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University Centre

Foundation Degree (FD) Digital Technology (Cybersecurity)

Subject Area
Digital Technologies
Start Date
September 2021
Study Mode
2 Years
£7,200 per year
Entry Requirements
32 UCAS points or relevant experience. Level 3 qualification in a relevant subject or A Levels. Applicants with significant relevant prior learning and experience may be considered.
Validated by
York St John University

The course will provide an overview of computing and information security principles to support business needs using current, industry standard technologies and approaches, with a strong focus on problem solving and the application of digital technologies supported by the underpinning theory to address the needs of the business enterprise in the 21st century. 

It will develop higher level technical and analytical skills in the vocational area of digital technologies which can be applied to a wide range of career routes including: information security management, systems and network administration, database administration, web development and programming; Along with a range of transferable skills including: personal development, research methods and highly regarded ‘soft skills’ such as team working and interpersonal skills.

UCAS Code: D5T7

UCAS Institution Code: Y70

Level 4 Level 5
Introduction to Programming  Information Security in Practice 
Computer Hardware Fundamentals  Individual Research Project 
Information Security Concepts  Building a Secure Database 
Database Design Principles  Website Security Technologies 
Discrete Maths and Cryptography  Secure Networking Practices 
Professionalism in the Digital Sector  Developing Secure Applications 

Additional information

Cyber security, in a nutshell, encompasses the technologies, processes and controls designed to protect systems, networks and data from cyber-attacks and unauthorised exploitation. Good cyber security involves not only managing the technologies, but the people and the business processes involved with today’s increasingly on-line world of business and commerce.

Recent studies have found that almost two-thirds of businesses have a cyber security skills gap, while more than half feel they are at risk of attack because of this lack of skills.

This course aims to enable you to develop a successful career in digital technologies engaging professionally with common challenges such as the specification, design, deployment and management of complex IT systems with a focus on good security practice. 

 It will provide you with the fundamental skills and knowledge in secure computing for a commercial environment. The focus on skills developed is based on discussion with local employers and security specialist to ensure that the course also meets the needs of the wider business community. With professional development and research project modules in the course you will develop the skills that employers’ value so highly. 

 You will be enrolled as a full-time student at York College which has recently been awarded Institute of Technology status. This has enabled the college to develop a custom cybersecurity lab (part of development of new facilities for the Yorkshire and Humber Institute of Technology) and a University Centre with exclusive access for higher education students. 

 The learning material draws upon a range of curricula from industry qualifications, providing a good opportunity for students to progress into routes such as CompTIA Security+, BCS Certificate in Information Security Management Principles (CISMP) or GIAC Certified Penetration Tester (GPEN) certification. 

The course will also cover fundamentals of computer hardware, networking and software systems to the organisational and legal aspects of managing information security, with practical, hands-on experience via our custom designed Security Operations Centre (SOC).

 You will have the opportunity to learn about the industry from course Tutors who all have extensive industry experience and qualifications in addition to their academic qualifications; and guest speakers who currently work in the computing and cybersecurity sectors. You will also have the opportunity to attend the Cyber security Professionals conference in York. 

 On completion of the Foundation Degree you will have the opportunity to progress to study BSc Computer Science at York St John University and similar top-up courses elsewhere. 

Method of delivery

Delivery will consist of lectures, seminar and practical workshops (labs) fully supported through the college’s “Blackboard” virtual learning environment.

Students will have access to standard software, including Microsoft Visual Studio, MySQL (XAMP), NetBeans, Microsoft Visio, Arduino IDE and Idle (Python) IDE.

All the modules have embedded employability skills such as analytical thinking, problem solving, team working and interpersonal skills. The programme encourages lifelong learning by providing sufficient opportunity for self-directed learning and reflection, supported by the professionalism in the digital sector module.

You will also hear from industry experts and have the opportunity to get involved with the British Computer Society to develop your professional network.

Additional costs

No additional costs are expected to occur with this qualification.

Your next steps

Successful completion of the FD Digital Technologies (Cyber security) will enable you to continue your development in employment or may enable you to progress onto a one-year BSc (Hons) top-up degree to convert your existing qualification into a full honours degree (providing relevant modules have been studied). 

 Alternatively, graduates who move directly into work could later progress onto professional qualification such as CompTIA Security+, BCS Certificate in Information Security Management Principles (CISMP) or GIAC Certified Penetration Tester (GPEN) certification.

You could gain employment in several roles including:

  • Technical Delivery Manager (cyber security) 
  • Cybersecurity Analyst 
  • Network Penetration Tester 
  • Cyber Security Manager 
  • IT Auditor (security) 
  • Cyber Security Consultant 
  • IT Project Manager 
  • Database Administrator 
  • Java / C# Developer 
  • Web Developer 
  • Cyber Security Architect

How will I be assessed

The course has been designed with an emphasis on an adult learning environment, enabling you to make the most of resources available and to take responsibility for your own learning. The inclusion of a professionalism module supports this approach and this emphasis on a more professionally focussed style of learning based on the Framework for Higher Education Quality benchmarks for level-4 and level-5. This approach is very much aimed at helping you to make informed decisions about how you learn best and to reflect on your own learning. Another aspect is to make learning active and participative, which is reflected in the highly practical nature of the module delivery and the high proportion of coursework.

You will demonstrate knowledge and understanding through a combination of coursework, practical activity and two formal examinations. A wide range of assessment styles are employed, such as: walkthroughs, practical work, portfolios of evidence, formal reports, seminars and presentations. The research project in year 2 brings together a full range of skills and knowledge.

There are a number of “written work” assessments which have been carefully designed to reflect real-world tasks. Most assignments will be based on a single, case study for which you will produce professionally styled reports, proposal documents, policy documents, technical briefs and specifications. As work-based learning is a key feature of vocational degrees the case study scenarios have been carefully developed in conjunction with professionals from the Cybersecurity industry. This will equip you with skills you will need both in higher levels of academia and in the workplace. Graded exercises, weekly tasks, problem solving activities, flipped classroom actives and on-line revision tests/quizzes will be used as formative assessment tools to monitor your learning.

Feedback on assessment will be given on a regular basis throughout the course and detailed summative feedback will be provided after each piece of coursework is marked. It will highlight the strengths so that you can develop these further as well as offering suggestions for improvement in future work. You will be expected to use feedback as part of your reflective practice to develop knowledge and skills. The use of regular progress checks with a Personal Tutor are important to ensure difficulties are identified early and that you stay on track to achieve your target grade.

Skills you will learn

Throughout the course students will develop skills in problem solving and computational thinking skills, database design and data analysis, programming and website development, application of information security principles, implementation of network security, self-management and self-reflection, communication skills and business acumen and academic writing and researching skills.

Oliver Cyber Security case study

"I chose this course as currently we live at a time where all devices are connected with each other to share information. Whenever that is to order a takeaway through a mobile app or to use your personal assistant to turn on the light bulb. For many of us technology became a huge part of our life, however, not all businesses in the past understood the importance of cybersecurity when producing such applications/devices. The importance of cybersecurity is on the rise, especially since the number of cyber-attacks have drastically increased since the first COVID-19 lockdown happened."

Course leaders and tutors:
Richard Hind, MSc (by research)

in Computer Science, MCSE (Windows 2000), PGCE in Post Compulsory Education, MTA (Security Fundamentals), PRINCE2:2009 (Foundation) and MBCS. He has been a tutor of digital technologies at York College since 2002 and prior to that had almost 10 years’ experience in the industry, including roles as Technical Director of PC Science Ltd and Technical Infrastructure Manager of Infobank Software Corporation. He now specialises in Information Security, Computer Architecture, Microcontroller Systems and Project Management, with articles published in the British Computer Society’s “IT Now” journal and “Cybertalk”, published by Software Box Ltd. He is also a “student” member of the Advanced Computer Architecture Group at the University of York. Richard will be leading on: Information Security Concepts, Discrete Maths and Cryptography and Information Security in Practice.

Val Roddis, Postgraduate Diploma in Information Systems Management

Leeds Met (2006), HNC in Computer Studies, Leeds Met (1997), PGCE, Leeds Uni (1999), BSc Hons English & Related Literature 2i University of York (1993). She has been a tutor of digital technologies at York College since 2001 including posts (now redundant) of Advanced Tutor and Senior tutor as leader in educational approaches and techniques. Prior to that had 3 years’ experience in the industry in the role of Computer Programmer with tasks including database programming, systems design, network maintenance and basic administration, user training, documentation and helpdesk support for a range of hardware and software products. She now specialises in Systems Analysis, Database modelling, professional awareness and coursework project development techniques supported by industry shadowing of Agile approaches at Anaplan. Val will be leading on: Database Design Principles, Professionalism in the Digital Sector and Building a Secure Database.

Andy Stanway, BSc Technology and Business (2:1)

PGCE Post Compulsory Education. He has been a tutor of digital technologies at York College since 2001 and prior to that had 3 years’ experience in the industry including Network Administrator at Sir Michael Hopkins Architects. He now specialises in Computer Science and Programming. In addition, he is a team leader with OCR for A-level Computer Science and an examiner for AS Computer Science. Andy will be leading on: Introduction to Programming and Computer Hardware Fundamentals.

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