Higher Computing Science

Course Aims

To enable learners to:

  • apply computational-thinking skills across a range of contemporary contexts
  • apply knowledge and understanding of key concepts and processes in computing science
  • apply skills and knowledge in analysis, design, implementation, testing and evaluation to a range of digital solutions
  • communicate computing concepts and explain computational behaviour clearly and concisely using appropriate terminology
  • develop an understanding of the role and impact of computing science in changing and influencing our environment and society


The course comprises four main areas:

Area Description
Software Design and Development Candidates develop knowledge, understanding and practical problem-solving skills in software design and development using Python. This develops their programming and computational-thinking skills by implementing practical solutions and explaining how these operate.
Computer Systems Candidates develop an understanding of how data and instructions are stored in binary form and develop their knowledge of computer architecture.
Database Design and Development

Candidates develop knowledge, understanding and practical problem-solving skills in database design and development using MySQL.

Web Design and Development

This allows candidates to analyse, design, implement, test and evaluate practical solutions to web-based problems, using a range of development tools such as HTML, CSS, HTML Forms and Javascript.


Students will have to complete a timed open book Coursework Assignment. The purpose of the assignment is to assess the practical application of knowledge and skills from across the Course. 

The exam is worth approximately 70% of the pupil’s mark with the remaining 30% coming from a piece of externally assessed practical coursework.

Mark Hay, Course Leader Computing Science

Mark Hay is the Head of Computing Science at Robert Gordon’s College and has held a number of Computing teaching positions in schools across the region. Mark also has previous experience in the engineering sector as a programmer where he began his career. He holds an Honours degree in Computing from Abertay University and a PGDE from University of Aberdeen. 

Mark has extensive experience of working with the SQA, going back to 2012. He is currently a Team Leader for Higher Computing, and is also a Paper Writer for SQA Computing Exams. He has also played a leading role in recent curriculum development, having written Higher and Advanced Higher Computing materials for the SQA. Given his expertise, he was invited to lecture to trainee teachers at Strathclyde University, and he is one of the leading authorities on Computing Science education in Scotland.