HND Computing: Software Development

Higher National qualifications provide practical skills and theoretical knowledge that meet the needs of employers.

The HND in Computing: Software Development (SCQF level 8) builds on the knowledge and skills of the HNC and covers a range of specialist technical software development skills and knowledge in programming and systems development.

This qualification is available through colleges and some universities. Typically, an HNC takes one year to complete and an HND takes two years.

Higher National qualifications have been developed by SQA in partnership with colleges, universities and industry ¿ so employers recognise that they provide sound evidence of ability.

The Unit-based structure supports flexibility. A Unit is typically 40 hours of timetabled learning.

There is a wide choice of optional Units which will enable centres to offer courses tailored to meet local needs.

This HN provides progression routes to further study (see Progression).

The HND Computing: Software Development is suitable for a wide range of candidates including:

  • school leavers
  • adult returners to education
  • individuals in employment who wish to enhance their career prospects
  • people who wish to start their own business


As with all SQA qualifications, entry is at the discretion of the centre. Examples of formal entry qualifications include:

  • passes in two relevant National Courses at SCQF level 6 (Higher) together with three relevant subjects at National 5
  • a related National Certificate at SCQF level 6
  • a relevant combination of vocational awards at appropriate levels
  • a mix of the above

Different combinations of relevant National Qualifications, vocational qualifications, and equivalent qualifications from other awarding bodies, may also be acceptable.

Progression and employment

HNCs and HNDs can provide progression to degree-level study. For example, the HNC in Computing allows direct entry into the second year of most degree programmes, and the HND in Computing: Software Development allows direct entry to most third year programmes.

Higher National qualifications also provide the knowledge and understanding required for related Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs). For example, IT and Telecoms Professional National Occupational Standards (NOS) have been developed in parallel with and as part of the IT Professional Competency Model ¿ e-skills Procom.

E-skills Procom is the industry-recognised, internationally-relevant training framework for organising courses and qualifications. It defines knowledge, understanding, and competences for seven broad disciplines. The HND Computing: Software Development award covers all these disciplines (see Group Award Specification for further information).

Centres with devolved authority for approval should use their own internal approval process.

Centres without devolved authority will have to come forward for approval and should contact SQA¿s Business Development Team for guidance.

Assessors and verifiers must be able to meet SQA¿s general requirements for technical/occupational competence as outlined in the Guide to Approval.

Each individual Unit specification gives detailed information on the Evidence Requirements and approaches to assessment for each Unit.

Ongoing course assessment will apply.

Assessment/e-assessment support packs are available for this qualification.

HND Computing: Software Development

Group Award code: GG7E 16 (240 SCQF credit points)

This Group Award is made up of 240 SCQF credit points. The mandatory section consists of 64 credit points at SCQF level 8. This includes an HNC Computing Graded Unit 1 with 8 SCQF credit points at SCQF level 7 and an HND Computing: Software Development Graded Unit 2 of 16 SCQF credit points at SCQF level 8.

For further information on the structure and Units for this qualification please refer to the Group Award Specification (646 KB) document.