THE Higher Education sector of Hongkong is to increase the rate at which it creates holders of degrees in the computing field. The new graduates will have a wealth of theoretical knowledge in a variety of aspects of software engineering. Indeed, this knowledge will be to the forefront of any in the industry. Such people, together with any others who have similar qualifications, will need working experience before their theoretical knowledge is converted to the form of specialised practical knowledge. All professionals possess this knowledge, which enables them to take personal responsibility for their own technical design decisions on a routine daily basis. Only when graduates have achieved this level of trustworthy independence can they be rated as anything significantly more than coding technicians who will always remain under supervision. This process of conversion, from raw graduate to full professional, requires sufficient time in order to gain experience in a suitably wide range of differing situations. The mere repetition of the same experience serves little purpose in this process of personal development. Once this process of training and experience has been satisfactorily completed, the graduate may be eligible to become a full member of the leading professional societies in Hongkong. Unfortunately, these societies do not agree on their requirements. The Hongkong Institute of Engineers (HKIE) states that it requires a period of training which precedes two years of responsible experience. Such training requirements are broadly described as two years in an approved structured and organised career development plan. When such approval has not been achieved, the requirements are four years of general experience. This distinction is enforced by Britain's Engineering Council, which normally grants chartered engineer (CEng) status in parallel with full society membership - a title which is widely recognised as a mark of professional quality throughout the world. Industrially-based training schemes in any engineering discipline, which are accepted by an approved professional society - including those registered under HKIE and the British-based engineering institutions - will not only allow graduate applicants fast entry to membership of that institution. They may also make it possible for the sponsoring company to qualify for substantial government cash subsidies during the first 18 months of employment of each registered trainee. The Hongkong Computer Society (HKCS), with the largest membership specialising in software engineering in Hongkong, has rapidly increased its demands for qualifications for membership in recent years. It has yet to specify its requirements for training and experience in as clear a way as the HKIE. This, together with its apparent willingness to still process requests for membership from people with less than a degree in a normal way, may make it unnecessarily difficult for HKCS, and its individual and corporate supporters, to be fully recognised by the government for participation in such cash support schemes for the production of professionals in Hongkong. Michael Stranks is senior lecturer in the computer science department of City Polytechnic. The article reflects the opinions of the author, not necessarily those of the Hongkong Computer Society.