Higher National Diploma (HND) Computing and Systems Development

Start Date

Mon Sep 14 2020

Day / Time



2 years



Higher National Diploma (HND) Computing and Systems Development

This is a qualification enabling you to take your first steps into employment, or if you are already in employment, seek career development opportunities. It is widely recognised by industry and higher education as the principal vocational qualification at Levels 4 and 5.

The course has been specifically designed to reflect the increasing need for high quality professional and technical education, thereby providing you with a clear line of sight to employment and to progression to a degree at Level 6, for example onto an Applied Computing top up degree at Northumbria University. It aims to develop you as a professional, self-reflecting individual able to meet the demands of employers in the computing sector and adapt to a constantly changing world. You will develop computing skills, knowledge and understanding necessary to achieve high performance in the global computing environment.

There are a range of careers which you could progress into, including Software Developer, IT Project Manager, Support Analyst, Software Analyst, General Management of IT Systems.

Year 1 of the programme aims to develop a broad knowledge and awareness of key aspects of the computing sector including software, database and web development, networking and security, and project management.  It includes:

  • The core concepts of programming, algorithms and the characteristics of programing paradigms to enable you to design and implement algorithms in a chosen language within a suitable Integrated Development Environment (IDE).
  • Exploring a range of hardware, with related software, to gain knowledge and skills to successfully install, operate and troubleshoot a small network; and the operation of IP data networks, router, switching technologies, IP routing technologies, IP services and basic troubleshooting.
  • Gaining the knowledge and skills necessary to design and develop a relational database system for a substantial problem, test the system to ensure it meets user and system requirements and fully document the system by providing technical and user documentation.
  • Utilising website technologies, tools and software to create multipage websites.
  • Examining software development lifecycles and Agile methodologies
  • Completing a successful research project into a relevant and current topical aspect of computing in the context of the business environment and area of interest.

Year 2 of the programme aims to develop a more comprehensive understanding of advanced programming, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, augmented reality and games development through:

  • Completing research in a specific field of study
  • Exploring the different tools and techniques relating to business intelligence functionality.
  • Writing code in an object-orientated fashion using design patterns where necessary and be to model their code structure in UML class diagrams
  • Gaining hands-on experience of configuring a cloud service and implementing a simple cloud platform using open source software with an appropriate networking platform. 
  • Planning, building and measuring the success of an appropriate Virtual Reality or Augmented Reality software application
  • Developing a Game Design Document and producing a functional video game.
  • Examining the fundamental concepts in artificial intelligence and gaining hands-on experience in developing intelligent systems using a programming language.

We have strong links with local businesses who are regularly invited to give lectures and workshops, there are also opportunities for students to visit the organisation to see work in practice. As well as having local companies involved within the programme there are also opportunities for students to attend conferences and workshops at Gateshead College which are led by key employers, for example Enterprise Lab.

What about after the course?
  • IT specialist managers
  • IT project and programme managers
  • IT business analysts, architects and systems designers
  • Programmers and software development professionals
  • Web design and development professionals
  • Information technology and telecommunications professionals n.e.c.
  • IT operations technicians
  • IT user support technicians
  • IT engineers
you could
Entry level

Baltic Campus