Quantum Technologies Careers Fact Sheet
What are the different jobs available in quantum
There are many different career pathways in quantum. Alongside obvious roles such as quantum researchers, quantum engineers and cryptographers, there is also a plethora of support roles, which are crucial to the field and to growing a quantum economy, for example: project managers, business development managers, software developers, communications specialists, patent officers and many more. All of these roles show that you don’t need to have a physics background to work in quantum, there really is a role for everyone, no matter what their background is.
Research Software Engineer
As a research software engineer, you will work with physicists and other software engineers to develop bespoke software programs for quantum applications. You could work for a research group within academia or for a company which carries out research. You will use your coding skills to research, develop, design and test new programs that will enable problems to be solved and new quantum devices to operate and communicate with other devices.
As an outreach officer, you will be responsible for carrying out public engagement and outreach work for your institution. These roles are most commonly held at universities and other research institutions, rather than private companies. You will organise events and create resources that enable the general public and schools to learn about, understand and engage with the research taking place.
As a patent attorney you will be responsible for submitting applications, on behalf of a company or an individual, to the government, in order to protect inventions and give the owners legal rights with regards to their intellectual property. You could work at a private practice which represents numerous clients, in the law department at a large company, or in a government department.
Quantum Researcher in academia
As a quantum researcher in academia, you would be based in a university and would conduct research into cutting edge technologies. You would design and model new technologies or carry out experiments using them. Alongside your research you may contribute to wider university life, for example, through teaching or supervising students.
Business Development Manager
As a business development manager, you will be responsible for identifying and encouraging engagement between businesses or between businesses and research projects/facilities. You will build new relationships regularly, maintain contacts, create networks and always be on the look out for opportunities for new partnerships.
Quantum Hardware Engineer
As a quantum hardware engineer, you will work for a company and will use your understanding of engineering, physics, electronics and computer science to design new and innovative quantum technologies. For example, you could design new technologies for quantum computers, devices for ultimately secure quantum communications systems, quantum sensors or new quantum imaging technologies that enable non-invasive medical scans to take place.
Research Project Manager
As a research project manager, you work at a university or government facility and will have overall oversight of research projects. You will use your organisation and managerial skills to take responsibility for monitoring the progress of the research projects against delivery targets and for the day-to-day management of administration associated with the projects.
As a quantum technologist (also often called quantum scientists or quantum specialists) in industry, you will work in private company laboratories (or offices if your work is theoretical) to develop new technologies or to improve existing products or approaches. You will work within a team to design and test the technologies and sometimes carry out field trials where these devices are deployed into the real world for tests. Elements of your work are likely to be highly confidential, protected by patents and not able to be discussed with those outside of the company.
As a cryptographer in the quantum sector, you may work within a university, company or government organisation such as the National Cyber Security Centre. You will use a variety of mathematical techniques to find and develop quantum-safe solutions to problems that conventional cryptography faces. You will develop new forms of cryptography that are resistant to attack by quantum computers and help to make sure that the world’s cyber security is future-proofed, ready for a world where powerful quantum computers exist.
Research Communications Specialist
As a research communications specialist, you will use your understanding of science along with your communications skills to spread the word about the cutting-edge research your project is undertaking with the general public, industry and government.
As a quantum entrepreneur, you will have an idea for an innovative practical application in the field of quantum technologies and will use your understanding of quantum technologies, combined with your business experience, to create a start-up company to commercialise your technologies and make them widely available.