A-Level Choices: Computing? Watch

petitechou
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Hi, I'm in year 11 at the moment and thinking about doing my A-Levels (got to apply after Christmas).

I've narrowed it down to French, German and English Literature, but I really want to do computing - it's either that, Spanish or Drama - but I really want to know what it involves and whether you need experience in computer code or making programmes?

I love ICT at GCSE, but I know that it's totally different to that, so I'd be going in blind. I know my friend at school said you have to know a computer language like C++ or Java and that there's never any girls in computing.

I really need to figure this out.
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gr8wizard10
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You don't need prior experience regarding entry to the subject. However, I would research a bit about the A-level and what it involves and see if it is something you'd be interested in. What would you like to do after your A-levels if you don't mind me asking, unless you haven't yet thought about it.
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Segadfx
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(Original post by petitechou)
Hi, I'm in year 11 at the moment and thinking about doing my A-Levels (got to apply after Christmas).

I've narrowed it down to French, German and English Literature, but I really want to do computing - it's either that, Spanish or Drama - but I really want to know what it involves and whether you need experience in computer code or making programmes?

I love ICT at GCSE, but I know that it's totally different to that, so I'd be going in blind. I know my friend at school said you have to know a computer language like C++ or Java and that there's never any girls in computing.

I really need to figure this out.
You do not need any prior programming experience. Any programming you do will be taught from scratch since I imagine most students wouldn't have delved into it too much.
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petitechou
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What would you like to do after your A-levels if you don't mind me asking
Well I'm thinking about doing an English Lit and French degree. I'm quite academic, but I don't want to be the only girl on a course 'cause I'd feel really out of place...

Good to know about the experience thing, though!
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Namige
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You have to have a logical mind to be good at programming. It's not as simple as simply learning a 'new language'. If you are comfortable with maths and physics (A*/A), then I would take it. Otherwise I wouldn't recommend it. It is true there are hardly any girls in Computing. There was only 1 out of 20 during my AS levels.
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petitechou
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I'm on A's for all my sciences and maths - although I doubt I'm getting an A* anytime soon - but I wanted to do something more logical with less essays considering my other choices. I thought it was basic maths though?
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Milostar
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(Original post by petitechou)
Hi, I'm in year 11 at the moment and thinking about doing my A-Levels (got to apply after Christmas).

I've narrowed it down to French, German and English Literature, but I really want to do computing - it's either that, Spanish or Drama - but I really want to know what it involves and whether you need experience in computer code or making programmes?

I love ICT at GCSE, but I know that it's totally different to that, so I'd be going in blind. I know my friend at school said you have to know a computer language like C++ or Java and that there's never any girls in computing.

I really need to figure this out.
Don't let the fact that mostly boys study it if you want to do it. I did a Computing A level and I really loved it. There were only a couple of girls, but it didn't matter and we weren't treated any differently by classmates or teachers, apart from by one rather sexist teacher who thought he was in a 1950s grammar school :mad:

It's certainly not too difficult as long as you have the ability to think logically/analytically, which I expect you do as you're doing well in maths . When I did it, they didn't assume you knew anything apart from basic computer usage, but do check with your school/college

An added bonus is that if you go on to learn programming well it's really easy to get a job, and salaries are really good.
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petitechou
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(Original post by Milostar)
Don't let the fact that mostly boys study it if you want to do it. I did a Computing A level and I really loved it. There were only a couple of girls, but it didn't matter and we weren't treated any differently by classmates or teachers, apart from by one rather sexist teacher who thought he was in a 1950s grammar school :mad:

It's certainly not too difficult as long as you have the ability to think logically/analytically, which I expect you do as you're doing well in maths . When I did it, they didn't assume you knew anything apart from basic computer usage, but do check with your school/college

An added bonus is that if you go on to learn programming well it's really easy to get a job, and salaries are really good.
Thanks! I was really worried about it, but I think I might go for it. I'll be doing Spanish, German, French, Literature and this, so it'll be a break from all those essays and analysis. I think the teachers are pretty nice and I know a guy doing it too, so it should be fun!
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benclarky
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I do Computing as a GCSE and it's so boring, it's simply general knowledge (what features a phone have etc.) I have not learnt anything about coding or software like Java. (Edexcel Exam Board)
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Karchii
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(Original post by benclarky)
I do Computing as a GCSE and it's so boring, it's simply general knowledge (what features a phone have etc.) I have not learnt anything about coding or software like Java. (Edexcel Exam Board)
Haha exactly! I do Computing on OCR and we have to do a useless MIT App Inventor controlled assessment.

@OP, it depends on what you want to be when your older and what you want to study in university.

If you want to do Computer Science (having a guess), Math is a compulsory a-level subject and Physics is preferable.

In Computing, I presume the math is OK apart from the occasional algorithms.
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Upr1s1ng
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(Original post by benclarky)
I do Computing as a GCSE and it's so boring, it's simply general knowledge (what features a phone have etc.) I have not learnt anything about coding or software like Java. (Edexcel Exam Board)
Computing at A-level is nothing like this.. So this isn't really all that helpful. The idea of GCSE is that it's basic, so you pick the subjects you want to know more about in A-levels.
Computing at A-level, with AQA, anyway, teaches you how to programme, teaches you about binary, hexadecimal, hamming code, Gray coding, analogue and digital matters, networking, all sorts. It does have maths, but it is pretty straightforward once you get the hang of it.
You do need an analytical brain because it often involves looking at a programme and troubleshooting as well as analysing programmes and explain their outcome. It is a REALLY good A-level if you're interested in that area of IT, and one I'd highly recommend.
I'm a girl too, and one of two in the class. You don't even notice after a while, really.


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petitechou
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(Original post by Upr1s1ng)
Computing at A-level is nothing like this.. So this isn't really all that helpful. The idea of GCSE is that it's basic, so you pick the subjects you want to know more about in A-levels.
Computing at A-level, with AQA, anyway, teaches you how to programme, teaches you about binary, hexadecimal, hamming code, Gray coding, analogue and digital matters, networking, all sorts. It does have maths, but it is pretty straightforward once you get the hang of it.
You do need an analytical brain because it often involves looking at a programme and troubleshooting as well as analysing programmes and explain their outcome. It is a REALLY good A-level if you're interested in that area of IT, and one I'd highly recommend.
I'm a girl too, and one of two in the class. You don't even notice after a while, really.
Thanks, I think it'd just be a nice hobby and something more logical to do with my other A-levels being essay based. I think being one of only a handful of girls won't be too bad 'cause I know a few guys who are taking it too - though they're all very nerdy!
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benclarky
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(Original post by Upr1s1ng)
Computing at A-level is nothing like this.. So this isn't really all that helpful. The idea of GCSE is that it's basic, so you pick the subjects you want to know more about in A-levels.
Computing at A-level, with AQA, anyway, teaches you how to programme, teaches you about binary, hexadecimal, hamming code, Gray coding, analogue and digital matters, networking, all sorts. It does have maths, but it is pretty straightforward once you get the hang of it.
You do need an analytical brain because it often involves looking at a programme and troubleshooting as well as analysing programmes and explain their outcome. It is a REALLY good A-level if you're interested in that area of IT, and one I'd highly recommend.
I'm a girl too, and one of two in the class. You don't even notice after a while, really.


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I wasn't saying don't go for it. I'm not doing a levels so I wouldn't know if it's different or not. Only trying to give a perspective just incase the content is the same...


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donutaud15
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you don't need experience, it helps but not necessary.

also if you want to learn programming, it's possible to start learning yourself.

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