18 May 2021

How to prepare yourself for an IBM Quantum internship

Get ready — while we prepare to welcome this summer's class of IBM Quantum interns, we're already preparing to open up applications for the 2022 internship program.

IBM Quantum community members participating in a 2019 Qiskit Camp in Madrid.

This year, IBM Quantum is offering over a hundred internships to students from around the world, representing over 55 universities. As part of our IBM Quantum internship program, students will take our comprehensive two-week summer school, will have access to IBM Quantum expertise and mentorship, and will get to take part in various networking and social events. After the internship is over, they will continue to have access to programming targeted at alumni, as well.

We view workforce development as a multi-step process. The IBM Quantum team developed our Learn Quantum Computation using Qiskit textbook and Introduction to Quantum Computing and Quantum Hardware course in order to introduce students to programming a quantum computer, as well as the challenges and potentials of these systems. With our internship program, we're trying to convert these educational opportunities into career tracks as the quantum ecosystem develops, offering interns hands-on training and skills development to fit this growing field's various opportunities. We're excited about this program, of course, but don't just take it from us.

What do our past interns have to say?

“Being the first to offer publicly available quantum computers, IBM are at the cutting edge of understanding what it means to use these first generation devices and the difficulties involved of having real end users,” said Ben Jaderberg, Ph.D Candidate at the University of Oxford. “The prospect of joining a team of world class researchers and educators with this sort of experience was an amazing opportunity for my development.”

Ben Jaderberg, Ph.D Candidate at the University of Oxford.
Figure 1:
Ben Jaderberg, Ph.D Candidate at the University of Oxford.

Meanwhile, Harvard undergraduate Rachel Li was looking for a role that would help push the forefront of science in order to help shape society.

“From the Qiskit Summer School — where I learned about the complex theory underlying quantum computing — to the new coding languages I learned for my internship project, as well as the countless discussions I had with different IBM researchers, I have learned so much during my internship.

“Looking back on this experience has made me incredibly grateful that I had the opportunity to learn so much and be surrounded by so many amazing engineers and thinkers,” said Li.

Rachel Li, undergraduate at Harvard University.
Figure 2:
Rachel Li, undergraduate at Harvard University.

Interns have the opportunity to work across research, development, and engineering with experts from IBM labs located in the United States, Zurich, Tokyo, Haifa, South Africa, and elsewhere. But the quantum computing ecosystem will require more than just science know-how; we're also training interns on the necessary professional skills to fill the variety of different roles that a future quantum workforce will require.

IIT Kharagpur student Rana Prathap Simh Mukthavaram used the internship as an opportunity to create the Qiskit Challenge India, for example, and his position allowed him to experience the ins and outs of event planning on top of familiarizing himself with the quantum field.

“I decided that working on the IBM Quantum team is what would help me understand the truth about what the industry looks like today, and what the major problems being faced are. I have been working towards this goal since then, and I'm super happy that I got an opportunity to work here,” said Mukthavaram.

Rana Prathap Simh Mukthavaram, IIT Kharagpur student who launched Qiskit Challenge-India.
Figure 3:
Rana Prathap Simh Mukthavaram, IIT Kharagpur student who launched Qiskit Challenge-India.

Crucial to our mission is developing the most vibrant and diverse quantum computing workforce that we can. For example, last year, we kicked off our IBM-HBCU Quantum Center to develop quantum computing talent from Historically Black Colleges and Universities. We work with the National Society of Black Engineers, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, The MD-IT/ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Conference, and other professional organizations in order to recruit students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds. Where appropriate, we encourage students to apply through those society and conference-specific listings.

Want to apply? Here's how to get ready!

  • Exlore Qiskit, the open source software development framework to program quantum computers, and begin contributing to the Qiskit open source community.
  • Take part in the Qiskit Global Summer School. This year's focus is machine learning.
  • Keep your eyes open for Qiskit Advocate applications by signing up for notifications here.
  • And read the Qiskit Advocates Application Guide here. We select many of our interns from our talented pool of Qiskit Advocates.

We're looking forward to welcoming our 2021 interns, and hope you'll apply when applications open for the 2022 internship later this summer.


18 May 2021