Although dot-com fever peaked at the turn of the century, IT developments still continue at a hectic pace, attracting professionals every year seeking an upgrade.
"With large-scale projects in finance, logistics and infrastructure in the pipeline, Hong Kong will need corresponding IT talents for the foreseeable future," says James Liu, programme leader of MSc programmes in computing, and associate professor at the department of computing, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU). "Moreover, as China steps up its efforts in IT development, opportunities on the mainland will follow."
In view of such growing demand, Hong Kong CyberU (HKCyberU), a subsidiary of PolyU, has launched a series of online master's programmes related to IT and software engineering. They include an MSc in Information Systems, MSc in e-Commerce and MSc in Software Technology.
The three programmes target different learners. The e-Commerce programme aims to teach candidates from engineering disciplines how to apply information technology in business. Conversely, the Information Systems programme is designed to attract management professionals who already have the requisite knowledge to make effective use of information technology.
The Software Technology programme is more technology-oriented, and is co-organised by HKCyberU and the Graduate University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (GUCAS). Applications are welcomed from candidates already established in the software design industry and this programme can lead to the Master of Software Engineering offered by GUCAS through credit transfer.
All three programmes have been popular among professionals from related technology fields. The programmes are flexible as students can swap between regular and online courses depending on their availabilities.
HKCyberU is a popular choice for many busy professionals as full-time work makes attending traditional taught courses inconvenient. However, in these programmes students are also given the opportunity to take regular courses if time permits in a particular semester. Since credit transfers are possible, students may apply for exemption from certain modules if they choose to pursue further degrees in a related field.
Students from Hong Kong are encouraged to explore job opportunities in greater China and vice versa for their mainland counterparts. "Quite a few mainland students enrolled in the Software Technology programme requested work placements in Hong Kong during their one-year period of thesis study. We can provide contact channels for students to explore work placements if they so wished." says Dr Liu.
As information technology continues to play a vital part in the development of business, and society becomes more reliant on IT for daily functions, it is important for those working in related fields to keep abreast of the latest changes in the industry. "Some students received promotion after graduation," Dr Liu notes. "These programmes add value to people looking for a higher position in their profession."
Each of these programmes is also sponsored by the Continuing Education Fund so successful candidates can look forward to a welcome windfall upon graduation.