By Andrea Ng (22S06B), Jason Sutio (22S06U), and Sophie Goh (22S07B)
Joining the likes of 10 other pre-university institutions, Raffles Institution will introduce H2 Computing as an A level Subject starting 2022. Behind the digital screen, the affable and chatty computing teacher, Mr Lai Wai Liang, armed with more than 10 years of experience, shed new light on what students keen to take this subject can expect.
What can I learn?
As outlined in SEAB’s syllabus document, H2 Computing covers four broad areas, namely Algorithms and Data Structures, Programming, Data and Information, and Computer Networks. This subject comprises 2 papers in the A Levels: a 3-hour Written paper, as well as another 3-hour Computer Lab-based exam.
H2 Computing is a foundational course that introduces the basics of computing to students. The syllabus was designed after consulting various local universities to ensure that what is covered at the H2 level are essential skills that would be applicable in the university computing modules.
In line with the increased popularity of computer science-related courses and majors in university, the H2 Computing syllabus aims to provide students with a head start to learn computing, since it overlaps with the content of some Year 1 foundational coding modules in university. In this manner, students will be able to explore their interests and discover the areas of computing they might want to specialise in from as early as the first year of university.
Besides just learning how to implement search engines and represent data in binary, students can also look forward to taking part in a plethora of competitions and enrichment programmes, from the well-known National Olympiad for Informatics (NOI), to the many hackathons available all year round. Mr Lai hinted that students may even get to participate in coding-related community service.
Who should take H2 computing?
Whether you have your mind set on computing as a future career, or just want a taste of what it is like, H2 Computing is a versatile subject that caters to the different needs of students.
As this is a foundational course, students need not have prior experience. Mr Lai emphasised that everything will be taught from scratch, with the assumption that students know nothing about computing at all. The only prerequisite needed is an open mind and the right motivation. Compared to having prior exposure to computing, interest and motivation will bring students much further in this course.
In lieu of this, students may consider self-studying computing instead. Indeed, there are many online courses available. Mr Lai noted that a formal curriculum offers the guarantee that all the basics would be covered, so that it is much easier to branch out into other subfields students are interested in. With the specially-curated curriculum, students can have the confidence that what they learn can help them make better sense of the subject and their interest.
In a nut-so-Graphical-Shell, H2 Computing offers various opportunities for personal development, and possibly opens doors to future endeavours in the industry. Adventurous students with an interest in computer science can take the leap of faith to venture into this unchartered territory as the first H2 Computing batch – the class of 2023 – for our school.