HND Computing: Technical Support

Higher National qualifications provide practical skills and theoretical knowledge that meet the needs of employers. The HND in Computing: Technical Support (SCQF level 8) builds on the knowledge and skills of the HNC, and also covers a range of specialist technical support skills and knowledge in the use and support of computer systems.

The HND Computing: Technical Support award has been designed to update the previous award to reflect current technological developments and IT Industry practices, tackle known issues with the previous award, and to ensure that the award still has the potential to articulate to a wide range of degree programmes.

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: Technical Support is suitable for a wide range of learners, 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

Learners who achieve an HNC Computing can progress to the HND in Computing: Technical Support (TBC).

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: Technical Support 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 being established as 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: Technical Support 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: Technical Support

Group Award code: GM9D 16 (240 SCQF credit points)

This Group Award is made up of 30 SQA Unit credits. It comprises of 240 SCQF credit points of which 72 are at SCQF level 8 in the mandatory section including a HNC Computing Graded Unit 1 of 8 SCQF credit points at SCQF level 7 and a 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.