Higher National Certificate (HNC) Digital Technologies (Software Development and Programming)

Enter the technology industry on the front foot, with a new breed of qualifications.

  • Study Mode


  • Duration

    1 Year

  • Location

    Reading College

Pearson logo 

Recently we have gone through a time of unprecedented change and technological growth that no one could have predicted. This new world calls for a generation of digital visionaries.

The Higher National Certificate (HNC) Digital Technologies (Software Development and Programming), accredited by Pearson, will provide you with the core skills required for a range of careers in digital technologies and develop your understanding of the major impact that digital technologies have on the business environment.




Employer demand for digital technology skills and knowledge is increasing, and non-digital technology companies are becoming more reliant on digital technology specialists as business requirements evolve. Skills shortages in key areas of the digital economy mean there are many different IT careers available for people with the relevant qualifications and experience.

Key growth areas within the IT and computing industry include social and digital media, data protection, cyber security, games design, website development and cloud/mobile technologies. The south-east of England is home to many global IT companies, so you will be well placed for job opportunities and career prospects. 

Key programme features

  • One-year programme, delivered via blended learning
  • Specifically developed for the world of work
  • Good opportunity for those wanting to pursue a career and who prefer practical learning and teaching, to learn skills for a specific job
  • Offer a great route to a higher qualification
  • No exams! Courses are broken down into modules with practical tasks and ongoing assessments


South Central Institute of Technology

Institutes of Technology have been designed to create higher level technical qualifications, in partnership with employers to increase productivity and raise the standards of university-level technical education.

Activate Learning in collaboration with Milton Keynes College, is excited to introduce the new South Central Institute of Technology, working with leading brands such as Microsoft, KPMG, McAfee, Cranfield University, and Evidence Talks.

Activate Learning will be delivering the HNC Digital Technologies from our industry standard technology suite which will have a blend of formal and informal teaching areas and agile project spaces. Reading is a prime location for tech businesses and organisations, and you will be able to accelerate your career, grow and develop your skills alongside a community of industry partners.


Tuition Fees

Home/EU* Fee for September 2024 entry: £6,500 per year

Please note: Tuition fees are published for the first year of entry only and may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students in line with an inflationary amount determined by the Office for Students.

*Fee information for European Union (EU) students: If your course starts on or after the 1st August 2021, you will no longer be eligible for financial support from Student Finance England unless you meet one of the following criteria:

you are able to benefit from the citizens’ rights agreements

you are an Irish national living in the UK or Republic of Ireland – benefits of Irish nationals under Common Travel Area guidance arrangement will continue

If you are interested in this course and would like an informal, no-obligation chat about the details of the course, how to sign up, or anything else, please get in touch and we’d be happy to help!

This programme will equip you with the knowledge and confidence to work across different digital technologies functions. This is a varied programme that will provide you with the core skills required for a range of careers in digital technologies. You will gain an insight into digital technology operations and the opportunities and challenges presented by a global marketplace.

The Level 4 Higher National Certificate (HNC) Digital Technologies (Software Development and Programming) provides a solid grounding, enabling you to specialise, which you can build on if you decide to continue your studies to Level 5 Higher National Diploma (Digital Technologies) or onto further higher-level study at university.

The programme is designed to be studied full-time over one academic year of 32 weeks, this is equivalent to two days a week. The Higher National Certificate (HNC) Digital Technologies (Software Development and Programming) is a qualification of a minimum of 120 credits.

Please note that as programmes are reviewed regularly, the module list may vary:

  • Professional Practice in the Digital Economy (15 credits)
  • Innovation and Digital Transformation (15 credits)
  • Cyber Security (15 credits)
  • Programming (15 credits)
  • Big Data and Visualisation (15 credits)
  • Networking in the Cloud (15 credits)
  • Database Design and Development (15 credits)
  • Software Development Lifecycles (15 credits)


Upon successful completion of this course, you will be perfectly positioned to further your learning by moving on to study an HND, progress onto study at university or onto employment.

Career opportunities could include becoming a software developer, software tester, software engineer, applications engineer, programmer or IT architect to name a few.

Teaching will take the form of lectures, seminars, feedback sessions, workshops and one-to-one support.

You will be assessed through a mixture of written assignments, group assessment, peer assessment, portfolio assessment and practice-related coursework. You will also be supported with a wide range of learning resources made available via Activate Learning’s Online Learning Environment (ALO), including access to textbooks, articles and multimedia content.


You will have a range of support made available to you, including academic and pastoral support, learning support and access to bursaries. Please see our Support Pages for further information.

You will be expected to possess the following:

  • a BTEC Level 3 qualification in Computing, Business or Creative Digital Media Production with a minimum of a Merit overall
  • a GCE Advanced Level profile that demonstrates strong performance in a relevant subject or adequate performance in more than one GCE subject. This profile is likely to be supported by GCSE grades at A* to C (or equivalent) and/or 9 to 4 (or equivalent) in subjects such as maths and English.
  • other related Level 3 qualifications
  • an Access to Higher Education Diploma from an approved further education institution
  • relevant work experience

Applications from students returning to education who do not possess the formal entry qualifications, but can demonstrate relevant industry experience, will be considered on merit but would normally be expected to have achieved a Level 2 Maths and English qualification.

Applicants whose first language is not English must also demonstrate that their level of English is acceptable by achieving a score in a recognised test such as:

  • Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR)
  • level B2 PTE Academic 51, or
  • IELTS 5.5 (reading and writing must be at 5.5)

Applicants should apply online through the Activate Learning website.

Explore your career progression options

If you are considering applying for this programme, why not explore your potential career progression routes using our handy tool.

You can explore live job vacancies, next level qualifications and apprenticeship standards in your local area. Not only this but you can also watch videos of real people talking about their experiences of working in your specific industry or occupation of interest.

Why not visit us at an Open Event and find out more about this pathway.

Why Bracknell and Wokingham College?

  • Clear routes of progression with qualifications ranging from foundation level to degree level!
  • Industry experienced teaching staff give you the responsibility and independence you need to take charge of your own future.
  • 150+

    Courses available

  • 95%

    of our graduates go into work or higher education 

  • 60+

    years of teaching experience

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