Students take on Cyber Scotland Week

March 1, 2023 - Jane Moore

We spoke with Secondary 6 school pupils who are studying School-College course HNC Cyber Security, to find out their thoughts on coming to college, why they decided to do a school-college course and what their future ambitions are.

Ruby Angus – Stewarton Academy

At school the curriculum is very surface level, but when you do the HNC Cyber Security college course it’s a lot more relevant. The  course goes a lot deeper than I thought it was going to, there’s so much to it! The things you learn are a lot more practical and applicable to everyday computing as well, so we know all about Mac and IP addresses and all the networking stuff that you can use no matter what sector of computing science you’re in.

We did a programming module and learnt about scripting for security in the first semester, which was quite difficult and technical, but once I understood it, I really enjoyed it. Although some of the stuff is complicated, I feel so knowledgeable now.

It’s a change from high school. It can be really daunting leaving high school after being in that same environment for 6 years, but doing a course here, coming into college two days a week, it can make the transition a lot easier, and can also get you ready for what university is going to be like. The teaching at college is a lot more informal but at the same time really in-depth.

My ideal is to get a graduate apprenticeship in Software Engineering. I’m on the third stage of assessments for a BBC apprenticeship. If I don’t get a graduate apprenticeship, I’d like to go to university to study Computing Science and Software Engineering. I’ve got an unconditional offer for Heriot Watt University to study Computing Science with Artificial Intelligence, so the Cyber Security course has really been beneficial for me.

I’d say to anyone thinking of doing a course like this, definitely do it!


Callan McKee - Largs Academy

In the first semester we did some Binary and Hexadecimal things like conversions and basic addition and stuff and it was really interesting being able to switch them around using different number systems. Although that part was quite maths based, once you understand it, it’s fun.

The networking stuff is really useful and also the things we have learned about Scripting and Python is really good. We only learned a little of that in school, and it’s quite in-depth at college.

My plans are to go to university to study Computer Science, specialising in Cyber Security. It’s been brilliant to be able to do Cyber Security at HNC level here at Ayrshire College as it’s a good stepping stone to University for me.

It’s definitely given me a good insight into what the university course will be like. At college, we’re a lot more independent and get a lot more freedom than we do at school. Overall, coming to college has been a good way to set myself up for leaving school and being more prepared for the next level.

Harris McDavid – Largs Academy

The college course is really enjoyable, and I especially like coding with the different things you can import into Python, so for example, Turtle.

The way things are set up in college is a lot better than in school. The assessments are a lot less stressful as it’s continuous assessment and open book assessments.

It’s a separate environment from school, and is more in-depth than school, for example, learning all about Cyber Security. I feel more motivated coming to college as I’m learning about the stuff that really interests me. I’m looking for a graduate apprenticeship in Cyber Security when I finish the course.

Learn more about computing courses at Ayrshire College

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