Do you need to choose between A level Computing and A level ICT?

ICT and Computing – what’s the difference?

If your school/college offers both A level ICT and A level Computing, how do you decide which to take? What is the difference between the two subjects? Most students will have done ICT at GCSE level, but not Computer Studies and so it is difficult to know what A level Computing will be like. Here are some pointers to help you make the choice.

ICT A level is intended for students who will use computers in business – and particularly at the management level. A level Computing is for students with more of a technical bent who may enjoy a career in program development, systems analysis, network management etc.

If you have it mind to take Computing at university, there is no requirement for A level Computing, but many courses require that you have A level Maths. Although there is no requirement for A level Computing, all of my students who have taken Computing degrees say that the A level Computing was an excellent foundation for their degree course. Much of what they needed to study in their first year, they already knew and so they were well ahead before they started. (Quite a few of my pupils have come top of year in Computing courses at UCL and Imperial.)

If you are good at Maths, this is a good indicator for your aptitude for A level Computing, whereas if you are good at English, you are likely to do well at ICT.

A level ICT is an ideal subject to couple with A level Business Studies as there is quite a bit of overlap between the subjects. The two subjects complement each other and doing both together is an advantage to your performance in both subjects.

An A level ICT course will teach you how ICT can be used to advantage in business and how to go about developing an effective ICT system. An A level Computing course will teach you how to program and understand the basics of how computers work.

Finally – for anyone needing to make this choice who would like to look at this in more detail – I can do introductory lessons in both subjects to give you a much better feel for the differences.