Is quantum computing the next frontier for machine learning experts?

Here, we consider the role that machine learning tech talent could play in the quantum computing space, as R&D gains traction

In and out of tech circles, AI is dominating the conversation surrounding job creation and job losses. In fact, recent data from Accenture estimates that 40 per cent of all working hours could be affected by generative AI tools, and a separate study suggests that as many as 300 million full-time jobs globally could be at risk.

It’s little wonder that for many tech workers, jobs that are rooted in automation seem to be the golden ticket when it comes to salary and security — in the US, prompt engineers are becoming increasingly important and are commanding salaries in excess of £300,000.

However, for programmers, engineers and data scientists who wish to future-proof their careers and embrace the next frontier of technology, quantum computing shouldn’t be overlooked.

“We need more quantum literate programmers and engineers; but equally as important, I encourage quantum literacy across a wide range of diverse roles. For example, we need quantum literate scientific journalists, policy makers, ethicists, teachers, cyber analysts and strategists,” says Dr Kristin M. Gilkes, global innovation quantum leader at EY.

“Quantum is a domain for which we need all kinds of diverse thinking and leadership, not just the physicists, programmers and engineers.”

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Quantum programmes

In 2020, the University of New South Wales in Australia was the first university to offer an undergraduate degree in quantum engineering.

Here in the UK, University College London offers a graduate programme, while the University of Cambridge has added a quantum computing course to its computer science and technology department.

Investors have also taken note and in 2022, VCs invested a record $2.35bn in quantum computing. It’s also predicted that companies deploying quantum stand to gain $1.3tn in value by 2035.

“Quantum is picking up pace and given the advances we are seeing using a hybrid ML/quantum process, I think we are going to see serious benefits in the next two to three years,” Dr Gilkes adds.

“We are finding a symbiotic relationship between the disciplines of AI and quantum, each bringing their own value to the table and making the other more efficient and faster. ML has the ability, today, to organise and manipulate large data sets really well, which is a function that quantum computing can benefit from.”

Similar to how AI is surpassing all scaling timeframe predictions, Dr Gilkes believes that the rapid advancement of quantum computing means its impact will be felt in the next couple of years.

“My prediction is that we won’t have to wait more than two to three years to start seeing real promise.”

Ready to make the leap and embrace the next frontier of tech? The Information Age Job Board is the perfect place to start your search as it features thousands of jobs in companies that are actively hiring, like the three below.

Machine learning engineer, Octopus Energy, London

Since 2015, Octopus has been on a mission to bring affordable, green energy to the world. Its in-house technology platform Kraken presents a powerful opportunity for the ML team to work to optimise the platform. As a machine learning engineer you will focus on bringing the next generation of AI-powered features to Kraken. You’ll work across the whole product lifecycle: identifying uses of new technologies via exploration, working closely with operations teams to validate that your ideas will bring value, implementing them in collaboration with front and backend engineers, and creating systems to monitor their ongoing performance. See more details here.

Generative AI specialist, Google Cloud, Google, London

Google is seeking a Generative AI specialist to join the Google Cloud Platform team. In this role you will work with product development and technical sales teams as a generative AI subject matter expert to bring Google Cloud AI products to customers and partners. You will also help prospective customers and partners understand the power of Google AI, explaining technical features, helping customers design architectures, build AI powered applications, and problem-solving any potential roadblocks. You will also have the opportunity to help customers leverage Google Cloud’s Generative AI services, including large language models and specialised machine learning hardware developed by Google, called Tensor Processing Unit. Get additional details here.

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Machine learning engineer, Autodesk, London

As a Machine learning engineer at Autodesk Research, you will be working side-by-side with world-class researchers and engineers doing fundamental and applied research. As such you will scale techniques for training large models, collaborate on research projects and papers with a diverse, global team of researchers and engineers and support research through the construction of experimental pipelines, prototypes, and reusable code. View the full job description here.

Access thousands of tech jobs today via the Information Age Job Board

A lifestyle journalist and editor for over 10 years, Aoibhinn McBride has written for titles in Dublin, London, New York and Dubai


Q&A: IDC research manager on how quantum will transform businessHeather West, Ph.D, quantum computing research lead at IDC, spoke to Information Age about how quantum could transform business in the coming years.