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Topic: ICT

Empowering International Professionals: "Through Tekna I found like-minded people"

Published: Nov. 13 2023

Through Tekna’s Big Data network for data professionals, foreign workers in Norway can connect both socially and professionally, according to board member Ning Zhou.

"Tekna Is a Gateway to Norwegian Society"

Ning Zhou, a board member in the Tekna Big Data network, says the network helped her connect with Norwegian society.

Finding a community of like-minded individuals can have a big influence on your career and well-being. After Ning Zhou, Principal Product Manager in Microsoft Development Center Norway AS, got involved in Tekna’s Big Data network, she started to feel more at home.

“The most important thing for me is that I found a group of like-minded people in the Norwegian Big Data community. While the network’s scope is pretty broad, the focus is squarely aimed at machine learning and AI, where I also have the strongest interest”, says Ning.

Ning Zhou lecturing at a Tekna Big Data event.
Ning Zhou lecturing at a Tekna Big Data event.

She arrived in Norway in 2014 with an MBA from INSEAD in France. Before joining Microsoft, Ning worked at Schibsted Media Group, and it was through colleagues there she joined the Tekna Big Data network in 2017. Initially drawn by the promise of practical benefits, such as discounts on mortgages, Ning’s involvement took a profound turn in 2021 when she became a board member of Tekna Big Data, after being approached by Heidi, the then board chair.

“In the two years I’ve been a board member, I’ve organized and participated in several events. Now it feels like I’ve gotten to know a lot more people through the network and events, and I feel like I’m really a part of the community.”

Unites more than 7000 professionals

Tekna Big Data currently unites over 7000 professionals across Norway. It serves as a tool for fostering connections, nurturing knowledge, and bridging cultural gaps. The latter is particularly important to Ning.

She recognizes Big Data as a gateway to both Norwegian culture and professional life:
“I work at Microsoft, a company with headquarters located in the US, which has a different culture than most Norwegian companies. So it is really through Tekna Big Data that I have gotten the opportunity to meet people that are ‘typisk norsk’”, she explains and underlines the importance of being able to meet people with different profiles and exchanging experience and knowledge with people working in the related fields in Norway.

“Here in Tekna Big Data I get to hear about a lot of different projects and meet people with different perspectives, which inspires me and gives me ideas I can use in my professional life. And it’s simply nice to meet people, really”, she exclaims excitedly.

A bond in the digital world, both socially and professionally

For Ning and many others, Tekna Big Data isn't just a network. It's a bond in the digital world. The network's focus on big data, machine learning, and AI aligns perfectly with her interests. Furthermore, beyond professional growth, Tekna Big Data also fosters social connections.

Networking events act as a catalyst for friendships, allowing members to form connections that extend beyond professional realms. For Ning, this aspect is invaluable, creating a sense of belonging in a foreign land:
“Through Tekna Big Data I’ve been able to participate more in society and provide input into democratic processes such as public hearings. This is a very Norwegian thing, and also very new to me – but it makes me feel that I belong and contribute”, she says.

Professional networks

What: As a Tekna member you get two organisations in one: we are both a trade union and a professional association. We have a wide range of professional networks that host meetings and debates. Why not take part or contribute to the meeting yourself?

How: To join a network, place a tick in the appropriate box on My Profile. It goes without saying that as a member this will cost you nothing.

“When I really need help, I feel like Tekna has a lot of resources for foreigners to help navigate the system.”

"Norwegians don’t bite!"

Tekna Big Data is a thriving community. Joining this professional network is simple, requiring only Tekna membership and an interest in the field.

Additionally, there are no stringent requirements for participation; the focus is on making the network an attractive space for everyone, from experts to those eager to learn.

Ning is adamant in her message to other non-native professionals in Norway, and also with a bit of tongue in cheek:
“Norwegians don’t bite! One of the biggest challenges for me is to find my Mr. Right here, but I stay optimistic”, she says with a laugh.

“There are lots of friendly people at Tekna Big Data, and I highly recommend non-Norwegian workers to join the community.”

And as she puts it bluntly as the interview is winding down:
“Let’s make Norway a cool place for big data!”

Interested in joining Tekna Big Data? Read more about the network.

Tekna Big Data

Tekna Big Data is the network for members of Tekna interested in technologies like data science, artificial intelligence, IoT or other related areas. Join us

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