Prospects of Pursuing Graduate Studies in Quantum Computing

In summary, the individual is close to completing their undergraduate degree in Computer Engineering and is interested in pursuing graduate studies. They have a strong passion for quantum computation and have been researching labs and reading past students' theses in this field. However, they have doubts about the limitations of job opportunities in academia if they pursue a graduate degree in quantum computation. They are interested in knowing if a graduate degree in this field will be useful in industry jobs that require algorithm design or if it is more valuable for research positions in academia. The conversation also touches on the potential of quantum computing in the future and the importance of a strong background in a specific field when applying for jobs.
  • #1
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?
 
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  • #2
Robert Sacamano said:
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
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".
 

1. What is quantum computing and why is it important?

Quantum computing is a type of computing that uses quantum-mechanical phenomena, such as superposition and entanglement, to perform operations on data. It has the potential to solve complex problems that are currently intractable for classical computers, making it a promising technology for various fields such as cryptography, drug discovery, and artificial intelligence.

2. What are the job prospects for graduates with a degree in quantum computing?

As quantum computing is a rapidly growing field, there is a high demand for qualified professionals in both academia and industry. Graduates with a degree in quantum computing can pursue careers as researchers, software engineers, consultants, and more in industries such as technology, finance, and healthcare.

3. What are the prerequisites for pursuing graduate studies in quantum computing?

Most graduate programs in quantum computing require a strong background in mathematics, computer science, and physics. Some programs may also require applicants to have experience in programming and knowledge of quantum mechanics. It is important to carefully review the requirements of each program before applying.

4. Are there any specific skills or qualities that are necessary for success in graduate studies in quantum computing?

In addition to a strong academic background, success in graduate studies in quantum computing also requires critical thinking skills, problem-solving abilities, and a strong work ethic. The ability to learn new concepts quickly and work collaboratively with others is also essential in this field.

5. What are some of the current challenges and limitations in the field of quantum computing?

While quantum computing shows great promise, there are still many challenges and limitations that need to be addressed. Some of the current challenges include errors and decoherence in quantum systems, the difficulty in scaling up quantum computers, and the high cost of building and maintaining quantum hardware. Researchers and engineers are continuously working to overcome these challenges and make quantum computing a more practical and accessible technology.

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