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Talent crunch: Finding the right quantum computing course

When it comes to picking up new skills in tech, most employees would go online to learn and develop fundamentals of understanding a particular skill or technology. Some of the most sought-after skills in tech today are in the field of cybersecurity, cloud management, and app development.

Interestingly there is also another field that is slowly gaining traction not just among employees but university students as well. The field of quantum computing is a rather complex one. While quantum computing courses with practical training are limited globally, the demand for these roles has skyrocketed in recent times.

As quantum computing is becoming an increasingly popular field, some organizations have already started investing in developing use cases for the technology while many more are showing a growing interest in quantum computing.

In fact, IDC forecasted in 2021 that spending on quantum computing could reach US$8.6 billion in 2027. It certainly seems to be headed in that direction, as Asia Pacific, China, Japan, Singapore, India, and Australia continue to invest in and research quantum computing use cases. In the UK, too, the government launched a 10-year program to invest £2.5 billion in quantum computing earlier last month.

However, according to research by McKinsey, despite the increasing investments, the talent gap in quantum computing remains a concern. Simply put, the demand for experts with advanced degrees in the field is outpacing available talent. McKinsey’s research also suggests that greater emphasis is necessary to upskill undergraduates with relevant quantum technology experience.

According to a World Economic Forum Report 2022, embracing the capabilities of the technology will require a focus on quantum education and workforce development, and the only way to educate the workforce of tomorrow is to introduce quantum concepts into the primary and secondary education systems and to create more opportunities and programs.

(Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP)

So how and where do talents take up a course on quantum computing?

While online learning sites like Udemy and Coursera offer technical quantum computing course videos, they are still not sufficient enough as compared to talents having a hands-on approach and practical training in the technology.

Universities and research centers in Japan, China, and Singapore have invested heavily in actual quantum computing to offer talents a course that makes them ready to take on the technology in the working world.

In Singapore for example, the National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, the Agency for Science, Technology, and Research, and the National Supercomputing Centre (NSCC) Singapore will coordinate activities across research organizations and build public-private collaborations to put Singapore at the cutting edge in quantum technologies.

NUS is also well on course to be a leader in testing quantum computing in Southeast Asia. The country’s Quantum Engineering Programme (QEP) is expected to start conducting nationwide trials of quantum-safe communication technologies that promise robust network security for critical infrastructure and companies handling sensitive data.

Meanwhile, in Japan, the RIKEN Center for Quantum Computing (RQC) explores the frontier of quantum technologies through the research and development of quantum computers as innovative information processing units based on the principles of quantum mechanics. Its full-stack approach covers broad aspects of research and development from hardware to software and from basic science to applications.

The RQC is now open and accessible to universities in Japan that are looking to tap its ultrafast computing powers for a wide range of research projects. Riken, which is backed by the government, will also let a broad spectrum of corporations and universities access the machine. Startups may be able to acquire expertise in quantum computing applications.

Over in Europe, IQM Quantum Computers, the European leader in building quantum computers, launched a global initiative, IQM Academy, to offer a free online quantum training course to educate and prepare talent for quantum workforce development. IQM aims to reach high school and university students, educators, and enthusiasts who are curious to start learning about the fundamentals of quantum computing.

As well as these, universities are also offering quantum computer courses. What’s important is for talent, be it undergraduates or employees, to enroll in quantum computer course that allows them to have access to actual quantum computers. Only then can they truly be able to master the field and reduce the talent gap in the field.