Top navigation bar Bottom navigation bar

Leisure courses

Access courses

Computing (Software Development or Networking & Systems Support) Advanced (Level 3)

This study programme will provide you with the knowledge and experience required to start building a career in a range of IT jobs including programming, web design, technical support, and networking. You will acquire a range of IT related skills to equip you for progression to employment or Higher Education. This Level 3 Extended Diploma is equivalent to 3 A-Levels.


I wanted to get into IT and saw software development as a good route in. I chose Bedford College because my partner was enjoying studying there.

I was a mature student, so I was balancing studying with work and bringing up a family. I would often work a night shift, then go into College, then go home and only have a couple of hours sleep before starting work again.  It was full on, but worth it.  I even managed to gain an Outstanding Achievement Award in IT.

The teachers were amazing and really, really supportive.  They would always try to go the extra mile for you.  I learnt new skills such as programming languages and networking, all practical experience that you can directly apply to the workplace. I went on to Anglia Ruskin University to study Information Security & Forensic Computing. I got a first in year one, I’m sure as a result of the high standard of teaching I received at the College.

The course was really fantastic, I recommend it if you want to get into IT.  You really need to have qualifications to compete with everyone else, even for the most basic of IT roles.

Henry - IT (Software Development or Networking & System Support) Level 3

Entry requirements

To begin this study programme you will need... 

Duration: 2 Years

  • 4 GCSEs at grades A*-C or 9-4 ideally including English and maths 
  • Information & Creative Technology BTEC Level 2 Diploma with Functional Skills

Course content

During this study programme you will complete units in both software development and networking – in the second year you will choose which of these areas to specialise in. A range of the following units will be available to study.

  • Subject units:

      Year 1

      • Principles of Computer Science
      • Fundamentals of Computer Systems
      • IT Systems Security and Encryption
      • Business Applications of Social Media
      • Website Development
      • Systems Analysis and Design

      Year 2 (Software Development strand)

      • Planning and Management of Computing Projects
      • Software Design and Development Project
      • The Impact of Computing
      • Human-computer Interaction
      • Digital Graphics and Animation
      • Mobile Apps Development
      • Systems Methodology

      Year 2 (Networking & Systems Support strand)

      • Planning and Management of Computing Projects
      • Software Design and Development Project
      • The Impact of Computing
      • Mobile Apps Development
      • Computer Networking
      • Managing and Supporting Systems
      • Systems Methodology
  • English and maths:
    If you don't already have GCSE English and maths grade A*-C, we will work with you to help you develop your maths and English skills. 
  • Work experience
  • Personal development skills, study skills and employability skills 
  • Additional vocational learning and qualifications: 
    • During the programme there will be the opportunity to participate in trips. Over the past few years students have enjoyed trips to Thorpe Park, RAF Duxford and Worldskills in London.

Assessment methods

You will be assessed through coursework, assignments and tests. During the study programme you will be expected to work and develop assignments outside timetabled lessons.


IT BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma


  • English and maths skills
  • Work experience
  • Personal development skills
  • Study skills
  • Employability skills

You can also gain up to 168 UCAS points.

Further study and career options

On successful completion you can progress on to the IT Networking & Security Foundation Degree, the HNC/HND Computing & Systems Development or a computing-related degree. You can also progress into careers in many IT-related disciplines at technician level or in a technical support role, and progress to professional status in your chosen field. Examples include systems analysis and design, software engineering, computing, computer networking, computer user support and helpdesk technician. This qualification attracts up to 360 UCAS points towards entry to a degree-level course.

Additional information

There will be an additional charge of £25 to cover the cost of trips. If you are aged 24 or over you may qualify for an Advanced Learner Loan to help you pay the tuition fees for this course. Alternatively, you can pay by instalments to help make the cost of this course more affordable. Find out more about your payment options at

Funding information

All full-time Level 1 and Level 2 courses are now FREE for everyone, whatever their age. If you are looking to study a Level 3 qualification, courses are still free if you’re under 19 or 19-23 and studying your first full Level 3 qualification. If you’re over 23 or studying a second Level 3 qualification, you will need to pay a fee. Find out more on our financial support page at

If you are aged 19 or over you may qualify for an Advanced Learner Loan to help you pay the tuition fees for this course. Find out more at You can also pay by instalments to help make the cost of this course more affordable.

Course information & how to book

To apply online, select the 'Apply' button below. You will need to register an account and then you can follow the instructions on screen.

LengthStart DateFees per yearLocationCourse Code
2 years 10/09/2018 Launch our fee calculatorFree if 16-18yrs. Are you 19+?
Launch our fee calculator
Cauldwell Street F1046

Apply Online

Part-time course already started?

Our upcoming 2018-19 part-time courses will be out in May.
Get alerted by email when they're released using the form below...

Additional Learning Support
If you have a specific learning difficulty or disability, are deaf or hearing impaired, our Additional Learning Support team are on hand to give you assistance whenever you need it.  Find out more.

Autism & Asperger’s Syndrome Support
At Bedford College, we are committed to developing the provision for students on the autistic spectrum, including Asperger’s Syndrome.  Find out more.

We have access arrangements in place to help students with disabilities or any other particular needs. Call us on 01234 291000 for more information.

Additional formats
Course information sheets are also available in large print and audio formats. Call us on
01234 291000 to order your copy.

Don't let money be a worry! Low-interest loans - study now, pay later

Advanced Learner Loans
If you’re aged 19 or over on the start date of your chosen course, you can apply for a loan to cover the tuition fees for some Level 3+ qualifications. There’s also nothing to pay back until you’ve completed your course and you’re earning over £21,000 per year!

» Visit the Advanced Learner Loans page for more information

YouTube Instagram LinkedIn Moodle Higher Education Moodle Have Your Say