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BSc (Hons) Computer Science
Due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, examinations may be replaced by an alternative form of assessment during the academic year 2020/2021. Please refer to the Programme Specification on these pages for further details.
This course includes the sandwich year options of:
*No fees are charged for this year
Why choose this course?
- Flexibility – you may choose this course, which has an emphasis on mainstream computer science and software development, or change to another BSc in our programme.
- Be part of a highly regarded well established computer science department with excellent facilities, a strong research background, and links to business and industry.
- Prepare yourself for a career in the IT sector through a mix of academic, professional and practical study, with opportunities for industry certifications and a paid placement year. Previous students have worked placements at companies including Microsoft, IBM, and BT
- You will join a lively academic community in the School of Computer Science at Hertfordshire, one of the largest and most established in the country.
- You will be taught by highly qualified staff, most with a PhD or other advanced degree in addition to research, teaching, or professional experience.
- The School has an excellent research record and strong links with local and national business, in particular with employers.
- Recent graduates from Computer Science have gone on to work at amazing organisations including Sega Europe, Canon UK, and EE
What's the course about?
This course is ideal if you have an interest in technology and software development and how they can be applied to benefit individuals and organisations.
Core topics include foundations of computation, programming, multimedia, networks, databases, operating systems, software engineering and professional issues. In addition, you’ll choose from a wide range of specialist modules to tailor your degree to your interests. As well as gaining an understanding of the wider context in which systems operate, you’ll develop your communication and team-working skills. Thanks to the nature of this degree, you’ll develop the broad skills many employers are looking for while keeping your career options open.
What will I study?
Computer Science is both an academic and a practical subject so you will be taught in different ways such as lectures, smaller group tutorials, supervised practicals (labs) and self-study including experiential learning. Assessment is by a mix of in-class tests, exams, and coursework.
The School has well equipped laboratory facilities, with PCs running Windows 7 and/or Linux and a whole range of industry-standard and educational software from Microsoft, Oracle, Adobe, and others. There are specialist labs for networking, multimedia, devices, robotics, and projects.
In addition to scheduled classes, about 16 hours per week in Year 1, you will be expected to spend the same amount of time in self-study taking advantage of the University's extensive and up-to-date facilities. These include the Learning Resource Centres (LRCs), open 24x7, with over 1,200 computer workstations and wifi access, Studynet our versatile online study environment accessible on and off campus, and open access to our labs.
Most of our students own their own PC or Mac, but this is not essential since you can use the university facilities. StudyNet allows you to access electronic learning resources, electronic discussion with staff and other students and, for some modules, submit coursework 24/7 from anywhere in the world!
What you will learn
You will be taught the fundamental principles of the subject, which will be illustrated with current real-world technologies and applications wherever possible.
You will be taught the foundations of Computer Science, including a problem solving approach to programming, modelling and representing data, computer design, networks, operating systems and devices.
You will deepen your understanding and develop more advanced skills. You will study contemporary issues in the social, professional, ethical and legal aspects of computing. Modules also cover software development, databases, algorithms and data structures, operating systems and networks. The Second Year gives you the opportunity to choose two additional modules.
Work placement/study abroad year
You may choose to undertake a paid work placement or study abroad at one of our worldwide partner universities.
There are core modules on computer security, project planning, the user experience and concurrency, plus two modules of your choice. You will also undertake an individual project, typically an extensive piece of practical and written work.
Dilek Selin - My typical day
My typical day
A typical day would start off with getting up, catching the University UNO bus and heading towards the forum canteen (they stop serving breakfast around 11:00 but this often changes) to grab a full English breakfast and a coffee at Starbucks (yes, we have a Starbucks on campus!!). During this time, I would regularly check my emails or look at my timetable for the day ahead to find the rooms and prepare my notes for the relevant lectures and tutorials. Generally, after finishing my breakfast I would either grab a meal deal for lunch at the Student union shop since it gets busy towards lunchtime or even because I wouldn’t have time to grab food if I had back to back classes, so having prepped lunch with me or just snacks if I wasn’t feeling too hungry – bringing along food with me was always a must.
Later, if I ever had breaks during my day, I would go to the Learning Resource Centre (LRC) aka the university library. If I didn’t have any upcoming assessments, I would check the active students timetable to see if there were any sports events going on and take part in those sessions where I could participate in sports for free with other students at the uni. After that, I would go to my next classes and then finally when It was home time, I would go back to the bus stop and head home. Since I was a commuting student, by the time I got back home I had enough time to prepare myself for the next day or just wind down from the events of the day. Every student would get at least one day off in the week. For me, in my first year, this was Wednesdays. Including the weekends, I had plenty of time to run errands, book appointments for health checks and even catch up on studies thanks to the extra day off. For the students who lived on campus, they would often take their day’s off as an opportunity to set it as a laundry day!
Dilek Selin - Things you should know
Things you need to know before studying Computer Science at Herts
It’s okay to not know what you want to do, you don't have to have everything figured out now and as long as you have a direction or a path, stick to it and take new opportunities that present themselves to you, you won't regret taking up on new things and going out of your comfort zone. For me, the best thing I did was take part in a hackathon. The fintech company that was hosting it later offered me my placement, it’s one of those things that you don't expect to happen to you but you sometimes have to make your own luck in these things and research and throw yourself out into the deep end because the challenges we face now are only going to make us stronger for the challenges we are to face ahead.
In my first year everyone was fed in through the same stream, we studied four modules (modules are like subjects), so we took, programming- you get to learn about coding and different programming languages. I learnt about Java but I believe they have introduced Python as well, the second module was Platforms for computing -essentially this module covered the hardware side of computing and we learnt about logic gates which tie in with the content that the electronic engineering students also study, so even though there's a slight overlap it gives us more depth in our subject area and also a chance to explore computing aspects. The third module you'll study at level four (level four being the first year) is models and methods of computing, this was the maths-based module and you'll be exposed to theorems and truth tables and binary, it really will shape your understanding in computing logic.
And finally, Human dimensions of computing, in this module you'll get the chance to work in a group and put your presentation skills to practice, learning about the ethical side of computer science. All four of these modules are further explored in your second-year studies, where the knowledge you gained will be expanded in the sense where one of each of those four modules will link to your second-year modules. Later in your final year, you get to choose a specialised area such as Software Engineering, AI, Networks and Cyber Security. You might be thinking how I know which one to pick, luckily throughout your academic journey, you'll be given tasters to each of the streams. For example, in my second year I took up AI and robotics modules which I really enjoyed- up until then I was convinced, I'd stick with the software engineering stream, but If I had never tried, I would have never known!
Dilek Selin - Why I chose Herts
Why I chose Herts
Originally studying at Herts wasn't my primary choice, although when I opened my UCAS application and saw my results I was overwhelmed with excitement and I immediately discussed with my family that I wanted to confirm my place at the university, my family were supportive and my dad even drove us to the uni and we explored the campus and spoke with current students about their experience, after hearing and seeing a welcoming and warm atmosphere I wanted to confirm my place on my UCAS application. I had also attended one of the applicant days held by the computer science department. During the applicant day, I spoke with a senior lecturer and also my professor for one of my final year modules as well as a Student Ambassador, she used to be a student at the university so together they both provided me with knowledge on the computer science course and its layout, how it would be assessed. After speaking with them I felt reassured and confident. The University is spread out across two campuses; the second campus is just a 15-minute walk away alternatively a free shuttle bus can take you there in five minutes. There are several activities and events held across the two sites. For example, on our de Havilland campus, there are opportunities to take part in leisurely activities for free.
We have sports available through the university’s active students’ program, active students are free sports sessions for the students, they have a rotating timetable that can be found online, and you just turn up and play!! The variety of sports is very widespread too, you can take part in badminton, volleyball, tennis, football, boxing the list is endless. And the best thing about it is, you don't have to be an elite athlete to take part. They also have a rewards scheme with active students, each time you attend a session you can get a stamp and when you obtain 10 you can get a free hoodie and t-shirt! It’s a great way to stay fit and healthy, to add to this, I've been a commuting student ever since I enrolled and I have not missed out on any of the social sides of the university experience, of course, certain students love nightlife events and we have plenty of events that help throughout the week for those who love a cheeky evening out, I personally prefer going to London and seeing concerts or theatre performances. From Hatfield station to Kings cross it’s just a 20-minute journey.
Male to Female ratio in Computer Science - Being a Female in STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics)
In terms of women in tech, it’s fairly obvious to say that yes there are more males in the industry, however, many companies and establishments are striving to achieve a more balanced gender ratio, the current ratio of women in computer science is 45% this has increased significantly since the 20th century. One of the main reasons why young girls choose not to pursue comp sci is due to a lack of role models in the industry. However, the whole female to male ratio is so ironic as Ada Lovelace was the world’s first computer programmer so I think it’s safe to say that having a role model to look up to couldn't have been any more inspirational and empowering. As a female in STEM, I feel strong as I can break the norms and stereotypes of others and work together with my peers to come up with solutions to problems. The computer science department held an event for world women’s day and female and male students from our course came together to celebrate women all over the world and women in Tech. I hope that it will be an annual event for many more of our students to celebrate in the future.
Meet Steven Frith who since graduating has excelled in a career in the defence industry. He currently works as a System Engineer at Selex ES.
|Current job role||System Engineer|
|Year of graduation||2008|
|Course of study||BSc(Hons) Computer Science|
Getting into defence
When Steven Frith graduated, he certainly wasn't planning on working in the defence industry. Like most graduates, he visited careers fairs and applied to a range of companies, keen to see what the different businesses offered. After being offered a position with Selex Galileo, Steven was put on a two-year graduate scheme which gave him the opportunity to see all aspects of the company, undertaking three-month placements around the different business areas as an Assistant Engineer.
This diversity is one of the reasons why Steven has been with the company ever since and is still involved in projects that he started working on as part of the graduate scheme. As a System Engineer, he has the opportunity to be involved in all parts of the system build process, including requirement analysis, design and implementation.
Engineering systems to a global specification
Selex ES works with defence and government customers and Steven typically begins to work with them after they have submitted their software requirements. He believes that part of his role as a consultant is to question what the client wants, both to ensure that it is feasible to create the required system, and to ensure that it meets all the needs of the company.
However, Steven's work is set to change in the future as government and defence needs change. He says, 'One of the most exciting areas within Selex ES is future planning. I believe that cyber security will become one of our key threats, and so we might have to think more carefully about the role of human behaviour and psychology in the systems we design and build in the future.'
Working for an international company, Steven's client base is spread around the world and has allowed him an amazing insight into the different ways that countries work. 'I recently spent six months in Riad, Saudi Arabia where I was based on a secure compound. We were working very closely with the client and that required an awareness and understanding of world issues and culture, particularly the importance of respect in Middle East culture.'
The value of soft and interpersonal skills is clear, as well as the importance of not relying solely on technical knowledge. 'I've also spent a lot of time in Italy, where our parent company is based, which has a very different culture to the Middle East.' Soft skills are clearly as important as technical knowledge in this sector and Steven looks set to continue his current success as he aims for chartered engineer status with the IET.
Meet Hafsa Rahman who has excelled in her career since graduating. She currently works in IT Application and System Support at Optoma Technology.
|Current job role||IT Application and System Support at Optoma Technology|
|Year of graduation||2018|
|Course of study||BSc (Hons) Computer Science|
Hafsa's time as a student at the University helped ready her for employment in many ways. Her Computer Science degree facilitated a broad spectrum of transferable skills, from teamwork and multitasking to time management and communication skills, which Hafsa believes were invaluable when job searching.
She says, 'The University organised job fairs where I had the opportunity to meet many top employers and had the chance to ask them many questions face to face.'
These practicable and social aspects of her studies exposed Hafsa to employers, presenting tangible links and networking opportunities that would be beneficial after graduating. She credits her time at Herts with helping her gain confidence as well as boosting her interview skills.
Hafsa advises current students looking to pursue a similar career path to ensure they thoroughly investigate what jobs are out there before graduating and identify what jobs they would excel in. She recommends looking out for graduate schemes and getting involved in as much professional experience as possible during university. Preparation is key and university study provides the skills, resources and opportunities to best prepare students for entering employment.
Setting her sights on further development, Hafsa is planning to return to the University of Hertfordshire to do a part time MA in Computer Science, allowing her the flexibility to continue working full time.
Please note that some of the images and videos on our course pages may have been taken before social distancing rules in the UK came into force.