Joelle Woo well remembers the lessons of her first day as a trainee programmer with the local information technology company she joined after completing a BSc in computer science at the University of Hong Kong. By 5 pm, she had already learned enough to make one key decision - it was time to quit. 'They sat me in front of a computer and gave me a book that thick,' she said, with a note of incredulity and extending thumb and forefinger to the maximum extent. 'No one even told me what project I would be working on. I wanted to engage with people, learn from them, have the chance to contribute and improve my prospects, not just to work individually, programming and reading books.' Moving without delay to a marketing role with the then JOS Solutions, things took an immediate turn for the better. There, Ms Woo received comprehensive training, covering sales and marketing disciplines, hardware products and software technicalities, and the basics of good management. Subsequently, at Microsoft, she has found what she had probably expected on that first day. 'There is a very structured training process for different jobs, and a lot of metrics for performance,' she said. In-house seminars provide hard and soft skills, and there is a wide selection of online courses, mandatory and elective, for specific on-the-job requirements, or relevant to future advancement. In her role now, Ms Woo has been keeping up to date with aspects of market segmentation, product positioning and new technology. At her instigation, members of her team are becoming similarly rounded businesspeople. They are stepping beyond the boundaries of logic and database design, to learn such things as people handling skills, negotiating techniques, and the value of precision questioning.