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Hands-On Lab Skills Key for Quantum Jobs

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+  Quantum physics courses need updating, according to researchers who interviewed representatives from 21 US companies that specialize in designing and building technologies for quantum applications [1]. The interviews suggest that those graduating with bachelor’s degrees in physics may lack the skills they need to enter the quantum workforce. Changing that, the researchers say, could completely alter the face of physics courses and help make the subject relevant to a new generation of students.

The trio hope that their study could spur and guide institutions and departments to redesign their courses so that they better address industry needs. Some institutions, including the University of Colorado, Boulder, have started offering “101” quantum information courses, for example, and the team is hopeful that others will follow suit.

+  Most of the companies that the team consulted are part of the Quantum Economic Development Consortium (QED-C), a group working to grow the US quantum industry. The representatives were largely direct supervisors of entry-level technical staff, rather than top-level executives. “We wanted to talk to people who could speak with knowledge about the tasks being carried out in entry-level jobs,” Zwickl says.

+  Introducing quantum physics at the high-school level could also be a way to bridge the knowledge gap. This idea already has momentum says Denise Ruffner, VP of business development at IonQ in Maryland. She notes that many programs are popping up that are aimed at getting high schoolers interested in careers in the quantum industry, whether as a scientist or engineer or as a marketing or human resources specialist.

+  People can get scared by the word quantum, she says, and as a result they don’t send in an application. But, she notes, there are myriad paths to careers in the quantum industry, with only a few requiring that the person be a Ph.D.-level quantum physicist. “Many people working in quantum have very different backgrounds, and that hasn’t prohibited them from moving forward in this industry.”

Source:  APS physics.  Katherine Wright,  Hands-On Lab Skills Key for Quantum Jobs…

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