In continuation of my previous series on the UK Global Talent VISA route in Digital Technologies( go here to read them first if you are not familiar ); I will be focusing in this post on satisfying the tech nation optional criteria for “Exceptional Talent”

Tech Nation in their guide requires evidence of two of the following in this category :

1. proven track record for innovation as a founder or senior executive of a product-led digital technology company or as an employee working on a new digital field or concept

2. proof of recognition for work beyond the applicant’s occupation that contributes to the advancement of the field

3. they have made significant technical, commercial or entrepreneurial contributions to the field as a founder, senior executive, board member or employee of a product-led digital technology company

4. they have demonstrated exceptional ability in the field by academic contributions through research published or endorsed by an expert

I will focus in this post on point 2 which is proof of recognition outside my occupation and what evidences I provided in the application to Tech Nation.

How I provided proof of recognition outside my occupation

Tech Nation provides the below guidance on what evidences to provide to satisfy this criteria :

Examples of relevant evidence include:

Evidence of contributions to an Open Source project

Your GitHub profile demonstrating active participation in a collaborative project

Your Stack Overflow profile showing significant contribution to discussions around code

All contributions (for example to an Open-Source project, GitHub, or Stack Overflow profile etc.) must demonstrate a consistent and ongoing track record of contributions to the sector. Contributions which have been made solely to support the timing of your application are unacceptable.

Talks or conference speaking that have had a significant viewership. Conferences must be widely regarded as sector-leading events for your field with at least 100 attendees (not registrations). As a speaker you must be speaking on the main stage and the invitation to speak must not have been paid for by your organisation as part of any sponsorship. Leading a workshop or running a session at a conference is not sufficient. Evidence should include your speech with either a link to the video of you speaking, the programme of events displaying your talk or a reference letter from the conference organiser with explanation of why you were asked to speak.

An op-ed or news article that exemplifies thought leadership, evidence of mentorship.

Evidence of mentorship must be for activity outside the applicant’s organisation or normal course of work duties and excludes mentorship of other commercial organisations as part of a commercial arrangement. Mentorship should be on behalf of a structured programme with selection criteria and is inclusive of non-profit charities and social mentorship programmes. You must be able to demonstrate a consistent track record of mentoring and have received recognition for your personal contribution. Mentoring at a university or a single startup is not sufficient. When mentoring alongside other mentors (for example at a top-tier accelerator) you must have been a senior mentor that may be evidenced through a letter of reference from the programme. Note that simply training a colleague, providing general support or advice, or advising at a company of someone you know is not considered to meet the definition of mentorship.

Basically they want to see what you have done for the digital tech sector outside your 9-5 job. My experience as an Information Security leader in the middle east outside my occupation was primarily focused on writing and speaking so I decided to focus there the most. Below are some that I provided :

  • My ISACA journal articles which had been published in 2019 and 2021 some of which you can see here . If you are not aware the journal is published to around 250,000 readers in more than 180 countries around the world. Being published is a major achievement as it establishes you as an expert in your area. If you are interested then you can find out how to contribute an article here
My ISACA Journal article
  • Another evidence I provided was a podcast interview of mine with DefenseIQ which is based in London. DefenseIQ is one of the largest event organizations in the world and regularly hold conferences on defense and cyber-security. I offered my advice on the cyber-security attacks happening in the Middle East which you can listen to here

My podcast interview
  • Lastly I provided details about a cyber-security conference I was invited to speak at which was the 5th Annual CISO Summit and Roundtable – a three day Premier Gathering for Information Security leaders in the Middle East in which hundreds of CIOs, CISOs, heads of information security, CTOs and senior technology risk executives participated in . The conference was suitably high level and a good evidence to provide in support of my application

Things to keep in mind

I hope this helps you in your application for the UK Global Talent VISA and my own experiences helped you out. Remember that evidence is not the only thing but HOW you present it to tech nation is very important. You need to make sure that the relevant application is present within the application itself and you are not pointing to any links. Dont expect the assessor to do your work for you and make sure to capture all the details and prove your worth as a leader. Good luck in your application !