Women of Quantum Technology: Roshan Jalil, a QubitxQubit Quantum Ambassador from Pakistan
For web developer and QubitxQubit Quantum Ambassador Roshan Jalil, her passion for science became an essential part of her mental and physical health. “Having survived childhood leukemia, I have always considered science my savior,” she explained. “During my time in the oncology ward, I discovered my passion for computer technologies and coding, which kept me occupied in the following years. Although I started working as a web developer at an early age, over the past two years I have dedicated myself to learning advanced mathematics and computer science beyond my school curriculum.” But being a student isn’t always easy for Jalil, especially within her family. “While self-learning can be a challenge, especially as the only member of my family to pursue intermediate mathematics, I do my best to persevere,” she added. “During one of my self-study sessions, I stumbled upon quantum computing, which struck me as a perfect intersection of mathematics, physics, and computer science. Mathematics, computer science, and physics have always been my comfort zones, but discovering a field that combines all three was an exhilarating experience.” As many within the industry come from one of these three other backgrounds, many can relate to Jalil’s passion for how these different fields interact within the quantum computing industry.
Like Areeba Arbab’s story, a fellow Pakistani quantum computer programmer, Jalil has also encountered difficulties learning this next-generation technology within her home country. “As a woman in Pakistan, I encountered numerous challenges while attempting to enter the tech world, including the quantum industry,” Jalil explained. “Despite the dearth of suitable opportunities and guidance, I am immensely thankful for the online resources that have enabled me to progress thus far. Although I began learning about quantum technologies independently, my first formal workshop was with The Coding School and IBM. Following this, I was granted a full scholarship to their 9-month quantum school program. Furthermore, I have established a quantum computing club at my school to foster greater awareness about this groundbreaking and transformative field.” Jalil is just one of many students around the world who have found programs like IBM’s Qsikit or the Coding School’s QubitxQubit to be essential in learning quantum computing. These programs have been incredibly beneficial for those in non-Western countries, as they offer valuable resources found in few other places.
As a QubitxQubit Quantum Ambassador from Pakistan, Jalil is thrilled to get more hands-on experience with her quantum education. As Jalil said, “I am in the process of completing my final project. While I cannot reveal any details about it yet, I am hopeful that it will be well-received.” Jalil also works to pass on her quantum knowledge to others in her local community. “Additionally, I hold the position of president in my high school’s quantum computing club, where I lead weekly meetings to facilitate discussions on my learnings and share the resources I have collected,” she added. “I am also studying for the Qiskit Associate Developer examination and aim to pass it in the next four months.”
As one of the few women in Pakistan learning quantum computing, Jalil sees herself in a natural leadership position to help guide others to the quantum industry. But for more to join this expanding global community, Jalil believes that critical steps need to be taken to ensure more inclusivity. “Enhancing the availability of online opportunities can significantly enhance diversity within the quantum industry,” she explained. “Intelligence and passion know no boundaries and access to suitable mentorship and opportunities can empower individuals to realize their full potential, irrespective of the dearth of opportunities within their countries. These opportunities may take various forms, such as workshops, live courses, and fellowships, among others. Additionally, organizing community events can foster greater interest and participation within the industry, enabling individuals to expand their network.” As Jalil hopes to continue her quantum education, using her work at QubitxQubit as an example, and pursue a successful career within the industry, she hopes that her journey can be an example to others, looking to begin entering this field.
Kenna Hughes-Castleberry is a staff writer at Inside Quantum Technology and the Science Communicator at JILA (a partnership between the University of Colorado Boulder and NIST). Her writing beats include deep tech, the metaverse, and quantum technology.