We have to worry about the lack of quantum skills
Quantum computing is poised to change the way companies deal with some key issues for their future, humanity’s, the planet’s. While the technological barrier to the deployment of quantum computing may disappear in the coming decade (especially thanks to QaaS services in the cloud), a major obstacle persists: the lack of quantitative skills in the labor market.
By Erik Garcell, Technical Marketing Manager at Classic.
According to one of our recent studies, quantum computing will bring a range of benefits to businesses, including cost savings, new revenue streams, and competitive advantages. But the survey also highlighted a shortage of qualified engineers and scientists who can program quantum computers. What now, mainly slows down the generalization of this technology.
Not only will this lack of qualifications prevent companies from fully exploiting the power of quantum computing, but it will also lead to costly competition between people who will be looking at all means to hire the few specialists available. in the labor market. So how did this skills gap arise? And what can companies actually do to fix it?
Coding for the Quantum Age
As a first step, it is necessary to understand what are the missing skills that are causing this shortage. Some readers may wonder why today’s computer programmers and engineers fail to meet this need. Because, in addition to the purely technical skills needed to code quantum computing, such as creating dedicated circuits and software, there is also a lack of knowledge on how to respond to a business challenge with a computer. quantum.
Indeed, while many programmers trained in classical computing are capable of designing a portfolio optimization program, they cannot reproduce it on a quantum computer. They probably don’t know where to start, how to verify their results, or even how to run their code on a quantum device.
Quantum computer coding is more complicated than classical, because writing quantum code is more confusing: each “qubit” can be one and zero together, instead of one or the other. Coders must be able to manipulate quantum concepts such as superpositions. Working in this area involves new ways of looking at issues and requires new ways of working.
This last aspect is emphasized by a technology gap, as quantum programming is not abstracted like classical programming – it is still mostly done at the assembly language level. At this stage, it is possible to write several dozen lines of quantum programs, but this operation takes a lot of time. Therefore, it is almost impossible to create complex programs of several hundreds or even thousands of lines.
The pace of the quantum revolution is accelerating
Recover from incompetence
The first instinct of companies wishing to take advantage of quantum technology is to recruit, but there are not enough trained quantum experts on the market. In addition, there is likely to be strong competition for some qualified graduates. Facing this shortage, companies must think about how to train and develop the skills of their own teams.
Convincing existing employees to train should not be a problem. Engineers and programmers want to strengthen their skills: nearly 95% of respondents to our survey said they want to be trained in quantum techniques. Why is this demand so strong? Because not only is this new technology exciting, but many employees hope to secure their jobs or increase their income thanks to quantum skills.
Professional training of employees is not expensive. There is already a wide range of open sources, such as the Qiskit SDK, designed to help users explore this new technology. For companies, the best solution is to give their engineers the time and space to learn about quantum on their own. Just giving existing coders the freedom and resources to explore this technology and its benefits can prove to be a worthwhile long-term investment.
Quantum at the stage of qualification in companies
Furthermore, by improving the skills of existing teams instead of recruiting external profiles, it will be easier for them to understand the type of challenges that the company will face, because they know its structure.
In addition, new products are emerging that can help bridge the technology gap and facilitate coding for the quantum era. Today’s sophisticated low-code software can remove some of the complexity of writing quantum code, speeding up the learning process.
However, increased capability is not the only element to consider. Companies must also invest in resources and infrastructure that support their new quantum talents. They also need to build teams, identify use cases that can benefit from this technology, and find the right vendors and cloud service providers that will allow them to test and simulate their quantum programs.
Although the quantum revolution is still a long way off, companies must now ensure they have the necessary skills and infrastructure to take advantage of this technology, or risk being overtaken by better-prepared competitors.
Europe is connecting one of its HPCs to a quantum computer
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