IBM offers quantum industry’s first developer certification

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Big Blue is trying to attract developers to their Qiskit SDK by bribing them with a quantum certification

Last week IBM announced the launch of its first developer certification for programming quantum computers.

Quantum computing may still be in its infancy, but Big Blue is leveraging the trends promoted by the punditry – namely that now is the time for developers to get certified in quantum computing. It is true that in quantum computing there is little that’s immediately recognizable on the hardware side. However, the actual software tools that most players in the industry are developing today should be familiar to most developers. IBM wants to capitalize on that familiarity.

Pushing Qiskit down the throats of ambitious developers

IBM’s Abe Asfaw, Kallie Ferguson, and James Weaver described the new certification program in a blog post. “Quantum computing is poised to change the way we solve difficult computer problems,” they state, “and global interest in it has exploded in the past few years.”

“On the Qiskit team, we saw thousands attend our Qiskit Global Summer School, and more than 600,000 installs of the Qiskit, an open source quantum software development kit supported by IBM.,” they boast. “One market research report predicted that quantum computing will be a $65 billion industry by 2030, resulting in an influx of new quantum jobs, as well,” they add.

“With our IBM Quantum Developer Certification, IBM Quantum is offering a path for people with all development backgrounds to earn a certification in programming with Qiskit, allowing them to leverage their quantum coding skills into a potential opportunity in this exciting new workforce.”

Describing a “vibrant community” of Qiskit developers

Qiskit allows anyone to program real quantum computing hardware, according to IBM. The Qiskit SDK requires only Python and a basic knowledge of linear algebra as a prerequisite. IBM launched Qiskit in 2017, and since then the company claims, thousands of users have developed applications, maintained and improved code. They have also taken part in both live and virtual hackathons, summer schools, and other educational opportunities, the writers say.

Then they make their call to action: “we think we can aim our sights even higher.”

IBM said it planned to roll out scholarships to developers who are short of cash, equip teachers with access to IBM Quantum tools through a Quantum Educators programme, and offer educational backup such as the Introduction to Quantum Computing and Quantum Hardware.