Quantum computing, or quantum information processing, is an area of study that explores the phenomena and properties of quantum mechanics in order to process information. This cutting-edge field may one day be used to build computers more powerful than any seen today, but you might need special training to enter it. Here’s what you need to know about degree programs, internships, and other qualifications you’ll need if you want to work in quantum computing. So You Want to Work in Quantum Computing Here’s What You Need to Know.
The degree you need
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The goal of quantum computing is getting computers to process information on a scale much smaller than anything we have access to today; that’s what makes them different from classical computers, which rely on transistors for processing information in a series of ones and zeros. To do so, scientists use qubits (quantum bits), which can be either one or zero at any given time—meaning they can store more information in less space. But while there are many ways to define exactly what constitutes a qubit, one thing remains constant: If you want to work with them as part of your career, you need an advanced degree. To date, most research has been done by PhDs who hold postdoctoral positions at universities or private research institutions such as Google and IBM.
The skills you need
Computer Science degrees are relatively common within quantum computing fields, but an increasing number of companies are hiring candidates with technical physics backgrounds, as well. Designing and building hardware requires a high level of electronics experience and knowledge, so a computer science degree (or even a minor) is helpful but not required.
How much you will be paid
There is no specific number that applies to everyone, but some people say that starting salaries at an entry-level computer programmer position start at $45,000 annually (according to a 2016 study by Comparably). The average salary for all computer programmers is $83,520 per year (according to Glassdoor). Be sure you are paid fairly for your degree and experience level. There are many free salary calculators online where you can easily see how much your skills are worth!
Where the jobs are located
The United States currently doesn’t have a National Quantum Initiative (although it may soon), but there are still thousands of positions available at companies that deal with quantum computing every day, especially if you’re willing to relocate or make a cross-country move. These jobs also come with high salaries—The Hamilton Project estimates that a QA engineer can earn $108,000 per year or more on average—but some of them require additional training or degrees beyond your bachelor’s degree.
Is a Graduate Degree Necessary?
While having a graduate degree is not necessary for working in quantum computing, it can certainly help improve your chances of landing a job within that field. Most employers prefer candidates with at least a Master’s Degree, though it may be possible to get hired as an intern with only a Bachelor’s degree if you are otherwise qualified and experienced enough.
The Pros and Cons of Working in Quantum Technology
A lot of people dream of working with cutting-edge technology on a day-to-day basis, and if you’re among them, chances are good that quantum technology is high on your list of desirable professions. But before taking that step, it pays to know what you’re getting into—which is why we sat down with Dr.
Thoughts From Our Readers
I can’t speak for every company, but with my company it depends on which department you want to work in. If you are going into research and development then you will need a master’s degree (probably a Ph.D.) Most software engineers have an engineering degree; however, there is also a strong background of computer science engineers as well. – Stephanie Hagen, 27-year-old Test Engineer for Google
How do I get a job in quantum computing?
The first thing you should do is determine whether or not you have a background that’s suited for jobs in quantum computing. The fact is, there are a lot of physicists and mathematicians who work in quantum information sciences; however, that doesn’t mean that your application will be accepted if your degree is different than theirs. So what skills will get you accepted for a job as a quantum information scientist?
Are quantum computing jobs in demand?
While it’s tough to gauge precisely how many quantum computing jobs exist today—and those numbers are likely to increase as companies continue hiring and investing in the technology—demand for professionals with a background in quantum computing is definitely on the rise. In fact, Hubspot estimates that there will be 13,000 unfilled jobs related to quantum computing by 2020, which isn’t surprising given how rapidly companies have been developing and testing new applications for these computers.