A Review of Global Quantum Education Initiatives
“How do I get started in quantum?”
“What are the best resources for learning about quantum computing or other quantum technologies?”
“How can I get a job in the quantum industry?”
These are the questions often asked by anyone interested in quantum and we have addressed these in our latest published article. We provided an analysis of current quantum workforce requirements and a comprehensive guide of various educational initiatives accessible throughout the world, such as online courses, conferences, seminars, games, and community-focused networks, that facilitate quantum training and upskill the talent needed to develop a better quantum workforce.
The current job market for quantum professions highlighted significantly stronger demand of higher education for job vacancies in Europe than in the US and Canada. Apart from quantum computing, quantum hardware, and quantum software, there has been an increase in hiring across other sectors such as enabling technologies, quantum security, quantum communications, and quantum sensing & imaging. It is noteworthy to mention that approximately 37% of quantum-based roles in the current job market are from large corporations (IBM, Google, Microsoft, Quantinuum, Amazon, IonQ), the majority of which are headquartered in the US/Canada.
While bachelor’s graduates having professional experience may be crucial for the roles which requires the basic quantum knowledge attained through one or two courses, the criteria for professional experience needed for job vacancies are comparatively lower for PhD graduates who have been trained in specialised quantum capabilities. While employers place a high value on essential technical abilities (such as knowledge in science, engineering, math, or coding) and soft skills (such as communication, decision-making, and problem solving), they are more likely to invest in strengthening employees having industry-specific knowledge or job-specific skills. So, how can you get the specific training leading to a job in the quantum industry?
We suggested that the academic educational programmes should be designed with multiple entry points with the prospect of building a satisfying career in the quantum industry, for example – pre-college exposure, undergraduate, graduate degrees and field training, and certificate programmes for postgraduates. Combining traditional learning in specialised academic disciplines and shorter-term hands-on training with real-world projects will be critical in developing the skills needed for in-demand jobs. This adaptable approach to training learners at several entrance points enables them to transfer rapidly into the labour market.
Quantum Education Initiatives
With an aim to create a pipeline between education providers and industry, numerous efforts are currently underway to provide a wide range of education and training options that support career transitions and workforce deployment, and to increase the resilience of those currently employed. Incorporating quantum skills and training through a designated sequence of activities, often from different sources and dedicated programmes, can educate the quantum talent of tomorrow. These include academic degree programs, and various learning resources such as online courses, conferences, workshops, hackathons, games, and community-building forums presented in the figure below. Note that this is a comprehensive list of resources and events in quantum technologies.
Academic Degree Programmes
There are currently 162 known universities and institutions worldwide with educational programmes and research activities in quantum technologies, according to the Quantum Computing Report. QURECA recognised 40 universities worldwide providing master’s degrees in quantum science and technology. While traditional degree programmes have always been in demand to fill industry positions, companies are also seeking for applicants who have earned sufficient quantum skills through experience and contributed to the quantum community through alternative educational and training resources.
There are a plethora of quantum computing courses available through online learning platforms such as edX, Coursera, and Udemy that can fill the gap needed to build the quantum workforce of today and tomorrow. We have summarised the quantum education focused platforms such as QURECA, Q-CTRL, qBraid, and QPlayLearn which are releasing online courses in quantum technologies to empower a quantum community of lifelong learners.
Conferences, workshops, and hackathons
On the journey to build a stable, inclusive, and diverse quantum workforce, substantial efforts are needed to reduce the barriers to lifelong learning and make quantum education open and accessible to everyone in the world. This can be done through inclusion of educational and professional development activities such as workshops, summer schools, and community-building events thoroughly described in the article. These events allow to:
- bring together quantum professionals, researchers, educators, entrepreneurs, champions and enthusiasts to discuss the potential of quantum technologies,
- address recent advances in infrastructure development, education and training, and groundbreaking efforts in scientific research and development,
- exchange and share the experiences, challenges, research results, innovations, applications, pathways and enthusiasm on all aspects of quantum computing and engineering,
- promote communications between different stakeholders, industry leaders, researchers, engineers, scientists and general public,
- and offer networking opportunities and industry engagements to foster the global quantum ecosystem.
Incorporating the visual clues to understand the core principles of quantum science make games a powerful tool in engaging learners to build their analytical thinking, multitasking, strategizing, problem-solving, and team-building skills, which consequently help in addressing the challenge of quantum literacy. Understanding quantum mechanics may seems intimidating at first, but employing games as an educational tool ensures that quantum enthusiasts are engaged in fun and engaging learning while also broadening their skills.
Raising awareness and insight into the future impact of quantum technology through curated quantum education web resources such as a series of lectures, volunteering, presentations or symposiums for students, teachers, and the general public as well as the prospect of career opportunities could motivate people to venture into underserved fields of quantum technology. We highlighted the most active online resources and each of these resources has a varying level of accessibility addressing the different needs of the current and future quantum workforce.
We also provided an overview of the different activities that can be undertaken by the current industry stakeholders (end users) in the short, medium and long-term, by prioritizing certain actions to address the workforce needs.
The rapid expansion of quantum technologies needs the development of a well-rounded quantum workforce strategy that encompasses the quantum education at all levels, and embraces the skills and training to produce quantum-ready talent across all academic, gender, racial, and ethnic backgrounds. The article has presented an assessment of the education and training resources available worldwide, which are critical for the development of the existing and future quantum workforce, as well as the educational and career paths possible in the current ecosystem. Comprehending the available resources and outlining the potential strategies and paths are keys to bridge the quantum knowledge gap in the workforce.
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