This article is no longer listed, please search the site for up to date articles

BCS qualifications can be divided into three major areas:

ISEB: The aim of ISEB is to raise the standard and competence of people working in IT. It allows IT professionals to learner new skills in specific business and IT areas and helps promote career development.

Higher Education Qualifications: Intended for those not yet in IT or those new to IT and seeking a degree equivalent qualification.

IT User Qualifications: For all those people who use IT. Equip students and adults alike to increase skills and confidence in using IT productively and safely.

Some of the BCS user qualifications could also be useful to you as an IT professional. Etype, for example, can teach you touch-typing which is a very useful skill.

Professional Certifications

Professional Certifications are internationally recognised and measure competence, ability and performance in many areas of IT, with the aim of raising industry standards, promoting career development and providing competitive edge for employers.

They are designed to be both accessible and relevant and cover major areas of IT including:

  • Service management
  • Software testing
  • Business Analysis
  • IT Security
  • Green IT.

Thanks to close links with industry representatives and subject sponsors, they also encompass the latest technological advances and new methodologies.

The Institute’s certifications are created by the very best in the industry – IT specialists who know how the industry works and where it’s going. So IT professionals learn relevant and practical skills that will make an immediate impact on their career.

Foundation level – a broad introduction

Foundation level certificates provide a broad coverage within a specific subject area and examine a candidate’s knowledge and understanding. Each certificate may provide:

  • Basis of future progression within the same subject area
  • Appreciation of the subject for any interested parties
  • Insight into the area for practitioners, specialists and managers from other subject areas.

Practitioner level – practical application within a specific discipline

Practitioner certificates focus on specific skills or subject areas and examine a more detailed understanding and the application of knowledge, usually via scenario based questions. Each certificate has value in its own right, but a range of these, perhaps supported by the appropriate foundation certificate, may be needed to ensure adequate coverage or to progress to a higher level certificate.

Higher level – in-depth coverage within a specific discipline for specialists and managers

These certificates expect a more holistic view of the components of the subject and the interactions between them. Typically these individual components are from within the same discipline, but may include foundation or practitioner qualifications from other areas as appropriate.

The Institute’s Professional Certifications are taken by IT professionals from all levels in their organisation’s career structures, taking foundation level exams to build key knowledge and moving up to higher level exams for senior staff – a testament to the increasing importance of the certifications.

The Professional Certifications can be broken down into ten major areas:

  • IS Consultancy
  • Software testing
  • ITIL® / IT service management
  • Business analysis
  • IT governance, Information and security
  • Project management and support
  • Solutions development & architecture
  • Software Asset Management
  • Sustainable IT
  • Data Centre Management.

BCS Higher Education Qualifications

The BCS Higher Education Qualifications are a UK Honours Degree equivalent qualification. (Accredited by Ofqual (Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation)). They have been developed in consultation with employers to meet the demands and evolving needs of the IT community. The Institute has over 175 registered course providers worldwide. HEQ examinations are affordable and flexible to fit in with the study time available. They provide a route to post-graduate study at a number of UK universities and full Professional membership of BCS.

There three levels of examination, which cover a wide range of IT topics.

Certificate in IT

This is the foundation level of BCS Higher Education Qualifications and is the academic equivalent to Year 1 of a UK university honours degree. It is recognised by Ofqual) as Level 4. BCS recommends a minimum of 200 hours of study for each of the three core modules.

Diploma in IT

The Diploma in IT is the academic equivalent to Year 2 of a UK university honours degree and is recognised by Ofqual as Level 5. BCS recommends a minimum of 225 hours of study for the core module and each of the three optional modules.

For candidates to qualify for the NQF Level 5, a professional project must be completed with a recommended minimum study time of 200 hours. If advancing to the Professional Graduate Diploma in IT level, candidates are not required to complete a professional project at this level.

Professional Graduate Diploma (PGD) in IT

This qualification incorporates a PGD project and is equivalent to a UK university honours degree and is recognised by Ofqual as Level 6.

BCS recommends a minimum of 250 hours of study for each of the four modules. In order to finish the PGD in IT level, candidates must complete a project with a recommended minimum study time of 300 hours.

Successful completion of the highest level of BCS Higher Education Qualifications gives you a route to postgraduate study at a number of UK universities.

IT User Qualifications

BCS Qualifications range from the very basics of computer use, understanding digital media and social networking through to flexible units that include computerised accounting and website software. We are the exclusive awarding organisation for the internationally recognised European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL) in the UK, covering widely used office based software including word processing, spreadsheets, internet and email.

Qualifications are relevant to both students and adults by:

  • Being suitable for all ages and abilities.
  • Delivering proven enhancements to productivity, confidence and skills in the UK workforce
  • Supporting people in education, at home, in work and those looking for work.
  • Offering learning and assessment through a choice of methods including online, manually tested and evidence-based assessments, giving you the flexibility to learn in a way that fits your lifestyle.

There are thousands of approved centres across the UK delivering our qualifications.

BCS qualifications available are:

  • ECDL: Office based applications including word processing, internet and email
  • ECDL Advanced: Taking IT user skills to a higher level
  • BCS ITQ: Modules tailored to specific jobs, across 3 levels
  • Etype: Learning to touch-type
  • Digital Creator: Promoting creativity through the use of digital media and providing a GCSE equivalent qualification
  • Digital Skills: Skills for life in a digital age
  • Computer and Online Basics: An easy-to-use qualification for absolute beginners in using the computer and internet.

To find out more information on how to get started, then visit The BCS.

About the Author

  • About Stephen Daniels: Stephen Daniels is Marketing Manager for BCS qualifications and helps to promote the importance of benchmarking skills for individuals and organisations through professional certifications.

Stephen Daniels

Back to Top