3 min read
“The Tech Nation visa has given me a level of honour in my career”
Prior to my arrival in the UK in 2015, I had been offered an opportunity to work and settle in the USA, but I made the choice to wait for a chance to come to the UK because I was drawn to its work culture, diversity and status as a global innovation hub.
As a working mother, I consider the UK to be one of the best places to live, work and raise children. For the past three and a half years, living in the picturesque countryside of Wallingford, my family has loved the UK for everything it has given us – culture, community, security and opportunity.
It is a great honour to be recognised as an Exceptional Talent Leader by Tech Nation and awarded the UK Tier 1 Visa. The Tech Nation endorsement has helped me validate my lifetime contributions to digital technology, especially in the data and analytics sector.
I specialise in location intelligence data, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), data science and their surrounding technologies, and I have experience of scaling organisations and enabling digital transformation.
I’m passionate about maps, design and user experience. I’ve created various geospatial solutions and have published books on Digital Cartography. Historically this has been a lesser known area, however, now every organisation has a strategy around data and analytics to leverage data science, location intelligence and AI to gain customer intelligence, accelerate growth and enable rapid innovation based on data driven insights.
The Tech Nation endorsement and visa is the achievement of a lifetime that has given me a massive boost and a level of honour to my career.
This recognition of receiving this visa will open up endless opportunities for me within the UK and within my current workplace. I will be able to realise my ambitions of attracting and creating more data-savvy talent within and outside my workplace to enable sustainable digital transformation. Now I have the freedom to tap into and create more opportunities within this sector and help accelerate further innovation and valued outcomes in the UK and beyond.
When I first heard about this visa and went through the eligibility criteria, I thought there is no way I can ever qualify for this. It almost sounded like one had to be an “Elon Musk” or a Nobel Prize Winner to be endorsed under its categories.
But I believed in myself and all the contributions and impact I had made, so I am very glad I decided to take my first step. Once I started, I was determined to complete my portfolio and apply.
Once the portfolio is submitted, the endorsement stage took about 2 months for a decision to be made.
I was pleasantly surprised when I received my letter of endorsement – and within 4 working days I received a letter from the UK Secretary of State inviting me to apply for the Tier 1 Visa. I applied along with my family and we received the BRPs within 5 days.
Shortly after receiving this prestigious endorsement, I was interviewed and featured in an article that recognised my contributions and success story of the Tech Nation Visa under the categories “Woman of Innovation” and “Women in Tech”. It was an honour to discuss my Tech Nation experience and receiving the Exceptional Talent Visa.
If you’re thinking of applying, start by thoroughly reading the guidance and criteria published on Tech Nation’s website. The guidance and relevant information has evolved over time and I found it very well structured and helpful for any new applicant.
Don’t hesitate to seek professional guidance if needs be. Also, try networking with the Tech Nation Visa alumni and ambassadors, who can help answer your questions during your application process.
Every application is unique and subjective, and every applicant should put forward their best foot to ensure their application is clear, concise and easy to understand. Tech Nation is looking for genuine candidates who can walk the talk, evidenced through lifetime contributions and impact. Be very clear on your objectives and purpose.
I am very thankful to everyone who supported me in validating my thoughts and I am thankful to my colleagues who provided their support and wrote about my work experience.
It took me over 6 months from discovery of the programme to submitting my portfolio for the first stage of endorsement. I learnt a lot during this journey and now I believe the structure and flow of my application and attention to detail played an important role in my successful outcome (apart from the credentials).
I would be happy to guide any aspiring applicant through the Tech Nation Endorsement process.
If I was to give advice to anyone thinking of applying, I would tell them that success means different things to everyone. It is important to define what motivates you and how can you make a difference.
The most important factor for anyone to be successful in technology is continuous learning: gaining subject matter expertise to lead and influence ideas, and continually validating these ideas. You need to believe in yourself and continuously hone your skills and qualifications to stay relevant and ahead of the curve.
Make valuable interactions and network professionally within and outside of your organisation. Empower yourself and your peers. Mentor others and get a mentor and a sponsor for yourself!
Don’t be shy about putting across your point and ideas and don’t hesitate to grab opportunities to lead new initiatives and projects.
Ask for what you deserve.
Above all, practice and facilitate empathy! I would always start by asking myself every day, “What problem did we solve? What value did we create? What did I learn?”