Computing - With Specialisations

The course teaches students computing fundamentals, complemented with detailed knowledge, problem-solving and specialised technical skills required for analysing, designing and developing technical software solutions. The course offers specialisations in the second semester to choose from. The stream element is a focused set of modules to bring the learners quickly to the industry entry standard for the chosen specialisation. The streams/specialisations (subject to availability) are: Software Development, Cybersecurity, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Blockchain and Web Development.

The Software Development stream provides learners detailed knowledge, problem-solving and technical skills in the area of software development using a modern programming language, such as Java, and application development framework(s).

The Cybersecurity stream provides detailed knowledge, problem-solving and specialised technical skills required for application security development, forensics investigation, application/service vulnerability detection and incident detection.

The Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning stream provides learners an understanding and application development of AI-powered products by leveraging expertise in machine learning and computational methods.

The Blockchain stream explores the development of blockchain applications and their implications in other fields by providing a practical understanding of blockchain application development, blockchain foundations and distributed ledger systems.

The Web Development stream provides learners technical and development skills in core topics of web programming covering topics such as advanced client-side development, cloud application development and DevOpsSec.

Who is the course for?
This course will appeal to graduates with a level 8 degree from different backgrounds who would wish to change their non-ICT qualification into the computer science field through a level 8 award in computing.

It will also appeal to technical and non-technical professionals who would like to upgrade their skills in one of the specialisations provided by this course, helping them to progress faster in their employment or to apply the knowledge in their current role.

Subjects taught

Core Modules
• Software Development
• Object Oriented Software Engineering
• Introduction to Databases
• Web Design and Client Side Scripting
• Computer Architecture, Operating Systems and Networks
• Project

AND choose one of the following specialist streams:
Software Development Stream
• Data Structures
• Algorithms and Advanced Programming
• Distributed Systems

Cybersecurity Stream
• Security Principles and Secure Programming
• Network and Web Penetration Testing
• Digital Forensics

AI/ML Stream
• Artificial Intelligence
• Machine Learning Fundamentals
• Statistics

Blockchain Stream
• Blockchain Foundations
• Blockchain Application Development
• Distributed Systems

Web Development Stream
• Cloud Application Development
• Advanced Client Side Development
• DevOpsSec

Note: Prospective students are required to specify the specialisation they would like to follow when they apply for a place within the Higher Diploma in Science in Computing programme.

Note: Streams/specialisations will run subject to student numbers.

Entry requirements

A level 8 degree or its equivalent in a non-cognate discipline. Non-standard applications will be also considered on an individual basis. The College operates a Recognition of Prior Experiential Learning (RPEL) scheme meaning applicants who do not meet the normal academic requirements may be considered based on extensive relevant work and other experience. This may be assessed using a portfolio of learning, demonstration of work produced, interview, and assessment. Non-English speaking applicants must demonstrate fluency in English evidenced by an IELTS academic score of at least 6.0 or equivalent.

Laptop Requirement
This programme has a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy. Specifically, students are expected to successfully participate in lectures, laboratories and projects using a laptop computer with a substantial hardware configuration. A suitable configuration is 8GB of RAM (16GB are recommended); a modern 64-bit x86 processor (Intel i5 or superior); 250+ GB of available space in hard disk; WiFi card; and a recent version of Ubuntu, macOS or Windows. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure their laptop is functioning correctly and that they have full administrator rights to the machine. NCI IT does not provide support for personal devices. Some students may be able to avail of the Student Laptop Loan Scheme, subject to eligibility.

Application dates

Application: Apply online at


(1-Year Option) 3 semesters delivered over 1 calendar year

(2-Year Option) 4 semesters delivered over 2 calendar years

Blended - Livestream with some on-campus stream classes, scheduled in advance.

Indicative Timetable
(1-Year Option) Three evenings per week, 18.00 - 22.00

(2-Year Option) Two nights a week, 18.00 – 22.00, and a number of Saturdays, 09.00 – 18.00.

Enrolment dates

Start Date: September 2024.

Post Course Info

Award and Progression
The Higher Diploma in Science in Computing is awarded by QQI at level 8 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ). Students who successfully complete this course may be eligible to progress to a major award at level 9 on the NFQ.

As graduates from other disciplines and with work experience, learners will have life skills and experiences that they bring with them on to the programme and into a new subject domain. Therefore, they are eligible for a number of roles. They could work in positions that are in-line with their skills but in the lCT sector or apply lCT knowledge gained through this programme to their current role.

Graduates may also avail of entry-level lCT-related positions, depending on the selected stream, such as software developer; DevOps engineer; application developer; entry-level cybersecurity engineer; cybersecurity tester; computer forensics examiner; software tester; front-end developer, web developer.

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Higher Diploma (Level 8 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Blended,Daytime,Evening,Part time,Weekend

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    Course provider