Prospects of Pursuing Graduate Studies in Quantum Computing

  • #1
Robert Sacamano
1
0
Hello,
I am close to finishing my undergraduate degree in Computer Engineering, and I am very interested in pursuing graduate studies. For a long time, I have been passionate about computer science and I've been looking into the research done in various labs in the schools that I'm considering. The labs that study quantum computation - specifically with a focus on quantum algorithms, quantum cryptography, or quantum information in general - are the ones that always catch my attention. I genuinely enjoy reading the past students' theses, and I find the field to be fascinating. In fact, in my first year of engineering school I chose to research quantum cryptography for a big research paper assignment. I'm even slowly going through Nielsen and Chuang's "Quantum Computation and Quantum Information" book, which has been quite a thrill.

However, I have some serious doubts about this field, unfortunately. I am worried that pursuing studies in the field of quantum computation will restrict my future employment to mainly academia, and that's not something that I see myself doing in the long term. What I'm interested in knowing is - say I study quantum algorithms at the graduate level, will this indicate to future employers that I'm an expert in quantum computation, or will it indicate that I am an expert in computer science? In other words, will a graduate degree in quantum information have any merit when applying for a job in industry (like where algorithm design is required, for example), or will it only be useful if I want to get a job doing research at a university in the field of quantum computation in particular?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
lekh2003
Gold Member
590
339
I am worried that pursuing studies in the field of quantum computation will restrict my future employment to mainly academia, and that's not something that I see myself doing in the long term. What I'm interested in knowing is - say I study quantum algorithms at the graduate level, will this indicate to future employers that I'm an expert in quantum computation, or will it indicate that I am an expert in computer science?
From today's tech mindset. Both of these skills are equally as impressive.

I don't have much hands-on job experience, actually none at all. But there seems to be a change coming in the field of technology. Regular computing is reached it's limits, and many large tech firms are heavily investing in quantum computers. That's amazing, because us physicists can get high paying research positions at these tech firms due to our unique skill set (especially if you are an experimental physicist).

The field can only go up now. I see it as having massive potential.
 
  • #3
Vanadium 50
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
29,592
15,046
First and most importantly, you should be really, really careful about taking career advice from 14-year olds.

Second, if I were choosing between two recent graduates for a job that is in, to take your example, algorithm design, I would favor the candidate with the better background in algorithm design. A candidate who worked on classical algorithms would have an edge over one who worked on quantum computing, just as she would have an edge over someone who worked on, say, operating systems.

Third, if someone gets a degree in CS (or for that matter, physics) with a dissertation in quantum computing, I know what I'm getting. If it's an actual degree in "quantum computing", I don't. Degrees in trendy things seem to sprout up like mushrooms. You saw this in nanotechnology -there are a dozen community colleges that now (or did - now that it's no longer so hot, some are closing down) offer an AA in "nanotechnology".
 

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