Higher National Diploma (HND) in Computing

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Higher National Diploma (HND) in Computing

Who is this course for?

This course is aimed at all those who wish to carve out a career in the computing and digital industries. The content is broad and aims to prepare the student to move onto a technical or managerial role in these sectors. 

This two-year programme has a significant element of work-based learning which helps learners to develop their employment skills and professional network. Students work for extended periods with a range of the industry’s leading employers, with placements normally being paid. 

The course content has been carefully put together with input from key members of local industry to ensure students are uniquely prepared to progress into employment in the wide range of local computing and digital industries. 

We now offer two pathways within the second year of the course: the Networking/Security pathway and the Games Development pathway. 

New for September 2022: we will be offering a BSc 3rd year (subject to validation) of the course enabling students to top up from the HND to a full degree – all on-island!


What are the entry requirements for the course?

  • 64 UCAS points from a minimum of two A Levels or equivalent (e.g. BTEC National/ International Baccalaureate) with at least one subject in a technology related subject (e.g. information technology, computing, mathematics or a science). 
  • GCSE Maths and English at grade C (grade 4) or above are mandatory. 
  • Other Level 3 qualifications will be considered, and mature applicants with relevant experience will be considered on an individual basis. 
  • All candidates will need to have a successful interview. 
  • You will need to demonstrate a clean police record check for your work placement.


How long is this course?

This is a two year programme, starting September 2022.

The deadline for applications is 31st January 2022.


What will I study on this course?


  • Programming: You will learn about the fundamental concepts of programming and development environments. You will use Microsoft Visual Studio to create applications for a client with C#. 
  • Networking: You will learn various principles and protocols of networking used for designing, implementing, and configuring a network to meet business standards. You will gain hands-on experience with Cisco networking equipment and Windows Server. 
  • Professional Practice: Professional practice is a unit that focuses on how you develop yourself professionally and working in small to large teams, whilst producing a digital solution to a problem often encountered in industry.  
  • Database Design and Development: You will design, create and implement a relational database for a given scenario. You will be expected to create specific queries that will provide appropriate management information. 
  • Security: Security is fundamental throughout any organisation when using IT systems. You will explore a range of threats and risks that businesses face, using ISO standards for Risk Assessment and Risk Management. You will also implement network security which aligns with security policies and produce a disaster recovery plan. 
  • Managing a Successful Computing Project: The subject content for this unit is set by the exam board but will involve local business input as you plan out and research your specific computing focus. Past subject matters have included IoT and workplace wellbeing. 
  • Software Development Lifecycles: You will learn about how software is developed and managing software development lifecycles. You will partake in a software development lifecycle scenario, reflecting on associated tools and procedures.
  • Website Design and Development: You will learn about the key demands and requirements within web development and work with Azure VMs and Craft CMS to setup and create your own website using HTML, CSS and JS. 


  • Computing Research Project: The subject content for this double unit is set by the exam board. You will decide on your own project focus and then perform detailed research before analysing your results. Past subject matters have included IoT and workplace wellbeing. 
  • Business Intelligence: Big data is driving how businesses make decisions at various levels of the company. You will be accumulating data and using Power BI to provide insights into this data and how it could influence a company’s decisions or working practices. 
  • Artificial Intelligence: You will learn about the impact of Artificial Intelligence on business and society. You will use AI tools to develop Artificial Intelligence systems. 
  • Cloud Computing: You will learn about the key concepts of cloud computing and work with Azure to setup a company solution. The unit contents will also provide you with the foundation to sit the Microsoft Azure Fundamental exam – AZ900. 


  • Network Management: You will explore network management concepts, principles, design, implementation, configuration, and testing of a network to suit client requirements. Technology including Cisco Switches, Routers, ASA devices, WAPs, Servers, and Cellular Networks will be used to meet the requirements as well as the implementation of security and routing protocols. 
  • Network Security: You will be designing and implementing a network configuration that meets the requirements of Minimum-Security Standards for Networked Devices (MSSND) and the Microsoft security baselines. 
  • IoT: Internet of Things is a fast-growing market area and with 5G on the horizon there is even more room for growth. You will be designing and creating your own IoT device utilising relevant software and hardware to gather specific data for a business process. 


  • Game Design Theory: During this phase of the Game Development pathway, you will take a detailed look at the requirements of strong design and planning for Games.  You will explore the importance of character development, narrative and storylines for games.  That tie into the development process and mechanics of metagame design and game looping.  All which results in a seamless and playable experience for the player. 
  • Game Engine Scripting: During this development process you will be able to learn advanced game engine scripting using Unity 3D and/or Unreal Game Engines. You will be taught the fundamental aspects of programming using a game engine environment and will learn the structure and syntax of some of the most widely used programming languages in the game industry today such as C# and C++. The skills acquired during these specialisms can be applied to many tech and creative industries outside of the gaming sector such as; VFX in TV & Movies, Architectural Visualisation as well as XR/VR development. 
  • Games Development: After gaining a competent understanding of game engine scripting, the finale of the process will be a detailed Game Development project to apply your prior game engine learning to your own designs to start creating your very own game. Upon completion of this specialism will have produced a fully functioning game which can be self-published or used to showcase your skills and abilities to prospective future employers. 


What Qualification will I gain?

Higher National Diploma in Computing – a Level 5 qualification that is the equivalent of two years on a degree programme. 


Will I go out on work experience?

Courses at Highlands College are about preparing you for the world of work. As part of your course, you will undertake work placements in the first and second year with Jersey’s key providers in the computing and digital industry.


How is the course assessed?

All units will be individually graded as ‘Pass’, ‘Merit’ or ‘Distinction’.

To achieve a pass grade for the unit, you must meet the assessment criteria set out in the specifications. Criteria will be met through assessment methods such as assignments, reports, presentations, demonstrations or practically.


What does this course lead on to?

At the end of the programme, you will have the confidence and qualifications to pursue a career within the computing and digital sectors in Jersey. You will have acquired the increased knowledge, skills and experience needed to make a positive contribution to an organisation and will have developed the work-related attitudes and aptitudes necessary to be successful in these sectors. 

Students will have the option to complete a third year to achieve a full honours degree either at University College Jersey or University of Plymouth (where we have a progression pathway agreement).


How much will it cost?

The fee for this course is £8.295 per year.

You may be eligible for financial support towards your course costs. Please search Student Finance at www.gov.je for more information. 


How can I find out more?

Please email ucadmin@highlands.ac.uk or call 608588.


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