HND in Computing for England (HTQ): Online

An overview that will help you develop as a professional, self-reflecting individual and gain the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in your career. 


If you are looking for a general course in computing, the Pearson HND in Computing provides an overview of the subject area. A higher technical qualification (HTQ) will help you develop as a professional, self-reflecting individual who can meet employers’ demands.

You can find out more about higher technical qualifications (HTQs) here:


As a Higher Technical Qualification, this programme is approved by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education and developed with employers. A Higher Technical Qualification (HTQ) from Activate Learning provides an alternative high-quality route for you to gain the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in your career. 

HTQs are qualifications at Level 4 or Level 5, including Higher National Certificates (HNCs), Higher National Diplomas (HNDs), and Foundation Degrees. The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education approves them to enable students to develop the knowledge, skills, and behaviours sought after by employers. 

The units covered in the first year lay the foundation of learning by providing a broad introduction to computing. This develops and strengthens core skills while preparing you to further develop your studies during the second year at Level 5 or to enter employment with the qualities necessary for job roles that require some personal responsibility. 

You will gain a wide range of knowledge tied to practical skills gained through research, independent study, directed study and workplace scenarios. You will be involved in vocational activities that help you to develop vocational behaviours (the attitudes and approaches required for competence) and transferable skills. Transferable skills include communication, teamwork, research and analysis, which are highly valued in higher education and the workplace. You will be competent in a range of subject-specific skills, general skills, and qualities relevant to key areas of digital-technology-related business. 

The aims of this Pearson BTEC Higher Nationals in Computing are to: 

  • give students the skills, knowledge and understanding they need to achieve high performance in the national and international computing environment.
  • develop students with enquiring minds and the abilities and confidence to work across different computing functions and lead, manage, respond to change, and tackle a range of complex computing.
  • offer a balance between employability skills and the knowledge essential for students with entrepreneurial, employment or academic ambitions. 
  • develop students’ understanding of the major impact that computing can have on the business environment. 
  • provide insight into computing operations and the opportunities and challenges presented by a global marketplace.
  • equip students with knowledge and understanding of culturally diverse organisations, cross-cultural issues, diversity and values.
  • allow flexible study to meet local and specialist needs. 

We understand the unique needs of students studying online. We appreciate that they may be juggling work, family, and other commitments, and at Activate Learning, we are experienced in supporting people in those situations. We have a dedicated team of Higher Education Study Support Tutors who are on hand if you need additional help. 

This qualification is also delivered on campus at our Reading College and University Centre and at City of Oxford College and University Centre (Technology Campus). 

If you are looking for specialist pathways then it may be helpful for you to consider the HND in Digital Technologies, which offers a range of specialist pathways including: Cyber Security & Cloud Networking, Software Development and Programming, Digital Communications Management, Business Analytics & Change Management, and Artificial Intelligence Solution & Applications. 

When you study with Activate Learning, you will belong to a group of students studying the HND. You will have regular one-to-ones, group interactions and taught sessions with a team of highly qualified and experienced teachers with computing experience. 

You will study sixteen units in total. 

Year 1

  • Professional Practice: will provide you with a foundation for good practice in a variety of contexts and an opportunity for you to examine and apply critical reasoning and solve problems.
  • Database Design and Development: will give you the opportunity to develop and understanding of the concepts and issues relating to database design and development. It includes the examination of different design tools and techniques, software options and also encompasses development features such as data-integrity, data validation, data consistency, data security and database querying facilities.
  • Security: designed to give you knowledge of security, the associated risks and how it has an impact on business continuity.
  • Programming: introduces you to the core concepts of programming, along with an introduction to algorithms and the characteristics of programming paradig
  • Networking: will give you a wider background knowledge of computer networking principles, how they operate, protocols, standards, security considerations and the prototypes associated with a range of networking technologies.
  • Planning a Computer Project: provides you with the opportunity to demonstrate the research skills required for developing a deeper understanding of a subject and the ability to use evidence to inform decision-making.
  • Software Development Lifecycles: introduces you to the lifecycle decision-making at different stages of the software development process and allows you to examine various lifecycle models.
  • Management in the Digital Economy: introduces you to the concept of organisational behaviour and encourages you to apply it to the digital sector, developing an awareness of how organisations are organised and formed.

Year 2

  • Computer Based Research Project: provides the opportunity to engage in sustained research in a specific field of study and so be able to demonstrate the capacity and ability to identify a research theme develop research aims, objectives and outcomes. You will present the outcomes of your research in both written and verbal formats.
  • Internet of Things: will introduce you to the role, basic concepts and benefits of IoT in the design and development process of computer applications. The key aim of the unit is to enhance understanding of the methodology, terminology and benefits of IoT in the design and development of software applications. 
  • Emerging Technologies: introduces you to prioritising testing software features according to the risk of failure, which is evaluated as a function of criticality or importance and impact of failure. 
  • Applied Analytical Models: you will be introduced to applied analytical models used in business to discover, interpret and communicate meaningful patterns of data held in silos or data warehouses and to derive knowledge to gain competitive advantage. 
  • Big Data and Visualisation: introduces you to the concepts of big data and visualisation and how that is used for decision making, exploring industry software solutions available to investigate and present data.
  • Digital Sustainability: you will gain a wide range of knowledge and understanding of the issues and topics associated with sustainability and low-impact digital technology solutions. You will also explore the interdisciplinary context of sustainability and how the development of a low carbon economy is essential in computing sector.
  • Business Process Support: you will be introduced in this unit to a range of tools, techniques and technologies used for acquiring data and processing it into meaningful information that can be used to support business functions and processes.

The HND will also help you develop your academic writing and research skills, providing you with the opportunity to develop transferable skills such as communication, teamwork, and problem-solving.

Further details about this course are available in the course specification.

Teaching and assessment

This course is delivered online and will consist of ‘live’ (synchronous) workshops and seminars along with learning materials, which you will be guided through and able to complete at a convenient time. You will learn through research, independent study, directed study and workplace scenarios. By participating in vocational activities, you will develop key behaviours and transferable skills such as communication, teamwork, research, and analysis. Plus, you’ll be supported by a friendly, committed, and qualified team of lecturers with professional and teaching experience.

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 additional support funds (if eligible). Please see our Support Pages for further information.

Additional study support

Whether you have a recognised disability, or specific learning difficulty, or not, you will be eligible to access additional learning support in all the following areas:

  • assistive software training
  • IT upskilling
  • essay planning and structure
  • proofreading and editing written work
  • bibliographies and referencing
  • time management and personal organisation
  • revision and exam tips
  • presentation techniques

On successful completion of this course, you can progress to a ‘Top-Up’ BSc (Hons) degree (subject to meeting entry requirements). Such as the BSc in Digital Technologies (Top-Up) offered at Activate Learning in conjunction with Oxford Brookes University.

Career opportunities could include becoming a Data Analyst.

Applicants will be expected to possess one of the following:

  • A minimum of 64 UCAS points, or
  • Relevant Access to Higher Education Diploma, or
  • Level 3 in Computing or Business or other related subject, or
  • T Level at Pass in a related subject

You should also have a GCSE grade 4 or above in maths and in English. Other L2 qualifications in English and maths may be accepted. Those who do not have a GCSE in maths and/or English will be required to undertake a pre-entry assessment to ensure suitability for the programme.

We are committed to creating educational opportunities for people from a variety of backgrounds and situations. If you have been out of formal education for some time, and/or you do not have the qualifications stated, we might still be able to consider your application and offer you a range of support. We are here to help. Please get in touch to find out more.

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

Tuition Fees

Fees for September 2024 entry are £6,500 per year for UK students.

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

There are a variety of funding options available to help finance your studies. If you are a UK (Home) student, you don’t have to pay your tuition fees upfront. The government provides loans to cover your full tuition fee. You may also be eligible for a maintenance loan to help cover living costs. Alternatively, your employer may pay your fees, or we could arrange a payment schedule if you will be paying your own fees.

Additional costs

Students are advised that they will need access to a laptop or PC. We recommend that you budget approximately £100 a year for additional costs, such as stationary, to undertake your studies. You can borrow textbooks and access journals from the recommended reading lists from our Learning Resource Centres either physically on campus or, in most cases, online. If you choose to purchase textbooks, they may cost up to £60 each.

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.
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