In the latest instalment of our series on stories of exceptional talent, we spoke to Alejandro Saucedo, a Mexican technologist who now specialises in machine learning. He was awarded his Tech Nation Visa in 2016; we spoke to him about how it’s made an impact on his life.
Being recognised by Tech Nation and receiving the Exceptional Talent Visa is a massive honour. I have had the pleasure of meeting several extremely talented Tech Nation visa holders which made me realise how high the bar is set. Having been on a Tier 4 and a Tier 2 visa, I can say that having the Tech Nation visa feels like having superpowers – it is possible to work at a company, build your business, or even do both at the same time.
What I like the most about living in the UK is the unique opportunities you get as a technologist. London offers a vibrant and fast-growing tech ecosystem that allows for strong professional and personal growth. I also like that the UK’s location makes it a great hub for international collaboration. We are just a short train away from key European hubs such as Brussels, Paris and Amsterdam. Similarly, being in UTC timezone allows for efficient remote work with teams across the US East Coast as well as Eastern Europe and beyond.
I’ve had the pleasure of being part of the UK tech scene for the last 8 years. Throughout this time, I have had access to the same thriving ecosystem that has attracted investors, entrepreneurs and domain experts from all around the world. I have been able to work with some of the most talented researchers, engineers and domain experts thanks to the strong academic and industrial presence embedded in the UK’s tech sector. This is what has allowed me to grow multiple tech businesses and develop professionally and personally to a level I could have never imagined.
When I applied for the visa I was leaving my role as a Software Engineer at Bloomberg LP to build a technology consultancy in the railway sector called Hack Partners. I moved on after growing that company to over 10 employees to build a machine learning department of around 15 engineers at Eigen Technologies. I recently moved on to lead research and development as Chief Scientist for The Institute for Ethical AI and Machine Learning, a UK based research centre. I would not have been able to obtain the same level of professional growth without the Tech Nation Visa.
A lot of candidates approach me with questions about their applications, and my advice is always along the same lines. Getting the visa will require hard work, and the bar is set high, but it is not impossible – hundreds of talented individuals have obtained it. Candidates should make sure their references are relevant and powerful. In regards to evidence, quality and relevance is by far more important than quantity. Finally it is important to showcase not only one’s talent, but also how the UK specifically is relevant for their talent, and how their career will flourish by being in the UK during the next few years.