Keeping up with IT wizardry

by Maggie Tang

News every month from the world of academia

Keith Chan, head of Department of Computing
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Photo: Wallace Chan

Information technology moves forward at a dazzling pace. What is an exciting breakthrough today is a matter of routine tomorrow. Few other industries leap from one advance to another with such amazing agility, with the result that only those at the very cutting edge of every development can make the most of the fast-changing situation.

As such, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University's Department of Computing (COMP) is offering four Master of Science (MSc) programmes in part-time and full-time modes to help professionals keep abreast of the very latest IT developments. The programmes lead to the MSc in E-Commerce, MSc in Information Systems, MSc in Information Technology and MSc in Software Technology. The four programmes belong to a "family" called the MSc Scheme in Computing, meaning that many credits within the four programmes are transferable among one another, allowing a great deal of flexibility.

"This arrangement gives participants the opportunity to shift between programmes if their needs have changed or another programme suits them better," explains Keith Chan, head of COMP, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. "For example, students from non-IT backgrounds may originally enrol in the MSc in E-Commerce programme but later wish to pursue more specialised subjects by transferring to the MSc in Information Technology or MSc in Software Technology."

More than 60 subjects are available for students to choose from among the four programmes. The MSc in E-Commerce is tailored for those from non-IT backgrounds, and helps students to acquire a thorough understanding of the e-commerce scene. The MSc in Information Systems is all about the application and strategic use of information systems in organisations. The MSc in Information Technology is a bridging programme for engineering professionals, while the MSc in Software Technology is an advanced programme that provides computing and software professionals with in-depth knowledge of the newest software technologies.

Reviewing the importance of IT education in grasping emerging opportunities, Professor Chan says, "IT is everywhere, and almost every manager needs to update their knowledge of IT to enhance their job performance. For instance, finance professionals can better understand their clients with the help of data mining and e-commerce technologies. IT is a form of educated demand so we need to learn the vocabulary and the developments in order to discover what we want."

Because of the "family" arrangement of the four programmes, students can even take the opportunity to study simultaneously for two master programmes. Those taking the MSc in Software Technology can apply to enrol for, and obtain up to 15 credits of exemption, in the MSc in Software Engineering programme offered by the Graduate University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Students are required to complete 30 credits to be awarded a master's degree. They may also choose to complete 18 credits to be awarded a postgraduate diploma in one of the four concentrations.

Taken from Career Times 26 May 2007
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