathway due to its relevance in conducting data analysis and design solutions to meet business requirements. The unit supports the development of skills, knowledge and understanding relevant to the role of a data analyst and the techniques required.

Unit 8 - project management

This unit will provide you with the opportunity to understand and use various project planning skills and techniques, thereby enabling you to become more effective in the workplace. The key to any project being a success is the planning and management that takes place. Project management skills are essential transferable skills that can be used for all projects whether it’s traditional methodologies or more recently adopted agile approaches within the IT development environment. These skills can be adapted and used even on the smallest ‘tasks’ during the planning and implementation stages. Regardless of your job role, you will often be called upon to participate in projects for a wide variety of reasons, consequentially this unit is optional within all four pathways. This unit will assist you in developing your skills, knowledge and understanding of different project methodologies and the key factors that can influence the success or failure of a project. Knowledge gained in the study of this unit will also help prepare you for relevant industry qualifications such as CompTIA Project+

Unit 9 - product development

The purpose of this unit is to prepare you to undertake product development activities. You will learn about different product design methodologies and the role of the product development life cycle. In addition, you will discover the factors that influence product developments. The key to any product development being a success is the analysis, client review, design, testing and final acceptance that takes place. The skills that you will learn can be applied to the development of any product, large or small. You will use product development skills and work through the product development life cycle. It is recommended that you develop a product alongside the other units you are studying so that you can explore the units holistically as a wider project. This will align to your chosen pathway and support progression into your chosen field within the IT industry. Whether you are building a network, developing a website, developing a system for data analytics or creating an Augmented or Virtual Reality resource, they are all products. It is therefore important that you understand the processes required for the development of products and that you can apply them to a variety of situations. Consequently, this unit is optional within all four specialist pathways

Unit 10 - business computing

Businesses and organisations are driven by the information that they gather, process and provide. This involves computers, networks, and databases. In this unit you will gain an understanding of how information technology and computer-based systems facilitate the needs of business and how businesses use information. You will learn about the skills and attributes needed by people working in data analysis and gain practical experience of editing and manipulating a variety of different forms of information before applying these skills to solve a specific problem. This unit is within the Data Analyst pathway due to its relevance to a business and data analytical environment. The unit supports the development of skills, knowledge and understanding relevant to a data analyst role and can be used as a starting point to further develop their understanding of working with and analysing data, regardless of the size and complexity.

Unit 11 - systems analysis and design

All organisations have information systems; some are informal such as the ‘grapevine’ which deals in predominantly unreliable, unstructured data to produce equally unreliable information: it is not that the information cannot be correct, but that no one can guarantee it. This unit will provide you with the knowledge and skills to support the design of formal information systems. These systems provide useful reliable, validated information through the integration of data, hardware, software and humans into processes which enable the organisation to meet its internal goals and its external obligations. IT technicians are involved in the implementation of systems which have been designed and in many instances assist in their design. Emerging digital technology practitioners also have to have a knowledge and understanding of how to analyse and design systems that are supported by the emerging technologies such as Virtual and Augmented Reality, mobile technologies as well as the Internet of Everything. This unit is optional within the IT Infrastructure Technician, Emerging Digital Practitioner, and Data Analyst pathways.

Unit 12 - mobile technology

You may come to this unit as a proficient user of a mobile phone, but you may be less familiar with other mobile technologies and their operating systems. The aim of this unit is to broaden your knowledge and understanding of the wider potential of mobile technologies and its consequences to people and businesses. This unit is as much about new technologies as it is about promoting critical analysis of existing situations and proposing better solutions. Technical developments move quickly and legislation usually lags behind. Tutors are encouraged to incorporate new relevant developments and laws into this unit. This unit is optional within the IT Infrastructure Technician, Emerging Digital Practitioner, and Application Developer pathways. Knowledge gained in the study of this unit will also help prepare you for relevant industry qualifications such as CompTIA Mobility+.

Unit 13 - social media and digital marketing

The use of social media has increased massively over recent years and is now a world-wide phenomenon. Users of social media are able to share ideas and files, compare opinions and pass comment on the activities of their friends and contacts. In doing so, they are not only generating huge amounts of data about themselves, but also allowing others the opportunity to contact them and monitor some of their online activities. Social media also allows users to collaborate with others across the globe. Digital marketing is part of the overall process of marketing as is the use of digital media to increase awareness of a product or service. As social media offers such a wealth of data and the ability to contact potential customers in their own homes across a range of media channels, it is only natural that digital marketing seeks to use social media as part of the marketing mix for goods and services. This unit looks at digital marketing as a concept and then offers you the opportunity to explore the possible impacts, both positive and negative, that may be generated by the use of social media as a tool. This unit is optional within the Emerging Digital Practitioner, Application Developer, and Data Analyst pathways.

Unit 14 - software engineering for business

The aim of this unit is to give you practical experience of writing computer programs for specific requirements, such as those found in a business. Programmers’ first jobs tend to be coding against specific requirements or maintaining an existing program. You need only a basic appreciation of the full system life cycle at this level, freeing up more time for practical programming experience. This unit focuses on developing code for a single customer with specific requirements. You could follow this unit with the Games Design and Prototyping unit, which focuses on developing for a mass market, allowing you to further develop your coding skills and experience. This unit is optional within the Applications Developer and Data Analyst technical pathways. Application developers create, test and program applications software and therefore use the knowledge skills and understanding associated with software engineering. Data analysts require a good understanding of computers and software, and an insight into software engineering can assist them in their design and analysis of systems and data.

Unit 15 - games design and prototyping

Gaming is a continuously developing market. There are a number of platforms available for amateur and professional game developers to release games that they have designed and developed. This unit will help you develop skills in designing and developing a prototype for a simple game. It will enable you to consider the logic of the programming structures required, as well as the interface design. You will then build a prototype to demonstrate an element of your game. This unit is optional within the Application Developer pathway. Games designers and developers design and develop games across a wide range of applications and platforms. The selection of optional units within this pathway will support the overall development of job roles within the gaming industry.

Unit 17 - internet of everything

This unit is about the use of the Internet and how it is impacting people and society. You will learn about the Internet of Everything and how it is used. Using your knowledge you’ll carry out a feasibility study for a potential idea. You will pitch your idea to potential stakeholders and use their feedback to revise you proposal. This unit is optional within all four pathways. Knowledge gained in the study of this unit will also help prepare you for relevant industry qualifications such as Cisco IoE.

Unit 21 - web design and prototyping

Organisations are increasingly reliant on their website to market goods or services and interact with clients and customers. In this unit you will research, design and produce an interactive responsive website that is specific to a client’s needs, culminating in presenting the concept of the website using the prototype to the client. You will learn about the security risks within website design, and how to minimise these threats. This unit will also allow you to incorporate existing interactive elements, as well as prototyping your own website. This unit is optional within the Application Developer pathway. Job roles within this pathway include web app developers as well as website designers. These are different roles using similar skills, knowledge and understanding.

Unit 22 - big data analytics

Data is all around us and the amount of data being gathered is growing. Big Data deals with extremely large data sets that can be analysed computationally to reveal patterns, trends and associations. This is especially the case in relation to human behaviour and interactions. In this unit you will learn what Big Data is, how it can be gathered, analysed and used by businesses. You will also look at how a company could use Big Data for planning for the future. Due to the increased use of Big Data this is an optional unit within the Emerging Digital Technology Practitioner, Application Developer, and Data Analyst pathways. 

Unit 23 - cognitive computing

Cognitive computing is an aspect of artificial intelligence where human thought processes are simulated in a computerised model. This unit will provide you with the opportunity to gain a better understanding of cognitive computing and the role it has to play in current technologies and emerging technologies. Using your knowledge and understanding of cognitive computing you will consider how cognitive computing can be used on a global scale in the future. In addition, you will develop a business proposal for the use of cognitive computing concepts to meet an identified business’ needs. This unit is only available in the Extended Diploma and is optional within both the Digital Technician and Application Data Practitioner pathways.

Unit 24 - enterprise computing

Enterprise computing is sold to business users as an entire solution that can be applied broadly across an organisation and then further customised by users within each business function. This means the analytics, reporting, database management and other applications are standard across the system, whilst the application packages used and the data accessed in each business function will be different. In this sense, enterprise computing is a departure from finding single software solutions to specific business problems, such as inventory or accounting software. Instead, enterprise computing is intended to offer integrated solutions to these problems. Enterprise computing is a concept for software and hardware solutions designed to meet the needs of large global organisations. This unit is only available in the Extended Diploma and is mandatory and internally assessed. This unit is to be assessed at the end of your learning programme because whilst carrying out tasks for the summative assessment activity, you will draw on the skills, knowledge and understanding acquired through other units in your chosen pathway

Unit CC - cloud technology

The way in which we interact with IT systems has changed. The explosion of mobile devices such as phones and tablets has led to the need for an IT infrastructure that can support these technologies, i.e. the cloud. In this unit you will learn the basic concepts of cloud technology as it exists in an international setting. You will know the specific terminology and its application in the continued shift into the cloud, where costs are billed like electricity and reflect monthly usage levels rather than the traditional upfront cost of new servers and storage for a data centre. Migration into the cloud also poses issues for business culture, legal requirements and security. This unit is only available in the Extended Diploma and will be mandatory and externally assessed within both the Digital Technician and the Application Data Practitioner pathways. Knowledge gained in the study of this unit will also help prepare you for relevant industry qualifications such as CompTIA Cloud Essentials, Cisco Cloud Fundamentals and to a lesser extent, the CompTIA Cloud +.

Course Leader

Mr D Ward

COURSE TEACHERS

As this course has a wide range of units it is very likely you will have three teachers in any one year.  At present these would be:

  • Mr D Ward
  • Mr D Wood

Key Dates

September 2017 - the course begins and will run for two years (6 full terms).

Entry Requirements

This course is available for students meeting the minimum requirements which for this course are five A* to C qualifications including English and Mathematics.  We are accepting students with a C grade in Mathematics.

Prior study of Computer Science is desirable, but not essential.  As long as you have a strong desire to work in the IT industry including the minimum above this would be enough to qualify.

ESSENTIAL QUALIFICATIONS
  • GCSE Mathematics (5 or above) 
  • GCSE English Language (5 or above)
DESIRABLE QUALIFICATIONS
  • GCSE Computer Science‚Äč
  • Cambridge Nationals in ICT
  • Cambridge Technicals in ICT (Level 2)

Assessed By

The course has a number of externally assessed examinations and units.  In addition, the remaining units will be internally assessed coursework task in controlled assessment conditions.

Leads to

This qualification forms part of the entry requirements for progression to higher education or employment. The qualification can be counted as points or grades for entry. 

Potential Careers

The majority of students from this course progress to a university based programme such as computer science, software development or business information systems.

Some choose to study games programming also. You can also choose to study for a higher education qualification here at NULC through the foundation degree in IT, or to enter employment, possibly through an Apprenticeship.

University graduates of computer science go on to careers in many fields that need an understanding of computer systems, what they can (and cannot) do, and how to design them, from computer manufacturers and software firms to management consultancy, finance or teaching.

Student CommentS

"I like the idea that we have the responsibility of making a website for a real client and get to use a methodology to see the project through."

Further information

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