Computer Science

Why study Computer Science?

Ian Livingstone Life president, Eidos:  “We simply cannot hire enough computer scientists and this seems madness at a time of such high youth unemployment… Companies like Rolls-Royce and GlaxoSmithKline depend on great programmers as much as games developers and visual effects companies do.”
It is projected that there will be 1,000,000 more computer science jobs than students by 2020; 71% of all STEM career openings will be in computer science related fields, but only 8% of STEM graduates are computer scientists.
If you like solving problems, e.g. Sudoku and logic puzzles, are good at lateral thinking, are creative, and like making things that actually do something you will enjoy the Computer Science course. It is about the logical problem solving and design and implementation of computer systems and software.
Computer Science is a swiftly moving field that unites many disciplines, eg maths, programming, psychology and engineering. It opens an array of career paths and appears individually or jointly in a range of courses, e.g. computer science & games technology, computer science and web technologies and computer science with artificial intelligence.
GCSE Computer Science is not a prerequisite for A level Computer Science; a good grade at GCSE Maths is necessary though. Students should also be passionate and curious, and happy to build and code outside class too.  A level Maths is not essential to take computer science but students who also take A level Mathematics will find elements of this course easier to grasp. Students considering taking Computer Science at university should also consider A level Maths.
In the past 5 years, four of our students have gained awards for achieving A level grades in the top 50 in the UK and many have attained places at top universities, or gone straight to industry eg GCHQ or Renishaw. Students have interned and now work with companies like Google, SkyScanner, QinetiQ, and 3M.
Mark Zuckerberg , Founder, Facebook:  “Our policy at Facebook is literally to hire as many talented engineers as we can find. There just aren’t enough people who are trained and have these skills today.”

Computer Science A level is currently taught to Sixth Form girls and boys at Monmouth School for Boys.

Monmouth School for Boys Head of Department: Ms L A Hope

Course content

Board: AQA   A level Syllabus Code: 7517

Fundamentals of programming   Consequences of uses of computing
Fundamentals of data structures Fundamentals of communication and networking
Fundamentals of algorithms Fundamentals of databases
Theory of computation Big Data
Fundamentals of data representation Fundamentals of functional programming
Fundamentals of computer systems Systematic approach to problem solving
Fundamentals of computer organisation and architecture Non-exam assessment – the computing practical project

Method of Assessment

Paper 1   (40% of A level).
2½ hour on-screen exam with short and extended answer questions testing topics from sections 1 to 4 above, and programming and problem solving skills based on a pre-released skeleton program.

Paper 2     (40% of A level).
2½ hour written exam with short and extended answer questions testing topics from sections 5 to 12 above.

Non-exam assessment     (20% of A level).
A project systematically exploring a problem and developing a fully programmed solution. This allows students to choose an area of interest, explore it in greater depth, extending their programming skills and deepening their understanding of computer science.