GCSE Computer Science

Why is Computer Science important?

We live in a digital world. The use of computing is everywhere and is experienced across race, gender, class, age and culture. Screens, devices and sensors are in our homes, workplace, and pockets. Digital interactions between people and technology feed a network of data that exists in the background to generate experiences that influence our lives. The use of technology in our connected environment is creating many opportunities to support a digital-first world. Computer science will develop the core skills you will require to create products for this digital world you live in.

What is involved in the Computer Science course?

Broadly the course is split into two sections:

Computational thinking and programming skills: you will develop your skills in computational thinking, code tracing, problem-solving, programming concepts including the design of effective algorithms and the designing, writing, testing and refining of code.

Computing concepts: you will develop an understanding of data representation, computer systems, computer networks, cyber security, and the ethical, legal and environmental impacts of digital technology. You will also develop the ability to write SQL, a database programming language.

How will you be assessed?

The course requires you to sit two exam papers.

Paper 1 relates to the content of the Computational thinking and programming skills. You will be required to demonstrate computational thinking, problem solving and coding skills during the exam.

Paper 2 relates to the content of Computing concepts. You will answer a mixture of multiple choice, short answer and longer answer questions. Also, you will be assessed on your SQL programming skills.

What can you do with Computer Science in the future?

The skills you will learn can be applied to many disciplines. Computer science complements maths because it teaches logical thinking and problem solving. It will support any subject that requires critical thinking helping you to analyse arguments in history and English literature/language.

There are many careers that you could pursue with Computer Science including banking, software engineering, cyber security, and website development.

This subject supports a pathway to Computer Science and IT courses at Key Stage 5, both through A Levels and with BTEC Nationals.

What do you need to do to prepare for the course?

Complete the coding tasks on https://codecombat.com/.

To further develop your coding skills, sign up to https://www.codewars.com/. Choose Python as the preferred language and try to solve the weekly coding challenges.

How do I find out more?

You can visit the AQA GCSE Computer Science webpage which can be found here:

Need to know

This course is about how computers work and programming those computers. You will learn how hardware works and how to create software using Python. This course requires resilience and a commitment to work hard, think creatively and be self-motivated.

If you are more interested in using digital products to create then the Cambridge Nationals Creative iMedia would be a more suitable course.

Student/Staff/Famous Person quote about the subject

The first rule of any technology used is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.”
— Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft