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Quantum Computing's Next Big Challenge: A Quantum Skills Shortage


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A researcher oversees the operation of a quantum computer.

To fill the fast-increasing number of openings in quantum, copying and pasting even the most expert knowledge of classical computers into the quantum world won't exactly cut it.

Credit: IBM

System architects, software engineers, data analysts -- at first glance, the jobs that are hot in the quantum computing sector don't sound all that different from the tech roles we're already familiar with. Which deal with the classical computers we know well, from smartphones to supercomputers.  

But to fill the burgeoning opportunities in quantum, transferring even the most expert knowledge of classical computers into the quantum world just won't cut it. 

Quantum computers are fundamentally different from the classical devices we know and use every day. Instead of relying on bits, quantum systems leverage the complex laws of quantum physics to create quantum bits, or 'qubits', that are capable of carrying out calculations exponentially faster. 

Building, programming and maintaining a quantum computer, therefore, is a radically different paradigm. It requires an understanding of quantum physics and how to map problems to the quantum space -- think programming languages, architectures, workflows and software, all of which are specific to quantum computing. 

And it turns out that finding workers who have that breadth of knowledge is becoming more and more difficult.

From ZDNet
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