The layoff situation has been brutal in the classical computing industry lately. Recent tech layoffs announced have included Meta with 11,000 workers, Amazon with 10,000 workers, Cisco with 4100, Twitter with 3700, Uber with 3700, and the list goes on. As of November 2022, the website Layoff.fyi has estimated that in 2022 so far 859 tech companies that have laid off a total of 137,492 people. And there are rumors that Alphabet will be letting up to 10,000 more people go soon.
But perhaps there is a silver lining in the cloud. One of the constant topics at quantum industry conferences has been the difficulty for quantum companies of recruiting qualified candidates. In recent years, some of that was caused by the intense competition from the classical computer companies as they expanded their development efforts during the Covid years and also implemented work-from-home policies that would make it easier for someone to join a company headquartered in a different city.
Also, it is important to remember with quantum industry jobs that there are a great many positions that don’t require a PhD in Quantum Physics for someone to be successful. The QED-C did a survey published earlier this year titled Assessing the Needs of the Quantum Industry where they found that there is a wide diversity in skills, majors, job titles, and degree levels that are in demand within the quantum industry. Our experience is that there is a lot of need for deploying classical computing technology within a quantum company. Typical job functions could include chip design, developing classical computing interfaces to a quantum processor, building software development kits, and much more.
Although not everyone available from these tech layoffs may be suitable for a job in quantum, we believe that some of them are. For a mid-career person looking to get into the quantum industry it might be helpful to take a few introductory courses so they can learn the buzzwords and work with the PhD theorists within a quantum company. Some courses to consider would include the MIT xPro series as well as several courses being offered by edX. You can also find others including several self-paced video lectures listed on the Education page of the Quantum Computing Report.
So for those coming from the classical computing industry thinking about pivoting to quantum, we recommend you check out those resources. And for recruiters in quantum companies, think about hiring some of these folks. Although they may need a little on-the-job training to get fully productive, they will also bring skills they have learned from their classical experience like goal setting, communications, teamwork, project management, organization, etc., that might be lacking from someone who is coming fresh out of a university.
November 25, 2022