Higher Diploma in Science in Computing (Software Development) - Part-time

Higher Diploma in Science in Computing (Software Development) - Part-time

  • Overview
  • Course Content
  • Structure
  • Career Opportunities
  • Eligibility
  • Next Steps
  • Apply
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Software Development

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Dublin Business School (DBS) in conjunction with Springboard+, their Partner Network and other relevant industry partners have developed an intensive Part-Time Level 8 conversion award for a Postgraduate Higher Diploma in Science in Computing (Software Development).  This programme is specifically designed to address the demand for graduates with ICT skills in areas including Software Development and Software Engineering.

Programme Aims & Objectives

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 Mary Mitchell O'Connor,  Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and as outlined in the recently published ‘Action Plan for Jobs’ 2017 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.

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. Employment growth is strong for programmers and software developers and in strong demand across all economic sectors as also referenced in the National Skills Bulletin 2017.

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. A feature of the part-time programme is the opportunity for the learner to engage in an industry related project.  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.

As part of the objectives of the ICT Action Plan 2014-2018, National Skills Strategy 2025 and Action Plan for Education 2016-2019, the aim is to increase the domestic supply of ICT graduates to meet demand from 57% to 74% by 2018. This programme has been running since 2012 and aims to meet that objective in providing skilled graduates in the relevant ICT area. In Ireland in general software developers are among the most in-demand roles in the tech sector. 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.

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

  • 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

  • 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

The minimum entry requirements for Higher Diploma in Science in Computing (Software Development) are:

To be considered for admission to this programme, applicants must hold a Primary Honours Degree (Level 8), with a minimum of a pass classification, in any discipline from a recognised third level institution or equivalent qualification. 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.

For applicants whose first language is not English and who have not previously undertaken a degree taught through English, evidence must be provided of proficiency in English language equivalent to B2+ or above on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFRL). This must be evidenced through a recognised English Language test such as IELTS, Cambridge Certificate, PTE or DBS English Assessment. Test certificates should be dated within the last two years to be considered valid.

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.



View provisional timetable here


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 *Eligibility and entry requirements apply.

Course Content

This course will run over two academic years, with four semesters. Modules within this programme include:

  • Information Systems Development & Management

  • Database Design and Development

  • Principles of Programming

  • Operating Systems & Networks

  • Web Design and Development

  • Object-Oriented Programming

  • Web and Cloud Application Development

  • Advanced Programming

Students will be provided with a significant grounding in core computing modules. Students will pursue a specialisation stream in Software Development. This element is a focused set of modules and project work designed to bring candidates quickly to the industry entry standard for graduates in their chosen field of specialisation.


Specialised core modules include:

• Advanced Programming

• Web and Cloud Application Development

Upon completion of the above students will complete either a project or a work placement. 


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 four 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 delivery is part-time and will run over 2 academic years, 2 evenings per week from 6:15pm to 9:30pm and some weekends. Calendars for this programme will be available in due course.


View provisional timetable here



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Career Opportunities


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

•   Software Engineer/Developers/Programmers/testers

•   Net Developer

•   Web 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.


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People in the following categories are eligible to apply for courses in the 2020/2021 academic year (subject to the applicant meeting all residency and nationality/visa requirements and any academic requirements).

Note: For Stamp 4 holders or Stamp 4 EU FAM, residency will be calculated from the date of receipt of the Stamp 4.  Any period of residency in the state before this date will not be taken into consideration.

For the Higher Diploma in Science in Computing (Software Development), 2 year part-time programme, the following categories are eligible to apply:

People in Employment

Please note that those in employment, under the Springboard+ 2020/2021 initiative, 90% of the fees are covered by HEA and 10% of the fees are payable to the college for this category of applicants. The applicant must also meet the nationality / visa requirements and residency criteria i.e. they must be able to demonstrate that they have been ordinarily resident  in an EU / EEA / UK / Swiss state for at least three of the five years preceding their entry to the programme. Either the applicant of their employer can pay these fees. Should your employer be paying your fees, please contact us and we can forward you a company sponsorship form in order to invoice your employer.


  • A copy of most recent payslip

Fees: The fee for the Higher Diploma in Science in Computing (Software Development) is €7,250 of which you pay 10% = €725


Returners are those who are not in receipt of a payment from the Department of Social Protection, have previous history of employment but may require upskilling or reskilling to transition back to the workforce. Applicants must have been a homemaker or on other caring duties or economically dependent on a partner or spouse for a minimum period of 9 of the previous 12 months.



  • Applicants must swear a declaration before a Commissioner for Oaths attesting to their status. A form to complete this process is available here.


Fees: The fees for this programme are 100% fully funded under this category.



Self employed applicants are eligible to apply:


  • A letter from their accountant or relevant documentation from Revenue showing that they are self-employed in Ireland would suffice.


Fees: The fee for the Higher Diploma in Science in Computing (Software Development) is €7,250 of which you pay 10% = €725


People signing for Contribution Credits:

Applicants in this category are eligible to apply for this course, provided that they meet the nationality / visa requirement, the residency criteria and the course specific criteria as set out previously.



  • A letter from DSP (the Department of Social Protection) confirming your social protection status (signing for credits).


Fees: The fees for this programme are 100% fully funded under this category.



These two-year part-time conversion courses are NOT open to those in receipt of Jobseekers-related payments or Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP).

Please visit the Springboard+ website for further information on participant eligibility and funding eligibility requirements.


NOTE: If your eligibility status changes prior to commencing the course, you will need to contact the admissions office to assess are you still eligible to enrol on the programme. Failure to do this may result in you losing your place on the programme.


Application Procedures


All applications must be submitted online via the Springboard+ website. Please note that the documentation supporting the applicants status will be required as part of the application process. Please visit the Springboard+ website for further information on participant eligibility and funding eligibility requirements.

The following documents are required by DBS as part of the application process. When you apply through the Springboard+ website, a member of the DBS Admissions Team will be in touch in relation to requesting the following documents:

  • Academic Transcripts of results (this is a breakdown of each year, all the modules studied and all results achieved). If these transcripts are in a language other than English, we will require the originals together with official translated copies.

  • Proof of ID - Driver's Licence of Passport.

  • Proof of residency for all applicants for three of the last five years. This can be revenue documents, letter from DEASP office or letter from previous or current employer.

  • For Non-EU Applicants currently residing in Ireland, a copy of your Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) Card or proof of residency is required to demonstrate that you have been residing in the EU for three of the last five years.

  • For applicants who do not hold the required qualification and are applying through APEL (Approved Prior Experiential Learning), a recently updated and detailed CV is required with education and work experience to date. In addition, a personal statement is required outlining your reasons for applying for the course and why you would be a suitable candidate. This should be in the format of a word document and have between 500 and 700 words.

  • For applicants whose first language is not English and who have not previously undertaken a degree taught through English, evidence must be provided of proficiency in English language equivalent to B2+ or above on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFRL). This must be evidenced through a recognised English Language Test such as IELTS, Cambridge, PTE, Duolingo, or DBS English Placement Test. Test certificates must be dated within the last two years.

All QQI accredited programmes of education and training of 3 months or longer duration offered by Dublin Business School (DBS) are covered by arrangements under section 65 (4) (b) of the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Act 2012 whereby in the event that DBS ceases to provide the programme, for any reason, after learners have started on that programme, Kaplan Inc., as guarantor, will refund the moneys most recently paid by or for the learner.   More details are included in the terms and conditions of learner admission to DBS (https://www.dbs.ie/terms-and-conditions) and on programme handbooks provided at induction.

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Next Steps

Application Procedure

Please apply online via the Springboard portal HERE.

Corporate Services

Did you know?  DBS now can meet with you and your company to discuss the Springboard+ Government funded programmes, to see if it could work as a learning & development solution for your organisation.  This is ideal for any size organisation in any industry based in Dublin and the surrounding counties that may want to invest in employees' professional development.

For more information on this new service or to arrange a meeting, please contact our Corporate Services Team on [email protected] or by telephone 01 417 7500.

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Course overview

2021 / 2022

Awarding Body:

Quality & Qualifications Ireland (QQI)


Duration: 2 Academic Years 
Study Mode: 
Part-time / 2 evenings per week
Course Commencement Date:
September 2021
Award Level:
Level 8 NFQ
ECTS Credits:
10% Contribution (if applicable):


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    We are now accepting applications for programmes taking place in 2022. Contact our admissions team for more information

    Email: [email protected]
    Phone: 01 417 7500
    Opening times:
    Monday to Friday: 8:45am to 5:15pm

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