Higher Diploma in Science in Computing (Software Development) 2 year online (January 2020)

National College of Ireland (HDSDEV_JANOL_Y1)
Key Programme Details

Higher Diploma in Science in Computing

NFQ Level

8 About NFQ

Delivery Method

Online, Distance


Part Time

ECTS Credits



School of Computing

General Information

The Springboard Team




1850 221 721 (Option 4)


Springboard Office
National College of Ireland
Mayor Street
Dublin 1


Springboard Co-ordinator

Important Dates
Application Deadline


Start Date


End Date


About this Course

Overview of Eligibility and Funding:
For the two year part-time ICT Conversion courses if you are unemployed and in receipt of a jobseekers payment (including Farm Assist and Qualified Adults of Working Age) you are not eligible for the two year ICT Conversion courses.

Fees: A student contribution fee of €540 is applicable if you are in employment. No fees are applicable if you are unemployed and in receipt of an eligible DEASP payment. This amount must be paid in full no later than Friday 13th March 2020. If a student withdraws before the commencement of the course the full amount that they have paid is refundable. No refund will be processed once the student commences the course the week beginning 20th January 2020. Please see https://www.ncirl.ie/NewStudents for more details. Please note that this scheme does not cover any allowance for books and materials

This course will appeal to non-technical professionals or graduates with a level 8 degree from different backgrounds who would like to upgrade their skills in the computing domain, helping them to progress faster in their employment or to apply the gained knowledge in their current role. The course teaches students the computing fundamentals, complemented with detailed knowledge, problem-solving and specialised technical skills required for designing, developing and deploying software.

Software Development offers learners detailed knowledge,problem-solving and technical skills in the area of software development using, for example, the Java programming language and the Ruby on Rails framework.


This course will typically 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. Nonetheless, it is noted that the course is technical in nature and will entail a significant amount of independent study. Given the content and the timescale you will need to have a strong commitment to the course and a willingness to fully engage with the technical content. Graduates may avail of many entry-level jobs, such as Software Developer, Web Development Engineer and Software Engineer.

Entry Requirements

Applicants holding a level 8 degree or its equivalent in a non-cognate discipline will be considered for the course. Non-standard applications will also be considered on an individual basis. It should be noted that the course is technical in nature and will entail a significant amount of independent study. The National College of Ireland 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 and interview.

Technical Requirements:
Besides having a very strong WIFI connection, students of online courses at the National College of Ireland are required to have the following equipment in order to effectively participate in an online classroom:

• Laptop/Desktop
Specifically, students are expected to successfully participate in lectures, laboratories and projects using a portable computer (laptop/notebook) with a substantial hardware configuration. Its minimal suitable configuration is 8GB of RAM (16GB are recommended); a modern 64-bit x86 multi-core processor (Intel i5 or superior); 250+ GB of available space in hard disk; WiFi card; and a recent version of Ubuntu, macOS, or Windows.

• Microphone
Any microphone is acceptable, provided the audio is clear. Most laptops have an inbuilt microphone which is perfectly acceptable, however occasionally an external mic is necessary.
You may test your microphone’s compatibility with your browser here: https://www.onlinemictest.com/

• Headphones
Headphones are strongly recommended to avoid echo while using the microphone.

• External Webcam
External Webcams (USB cable) are required in order to authenticate yourself for examination purposes. Onboard webcams, ie webcams built into the laptop are not appropriate for examination authentication. Webcams are not required for day to day classes.

Long Description

Year 1 Semester 1
• Software Development
• Computer Architecture Operating Systems and Networks
• Web Design
• Career Bridge

Year 1 Semester 2
• Introduction to Databases
• Object Oriented Software Engineering
• Data Structures and Alogorithms
• Career Bridge

Year 2 Semester 1
• Web Services and API Development
• Advanced Programming
• Server Side Development
• Career Bridge

Year 2 Semester 2
• Project
• Career Bridge

Relevant Employment / Placement can be undertaken within the course timeline or commenced within 3 months of course completion.

Why Choose This Course

The Career Bridge module is embedded into each of the programme schedules. Assisting students to develop and achieve their career goals is a core mission within the NCI Career Development & Employability department. This department within NCI has won the AHECS “Excellence in Employability Award” for 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2018 and is also a winner of the Career Impact Strategy Award of The Education Awards 2019, it also achieved the QS Stars rating for Employability in 2019.
The Career Bridge module develops in students the ability to self-manager their careers, identify and address competency gaps, identify and apply for career opportunities, develop an online brand, network effectively and promote themselves at interview.

Coding Tutorials for Non –Technical Candidates
For candidates who have never studied anything in relation to computing before or worked in a technical area before we have provided some free tutorials that you might find useful. Please note that these are not part of your course and we provide them only as a guide to assist you in the decision making process https://www.codecademy.com/
“Hour of Code” - Drag and drop intro to basic coding concepts (designed for 7-70 yr olds, don't be put off by the apparent simplicity of it) https://studio.code.org/hoc/1
Done that? Try the full 20 Hours - again this may seem fairly simple to you but if you follow through all 20 lessons you will have absorbed a good solid understanding of the main coding concepts https://studio.code.org/s/20-hour

Specifically for Higher Diploma in Computing Candidates
If you have never coded before do the 1 hour of code and the 20 hours of code tutorials, see above.
If you have coded before, but not in Java, try this free online course:
If you want to practice your Java: http://codingbat.com/

Career Opportunities

This course was designed to meet the needs of the IT sector and secure future employment for graduates. Companies who have hired 2018 graduates of Software Development include Version 1 (Java Developer), Version 1 (Associate Consultant), Ergo (Technical Account Manager), Bookee (Senior Full Stack Developer), Dell (Graduate Programme, Enterprise Support), DPD (System Integration Engineer), Rockall Technologies (Graduate Engineer), Fenergo (Java Developer), Openet (Graduate Software Engineer), Ding (Junior QA Engineer), Oracle (Senior Cloud Customer Operations Engineer), Global Payments (Operations Analyst).

Timetable Info

Duration: 2 years, 4 Semesters. January to May 2020, late May to August 2020, September to December 2020 and January to May 2021

Indicative Schedule: Tuesday and Thursday 18.00 - 22.00 and a number of Saturdays 09.00 - 18.00
Career Bridge online classes will be delivered one day per week 17.00 start -day to be confirmed.

While every effort is made to schedule exams for part-time students in the evenings or Saturdays this is not always possible and all students, Part-time and Full-time, are expected to sit end of semester examinations during the day and evening Monday to Saturday

Delivery Location


Delivery Notes


Admissions Contact Details
Contact Person

The Springboard Team


Springboard Office
National College of Ireland
Mayor Street
Dublin 1


1850 221721 (Option 4)



RPL Information

The college operates a Recognition of Prior Experiential Learning (RPEL) scheme - meaning applicants who do not meet the normal academic entry requirements may be considered based on extensive relevant work and other experience. This may be assessed through an interview and assessment

Application Procedures

ACTION ITEM: Throughout the application process please continue to check your Spam and Junk folders in your email account as emails from springboard@ncirl.ie can at times default to these folders instead. In addition, please ensure that you have only one email address registered with Springboard. The email address that you login to your Springboard account with must match the email address on your Springboard application form. If the email address on the application form is different, you will need to update it. Failure to do so will only cause confusion and as a result you may end up missing vital emails from the Springboard team in regards to your application. We also ask you to review the postal address that you have included on your application form and ensure that is up to date.

This supporting documentation must be uploaded to www.springboardcourses.ie along with your application or within a few days of having submitted your application to ensure that your application can be assessed for a January start.

1. Your current curriculum vitae:
Please provide an up to date CV. The Employer Name and Location needs be outlined for every job. If you were unemployed or travelling for a period of time this too needs to be included on your CV including the dates and location(s) of where you resided during that time. Any unexplained gaps will result in a delay in the processing of your Springboard+ application

2. Career Statement:
Please include a 300 word career statement detailing what has motivated you to undertake the programme and how the programme fits in with your career objectives. This statement is compulsory and must be course specific. It should clearly demonstrate that you have researched the course and have a broad understanding of the course you are applying for. Unless it refers explicitly to the course you are applying for it will not be accepted. Please also ensure that you have included your full name and the exact course title on the career statement.

3. Educational Transcripts for any relevant qualifications listed in your application form and the final certificates for any qualifications listed in your application form. Alternatively a Diploma Supplement will suffice if it contains a breakdown of all subjects taken for the duration of the course.

4. Candidates whose qualifications are in foreign languages - please ensure all documentation is provided in its original language. You must also have these documents officially translated into English by a professional, registered translation company. Translations done by you, the applicant, are not acceptable. There are a number of such companies here in Dublin 1 who will do this for you.

5. A copy of your current passport

6. Non-EU applicants will need to provide a copy of their GNIB card showing a Stamp 4 or Stamp 4 EU FAM . You will need to upload evidence of your first Stamp 4 Visa and your current Stamp 4.

7. Verification of Status Required:
In Employment - please provide a recently dated letter from your current employer on headed paper, signed and dated.
Returner - Please provide a letter/statement signed by the Commissioner for Oaths confirming your current status. A form to complete the process is available here: https://springboardcourses.ie/pdfs/Declaration%20for%20Returners%20(2019).pdf
Department of Social Protection - Please provide a recently dated letter confirming that you are on the live register detailing which payment you are in receipt of (alternatively your most recent post office receipt will suffice) or a letter confirming that you are signing for social insurance contribution credits.
Previously Self Employed - A letter from your accountant or revenue confirming that your business is no longer trading.

This supporting documentation must be uploaded to www.springboardcourses.ie along with your application or within a few days of having submitted your application to ensure that your application can be assessed for a September start.

Further Documentation/Interview Requirements
Depending on your background you may be required to submit additional documentation and/or participate in an interview or logic test. The Course Director may also request to meet you in person for an informal interview to assess your suitability for the course. We will advise you in due course if any of the above applies to you.

English Language Requirements
Candidates whose first language is not English may also be required to sit the free NCI Academic Competency Test. Regardless of how long you have lived or worked in Ireland if you have not already successfully completed an academic course through English lasting at least one year and if you cannot provide a suitable IELTS or TOEFL test result you may need to do the NCI Academic Competency Test. We will advise you if this applies to you.

Please note that once courses are at capacity they may close without warning.

Online Information Session

We will be holding online open evenings this summer where you can learn more about the computing courses we offer at National College of Ireland under the Springboard+ Initiative.