Information Technology BTEC is a practical course for students who wish to develop their expertise with IT and its uses. The Extended Certificate is a two-year course equivalent to one A Level.
An IT BTEC is a widely accepted pathway to university, as well as teaching you the expertise and skills for IT related roles. It develops your abilities to learn independently, to research actively and methodically, to plan and manage time, to organise files, and to be an active member of a working group. All these skills are valued by universities as well as by employers.
In addition to the general entry criteria that the College has, you will be expected to have achieved at least Grade 4 in GCSE English Language. A good standard of English is important during group discussion work, presentation work, and report and technical writing.
Previous study of IT at GCSE level is useful but not essential.
This course focuses on four areas
- You will learn about relational database management systems, normalisation and SQL (Structured Query Language – the standard language for relational database management systems). You will get to grips with how databases can be used to solve a range of problems and how those solutions are tested. You will create a database from a client’s brief and learn how to analyse test results and problems to optimise the performance of a database.
- Social Media in Business. Learn about social media sites and their uses, how they are planned and designed, how they gather and analyse data, and the issues and risks associated with them.
- Data Modelling. Learn how data modelling can be used to solve problems. Find out how using data modelling provides the computational ability to compare consequences and determine a preferred course of action. Develop the skills and techniques necessary to create complex spreadsheets using Microsoft Excel in order to produce accurate information that informs decision making. This is achieved through a practical project to design and implement a data model to meet client requirements.
- IT terminology and understanding of learning about digital devices, the impact of IT, transmitting data, emerging technologies, and protecting data and information.
In Information Technology, two of the units are assessed through coursework and represent 40% of your total marks.
The remaining two units are done under exam conditions and represent 60% of the marks; one through an assessment under controlled conditions; and one through a written exam.
The course is useful and interesting in its own right as well as complementing a wide range of subjects such as Business, Science, Art, Drama, Media or 3D Design.
An Information Technology BTEC is an incredibly flexible course, with 67% of students going onto university or further education.
Here are some typical university destinations that our Information Technology BTEC students go on to.
Click on a destination to see some examples of courses they have taken;
Typical courses: CGI and Visual Effects with Digital Arts Foundation Year; Deck Officer Cadetship
University of West London
Typical courses: Cyber Security; Graphic Design (Visual Communications and Illustration)
Liverpool John Moores University
Typical courses: Software Engineering
University of Kent
Typical courses: Digital Design with a Year in Industry (4 years)
Brunel University London
Typical courses: Computer Science (Software Engineering) with Placement
Typical courses: Computer Games Programming (with Foundation Year)
Manchester Metropolitan University
Typical courses: Marketing
Oxford Brookes University
Typical courses: Engineering Foundation
University of Portsmouth
Typical courses: Counter Terrorism, Intelligence and Cybercrime (Dual Degree)
University of Sussex
Typical courses: Business and Management Studies (with a professional placement year)
This course leads to an equivalent qualification of one A Level and is an excellent grounding to go onto further study in an IT-related subject, as well as providing expertise and skills for IT and businesses more broadly.
How does BTEC Information Technology differ from Computer Science A Level?
Overall approach: An Information Technology BTEC focuses on the “user side” of computers and on understanding how to operate a range of software to get tasks completed, often in the context of a particular organisation or business. Computer Science A Level deals with the “behind the scenes” work of developing and implementing various sets of instructions to enable a computer to do a particular task.
Content of the course: Information Technology BTEC has a broad variety of content, which enables students to focus on computing interests and plans they have for next steps into further study, an apprenticeship, or employment. It works through units to understand user theory and how to produce documents, files, presentations, spreadsheets, databases etc to perform day to day tasks. Computer Science A Level is more narrowly focused on computer theory and programming, consisting of the fundamentals of programming, data structures, algorithms, and object-orientated programme design. You learn about the detail of the internal workings of a computer, right down to the basics of how all data is stored using binary, covering aspects of computer architecture, showing the specifics of the ‘fetch-execute’ cycle and exactly how data is accessed from main memory using assembly language instructions.
Assessment: In Information Technology BTEC, 60% of the marks go on a formal and controlled assessment under exam conditions, the other 40% of the marks are for coursework. In Computer Science A Level 80% of the marks go on two formal exams and 20% of the marks on a coursework project.
What extra support/enrichment activities are on offer?
Students have opportunities to take part in IT/ Computing related visits, such as Kingston University Gaming Lab, Emirates Aviation; IT in the Airline Business and ‘behind the scenes’ at Thorpe Park.
Students are also encouraged to take up employment in IT environments outside college hours and to undertake work placements during the College’s Wider Skills Week at the end of their first year.