As technology continues to drive change in ways that could hardly have been imagined even a decade ago, Hong Kong universities are tailoring their full- and part-time master's programmes to reflect both local and international emerging trends. Professor Jogesh Muppala, programme director for the MSc in Information Technology (IT) offered by the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), says these days, simply getting an undergraduate degree is no longer sufficient to move up the career ladder. Like many other professionals dealing with technology, Muppala says IT will remain a major industry in the long term and requires workers with the highest level of technical skills. "IT as an industry has become the backbone for many traditional sectors such as manufacturing, logistics, banking and financial services, transportation, and medicine, as well as emerging industries such as entertainment, multimedia and mobile services," he says. He believes the higher technical expertise, coupled with the ability to become a team leader, that HKUST provides is essential for future success. "Advanced training provided by our MSc in IT programme is relevant in keeping Hong Kong's IT workforce up to date with the latest technologies, and providing them with the skills to become leaders," he says. He points out, though, that IT as a field continues to rapidly change and skill sets acquired just a few years ago can quickly be rendered obsolete. IT workers should be geared towards acquiring new skills on a continuous basis in order to avoid falling behind. "People already in the IT industry will find our programme a major stepping stone towards upward mobility in their career," he says. He explains that typical technology-orientated programmes offered by the school, such as the MSc in IT, fall under the arm of the School of Engineering and therefore emphasise technical content and skills. "The all-round training of our students in the latest technology and engineering fields is the primary goal of most of these programmes," he says. These programmes provide advanced training in all of the major dominant and emerging areas in IT, including big data, data mining, advanced networking technologies, cryptography and security, the latest software engineering techniques, graphics and multimedia, financial engineering and cyber crime, and informatics. "Our programmes and courses are regularly updated to keep track of the latest trends and developments in the IT field. Furthermore, new courses in emerging fields such as computational finance, cyber law and security, data mining, and advanced networking are regularly introduced into the programme," Muppala says. Professor Wong Kam-fai, associate dean (external affairs) of the Faculty of Engineering at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), believes the recent policy address made by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, which included references to the need for more efficient energy technology, is an indication of the government's support for advancing technology. Full- and part-time master's programmes offered by CUHK's Faculty of Engineering include E-Commerce and Logistics Technologies, Computer Science, Systems Engineering and Engineering Management, Mechanical and Automation Engineering, and Biomedical Engineering. "We continually look at local trends, global trends and growth areas, and add new modules," Wong says, giving examples including cyber security, new materials and nano technology. Through its MSc programmes and collaborations with a wide range of industries, CUHK plays an important role in supporting Hong Kong's technological activities. Wong says his faculty focuses on technology transfer, applied R&D, and collaboration with local industries. The commercialisation of research results contributes to the advancement of the local economy, while industrial collaboration also strengthens professional training for students and helps to improve the global competitiveness of Hong Kong. At the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), Professor Man Hau-chung, dean of the Faculty of Engineering, says the university has identified the need for a programme designed for aspiring individuals who are aiming for senior management or principal R&D positions in companies that are involved in science, technology and engineering. "Our Engineering Doctorate programme does this by addressing the need to encourage cross-discipline influences to cultivate new ideas," he says. He says the programme, which can be completed in three years full time or five years part time, is designed to improve skills in the management of innovation in technology. He adds that an important part of the programme is the student mix and peer interaction. "The peer effect is very important. Students find that by working together, they have more motivation. They can also share their various experiences to solve problems," he says. Coursework, he explains, aims at reinforcing and expanding students' breadth of knowledge in the management of innovation and advanced technologies. A company-related research project, meanwhile, gives them the opportunity to make a significant contribution and provide innovative insights into a professional practice in an engineering discipline. To be accepted into the programme, applicants are expected to have substantial relevant work experience, as well as company sponsorship. This does not necessarily need to be financial support, but should include permission to work on a company-related issue for the research project. The University of Hong Kong (HKU) also ensures its master's programmes meet the growing demand from technology professionals. According to the university's Faculty of Engineering, a key goal is to advance the bounds of expertise and to conduct leading-edge research. "We cannot overstate the importance of this aspect as many current technologies will become obsolete in five years' time," says a spokesperson for the faculty. The university's MSc in Electronic Commerce and Internet Computing programme has been designed to equip business executives, policy and decision makers, managers, and information technology professionals with the latest knowledge and skills in technology development and business related to e-commerce and the internet. HKU's MSc in Engineering (EEE) covers areas such as the latest computer systems, microelectronics, opto-electronics and lasers, wireless communications and networking, multimedia signal processing, conversion of energy, and control systems. "These kinds of technologies are driving the current transformation of society in the information era," the spokesperson says. "They are the fastest growing and most challenging aspects of technology that can be found."