Over the last few years, quantum computing has emerged as an exciting new technology that promises to shape our world of tomorrow through a myriad of possibilities. Advances in quantum computing could open the door to new scientific discoveries, life-saving drugs, and drastic improvements in supply chains, logistics and the modelling of financial data.
While the technology is still evolving, it is widely expected to bring a paradigm shift in computing, by far exceeding the capabilities of today’s most powerful classical supercomputers. Not surprisingly, the market for quantum computing is expected to grow to USD18.16 billion by 2030 according to a Market Research Future report.
Opportunity for Developers
The Government of India announced the National Mission on Quantum Technologies and Applications (NMQTA) acknowledging that quantum computing has the potential to bring about a major technological disruption in the world of computing, communication, security, and touch every industry. At the core of this mission is building skilled manpower.
According to a NASSCOM and Avasant Report on the Quantum Revolution, NMQTA aims to develop a quantum skilled workforce of about 25,000- 30,000 resources across software, hardware, and allied tech. For the quantum industry to take off in India, it will require both quantum-aware and quantum-proficient engineers, scientists, and managers.
Innovations in quantum computing are compelling industry leaders around the globe to mobilize workforces and harness the disruptive possibilities of the quantum world. There is a growing demand for the right software skills to program the hardware and develop these quantum applications.
For developers, there couldn’t be a better time to build quantum coding skillsets that will make them highly coveted by prospective employers. With so much potential for research in this exciting new world, a spirit of inquiry and curiosity is a de facto requirement for developers.
Building career path in quantum computing
While the opportunities are endless, the question is: how can a professional make inroads into the field of quantum computing? Irrespective of their current field of specialization, quantum computing will require a certain degree of learning, unlearning, and relearning. Here are a few steps to consider:
Evaluate the opportunities
There are several kinds of roles at play for quantum computing. These could be roles in hardware or systems, which require knowledge of physics and engineering. There are opportunities for Kernel developers with skills in engineering, physics, and programming, algorithm developers with a background in computer science or physics, application developers with domain knowledge as well as programming skills in languages such as Python. Identifying the role that is right for you is the first step before you build the right profile and gain certification/training.
The right training
In addition to strong fundamentals in programming, a career in quantum computing requires skills in analytical reasoning, a collaborative mindset, and domain knowledge. Familiarity with optimizers in AI/ML/DL can help developers make quantum algorithms more effective.
The ability to develop, test, deploy software built on open-source platforms is an advantage while building quantum software development kits (Qiskit). Investment in building these skills whether through enrolling in online or physical classes with a reputed institute or taking free online courses can provide a good head start.
While there are several Universities that offer masters programs and also part time PhDs (industry sponsored research is also an opportunity) for others, they can also opt for Developer certifications programs that validate their knowledge, expertise and skills.
Getting hands on access to actual quantum computers and running programs on it can prove to be valuable. Today, several quantum software development kits are open source — easily accessible to anyone over the cloud. There are also over 300+ courses available online with learning modules and access to quantum systems for anyone looking to get a hands on experience in programming quantum circuits and running them.
For instance, Qiskit allows anyone to program real quantum computing hardware, requiring only Python and a basic knowledge of linear algebra as a prerequisite. Since IBM launched Qiskit in 2017, thousands of users have developed applications, maintained and improved code, and taken part in both live and virtual hackathons, summer schools, and other educational opportunities to build this vibrant, open-source community. We think, we can aim our sights even higher!
The quantum age promises tremendous game-changing possibilities across disciplines such as chemistry, machine learning, finance, logistics, and physics to solve deeper programs.
R&D efforts are gaining momentum as more countries and corporations enter the race for advantage in the quantum world. If we want to make the world quantum safe, there is an opportunity to use emerging quantum safe standards for better cyber security.
With India’s advantageous position as a global hub for digital talent, developers have an opportunity to build the right skills and surge ahead in the field of quantum computing.
— LV Subramaniam, Distinguished Quantum Ambassador, IBM Research India.
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