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Six tips for getting into quantum computing

23
August
,
2021
Dr. Yehuda Naveh

Quantum computers may well be the hottest upcoming technology in sight. Experts predict that quantum computers will have a dramatic impact on numerous industries, with applications spanning drug discovery, materials science, financial services, supply chain, cybersecurity, and many more.

That’s one of the reasons that virtually all leading universities are setting up schools and study tracks that are focused on quantum. 

We often get asked by high school students and college frosh: If quantum computing is the wave of the future, what do I need to do to ride this wave?

Here are our six recommendations:

  1. Choose the right major. The most relevant majors for quantum computing are physics, math, and computer science. If you’re more oriented to building the components, electrical engineering is another good choice. Whatever you choose, study in-depth from day one. You’d be amazed how a deep understanding of the earlier courses is the true jump-start of your career. Study not for grades. Study to get to the bottom of it.
  2. Read, read, and read some more. There is a mountain of publicly available material on quantum computing. Seek to understand the world of quantum and separate the hype from reality.
  3. Decide on the book that you’d read cover-to-cover. An obvious choice is  “Quantum Computation and Quantum Information” by Michael Nielsen and Isaac Chuang. Prof. Nielsen also has an excellent blog and YouTube video series. There are several other excellent quantum blogs including those by John Preskill and Scott Aaronson.
  4. Experiment with open-source programming environments and write some quantum code. IBM Qiskit and Microsoft Q# are excellent starting points. Try running your code both on classical simulators and on real quantum hardware. Looking for something extra? Contribute to the open-source software framework you are using. You will feel the hands-on reward and impact, and you will instantly become part of the community.
  5. Ask questions and engage in discussions. The quantum computing community is small and friendly. To the extent you can, take a field trip to knock on some quantum doors. If travel is a problem and you have a real question, many will be willing to spend 15 minutes of their time with you on Zoom. Don’t be shy.
  6. Have fun in what you do. Leave sufficient time to reflect, to enjoy, to understand why you are there. And if necessary, to adjust.

The quantum industry is in its formative years. We are excited and look forward to you joining.


Quantum computers may well be the hottest upcoming technology in sight. Experts predict that quantum computers will have a dramatic impact on numerous industries, with applications spanning drug discovery, materials science, financial services, supply chain, cybersecurity, and many more.

That’s one of the reasons that virtually all leading universities are setting up schools and study tracks that are focused on quantum. 

We often get asked by high school students and college frosh: If quantum computing is the wave of the future, what do I need to do to ride this wave?

Here are our six recommendations:

  1. Choose the right major. The most relevant majors for quantum computing are physics, math, and computer science. If you’re more oriented to building the components, electrical engineering is another good choice. Whatever you choose, study in-depth from day one. You’d be amazed how a deep understanding of the earlier courses is the true jump-start of your career. Study not for grades. Study to get to the bottom of it.
  2. Read, read, and read some more. There is a mountain of publicly available material on quantum computing. Seek to understand the world of quantum and separate the hype from reality.
  3. Decide on the book that you’d read cover-to-cover. An obvious choice is  “Quantum Computation and Quantum Information” by Michael Nielsen and Isaac Chuang. Prof. Nielsen also has an excellent blog and YouTube video series. There are several other excellent quantum blogs including those by John Preskill and Scott Aaronson.
  4. Experiment with open-source programming environments and write some quantum code. IBM Qiskit and Microsoft Q# are excellent starting points. Try running your code both on classical simulators and on real quantum hardware. Looking for something extra? Contribute to the open-source software framework you are using. You will feel the hands-on reward and impact, and you will instantly become part of the community.
  5. Ask questions and engage in discussions. The quantum computing community is small and friendly. To the extent you can, take a field trip to knock on some quantum doors. If travel is a problem and you have a real question, many will be willing to spend 15 minutes of their time with you on Zoom. Don’t be shy.
  6. Have fun in what you do. Leave sufficient time to reflect, to enjoy, to understand why you are there. And if necessary, to adjust.

The quantum industry is in its formative years. We are excited and look forward to you joining.


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