Higher Diploma in Science in Computing (Software Development)

  • Overview
  • Course Content
  • Structure
  • Career Opportunities
  • Eligibility
  • Next Steps
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Applications for this programme are now closed. 


Dublin Business School in conjunction with Springboard+, Microsoft Ireland, their Partner Network and other relevant industry partners have developed an intensive Full Time Level 8 Graduate Conversion programme leading to a Higher Diploma in Science in Computing award. As part of the programme, participants will have the opportunity to specialise in the streams of Software Development, Web & Cloud Technologies or IT Infrastructure and Networking. 

The primary objective of the programme is to address ICT Skills gaps through the successful conversion of talented learners from non-computing/IT disciplines to meet identified skills needs in the economy. According to Richard Bruton, TD, Minister for ​Education and Skills, and as outlined in the recently published Action Plan for Jobs 2014 report, the ICT sector is of strategic importance to Ireland, both in terms of the numbers of high skilled professionals employed and its significant contribution to Ireland's export performance, accounting for 70 billion in exports per annum. In 2012, it was estimated that there were 68,280 ICT professionals working both within the ICT sector and across other sectors of the economy. As outlined in the Forfas/EGFSN (2013) report Addressing Future Demand for High-Level ICT Skills, results from this study indicate that Ireland is likely to face an average increase in demand for high-level ICT skills of around 5% a year out to 2018 with the employment of ICT professionals anticipated to rise to just over 91,000.

The overall aim of the programme is to provide graduates with the underpinning academic knowledge to enhance their educational and employment opportunities and to achieve the award of a Higher Diploma in Science in Computing. In addition, a feature of the programme is the opportunity for the learner to engage in a work placement. This element provides learners with relevant work experience with an industry partner for a period of three months. In addition to acquiring new skills, learners will apply and reinforce the knowledge and practical skills they have acquired during the taught element of the programme. 

Key skills common to all streams of the programme and acquired throughout semester one of the taught programme will include the ability to demonstrate an understanding of the core IT skills of software development, database design & development, web application, networking and operating systems. Design, develop, test and document software.

Aims & Objectives

Specific Skills that the proposed specialist software development stream is preparing participants for are:

• Competent knowledge with Object-Oriented Programming concepts & ability to implement these concepts to produce well designed Object-Oriented programs.

• Ability to design, implement, test and document Advanced Object-Oriented Programs

• In-depth knowledge of unit testing and system testing

• Competency to build and design mobile applications using Google’s Android open-source platform and windows mobile

• Ability to construct event-driven Graphical User Interfaces

• Proficiency in programming languages such as C#.NET and Java

• Competency to create & maintain a Database using SQL

• Expertise to develop relational and XML databases including native and Hybrid XML databases

• Proficiency in current database & web application development languages and frameworks

• Competency in document mark-up languages particularly HTML5, XHTML and XML

• Ability to develop Web-based applications using .Net framework & specifically ASP.NET

• Expertise to manipulate a database from a web application using ADO.NET

• Proficiency in using advanced Web development tools and techniques such as DHTML and AJAX.

• Designing and Developing a server side web application with database integration

• Integrate social media features using API’s

• Application of current & emerging technologies to enhance the functionality of web application components.

Entry Requirements

To be considered for admission to this programme, applicants must hold a Primary Honours Degree (Level 8) in a cognate discipline from a recognised third level institution or equivalent qualification. In addition, an IELTS score of a minimum 6.0 or equivalent is required, where full-time study has been conducted in a language other than English or for applicants whose first language is not English.

Candidates will ideally be able to demonstrate technical or mathematical problem solving skills as part of previous programme learning. Typically holders of more technical, numerate degrees are likely to gain a higher ranking in any order of merit in selection for the programme.

Typical disciplines which would fall into this category would be:

  • Engineering

  • Architecture

  • Mathematics

  • Physics

Some candidates will also have gained a Level 8 qualification in a programme with a significant IT component and/or significant numerate element. Such programmes vary greatly in mathematical and information technology content and assessment would be by detailed examination of subject content, assessments and syllabi.

Typical programmes which would fall into this category could include:

  • Management Information Systems

  • Accounting

  • Business

  • Management


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Course Content

In Semester 1 students will be provided with a significant grounding in core computing modules.  Core modules for Semester 1 are:

• Principles of Programming

• Database Design and Development

• Information Systems Development & Management

• Object-Oriented Programming

• Web Design and Development

• Operating Systems & Networks

In Semester 2 students will pursue a specialisation stream in Software Development. This element is a focused set of modules designed to bring candidates quickly to the industry entry standard for graduates in their chosen field of specialisation.​

Core modules for Semester 2 are:

• Advanced Programming

• Web and Cloud Application Development

• Mobile Application Development

• Project

In Semester 3 students will engage in a minimum ​3 month work placement * (Subject to academic performance).

Upon successful completion of the taught element of the course, participants will enter the work placement element of the conversion programme. This element will enable students to gain relevant experience and furthermore will allow employers to field test potential recruits.

Personal Development Programme

To complement the academic programme, learners will follow a skills based Personal Development Programme (PDP). The programme has been designed in collaboration with industry to ensure that graduates are able to demonstrate the personal skills and aptitudes employers have highlighted as requirements and to assist graduates of the programme to integrate effectively into the work place. The PDP will be delivered across all three semesters.

Teaching & Assessment

DBS teaching and learning strategies are intended to facilitate students to take ownership of, and responsibility for, their own learning in partnership with the academic faculty.  A wide range of teaching and learning methods are used in the programme to ensure all learning styles are accommodated. Methods will include formal lectures, seminars, workshops, lab tutorials, on-line video demonstrations, and presentations that will emphasise student participation and application to case studies and relevant computing and business issues.  

The focus of the programme is on the application of learning to the real-life environment and therefore a significant proportion of this programme is computer based. Learners will be required to practice taught skills and elements of the course via self directed learning. Intellectual skills are developed through project work, tutorial work and coursework assignments. In addition to the accredited modules learners will be timetabled to participate in personal development activities. Learners will therefore gain the necessary additional applied skills in order to expedite their integration into the workplace.

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The programme is intentionally intensive in nature, with teaching and laboratory activities timetabled between 9.00am and 5.30pm five days per week to reflect the working week. Daytime attendance is required and there is also a three month credit bearing work placement as part of the programme.

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Career Opportunities/Progression to Further Study

Upon completion of the programme, graduates would typically take up roles as: 

• Software Engineer/Developers/Programmers/testers

• Net Developer

• Web Developer

• Mobile App Developer

• Trainee Programme Analyst

• Project Support Engineer

• Technical Support Engineer

• Database designer and developer

• CRM Developer

• IT Consultant

DBS fully recognises the importance of job readiness to the ICT Skills programme participant and has put in place an integrated and comprehensive Personal and Professional Development Service for ICT participants entitled "Jump Start Your Career". This intensive programme covers every aspect of the job procurement process and has greatly assisted ICT skills programme participants with their job search activities and preparation for employment. 

A suite of careers motivation, self-confidence and job ready workshops will be delivered and timetabled for programme participants. Additional sessions will be scheduled to include:

- CV Preparation, Interview Skills & Techniques & Job searching tools,
- One-to-One sessions,
- Individual coaching & feedback, Review of experience and progress & candidate/employment matching process.

Out of hours one-to-one consultations, with evening appointments, will also be offered to programme participants who are unable to attend during the day.

DBS will offer strong assessment processes and feedback tools to assist in one-to-one sessions in training on behavioural competencies style, career match aptitudes that will enhance significantly the career guidance, personal development, employer engagement and interview skills in order to maximize the work placement and employment opportunities. Significant emphasis will be placed on building communication and interpersonal confidence and skills to demonstrate participants values to employers. Each participant will have access to a careers coach/mentor to support the candidate/placement matching and placement process with potential employers.

DBS also has extensive engagement with industry and in addition to companies who have pledged interests of placements; it has over 1,150 employers on its database and active engagement with 2,727 DBS Alumni all of whom have engaged in the creation for placement/employment opportunities for ICT Students.

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For the one-year full-time ICT Conversion courses you may be eligible irrespective of your employment status (i.e. whether you are employed or unemployed) and regardless of whether you are in receipt of income support from the Department of Social Protection. 

For the two year part-time ICT Conversion courses you may be eligible if you are employed. If you are unemployed and in receipt of a jobseekers payment (including Farm Assist and Qualified Adults of Working Age) you are not eligible for the two year ICT Conversion courses. However, if you are in receipt of other social protection payments, e.g. One Parent Family or Disability Allowance, you may be eligible for the two year part-time Conversion programmes.

Please also note the following new eligibility requirements for all Springboard+ 2017 courses:

Those who have completed a Springboard+ course within the past two years (i.e. graduated from a 2015 or 2016 Springboard+ call course ) are not eligible to apply in 2017 (unless the participant is seeking to progress their qualification level in the same discipline, e.g. Level 7 to Level 8). 
Participants who enrolled in more than one Springboard+ course since the inception of Springboard+ in 2011, and did not complete any course, are not eligible to apply in 2017. 
Participants who enrolled in just one course, since the inception of Springboard+ in 2011, but did not complete, are eligible to apply in 2017, but will be required to meet all eligibility criteria as outlined below.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Learners may also access this course on the basis of recognition of prior learning or by assessment of prior experiential learning/informal learning. For this particular programme applicants will be considered on a case by case basis based upon their educational record, work experience, their ability to demonstrate technical or mathematical problem solving skills and a capacity to successfully participate in the programme.

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Next Steps

Apply online via the Springboard portal here.

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Course overview


Awarding Body: 
Quality & Qualifications Ireland (QQI)
1​0 months incorporating ​3 month placement
Study Mode: 
Course Commenc​ement Date: 
​​​​​​Spring 2018
Award Level: 
Level 8 NFQ
Award Type: Major
ECTS Credits: 

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    We are now accepting applications for programmes taking place in 2018. Contact our admissions team for more information

    Email: admissions@dbs.ie
    Phone: 01 417 7500
    Opening times:
    Monday to Friday: 8:45am to 5:15pm