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Solving Customer Challenges: Meet Consulting Engineer Paul-Emile Brotons

Our Professional Services team is growing. Hear from Paul-Emile Brotons about his Consulting Engineer (CE) role, the types of projects he works on for customers, how he continually learns, and what makes this role a great opportunity for people with technical backgrounds who enjoy solving a variety of problems. Jackie Denner: Thanks for sharing your experience as a Consulting Engineer. Can you tell me about the Consulting Engineer team within Professional Services at MongoDB? Paul-Emile Brotons: I joined MongoDB a year and a half ago. The Consulting Engineering team is responsible for assisting customers at every stage of their MongoDB journey to ensure they are successful. We assist customers with training, database design, architecture design, code reviews, preproduction audits and reviews, setup, and health checks. I’m part of the South European team and I’m based out of Paris, but the Consulting Engineering team is worldwide. Since we are solving challenging problems, the team is very close and meets daily to share ideas and discuss solutions. I always have colleagues available to help at any time of day. JD: As a junior engineer, why did you opt for a Consulting Engineer role instead of a traditional Product Engineer role? PEB: Before joining MongoDB, I was a full-stack engineer at a French startup specializing in revenue management. I learned great technical skills there, but, in the end, I felt I was missing the big picture: What other stacks exist on the market? What tools are other engineering teams at big companies or startups working with? That is exactly what the Consulting Engineer role made possible for me. Since our projects are usually short-term, a typical CE may see 50 projects in a year. In my current role, I have been working with almost every new and exciting technology. I also get to learn how people within product and engineering work in other organizations. I find this very valuable, and it’s not something you can easily find in a traditional Product Engineer role. JD: What does a day in your role look like? PEB: CEs are assigned to “missions,” which typically range from one to four days and concern a specific customer. Longer-term projects can span several months. My role generally starts the week before. Before each mission, I try to set up a short preconsult session where I meet with customers and discover the topics they want to discuss. Then, on the day of the mission, I provide training, performance evaluation, tuning, and more. I learn a lot in my role, and I try to find solutions to all the difficult problems the customer has not been able to solve alone. It’s challenging and very rewarding. In some cases, I may not be assigned to a customer and I will be working on preparation and continuous learning. I appreciate the liberty my role gives me. JD: What was your onboarding like, and what learning and growth opportunities are there on the Consulting Engineer team? PEB: To be completely honest, I was a bit scared when I joined. I was very impressed with the way people work here, and I had a feeling it would be hard for me to onboard. However, the ramp-up process is so well-done that it almost felt easy. The first weeks were dedicated only to training. First, we have to learn a lot about MongoDB. A CE is a database expert. Since almost every software needs a persistent layer, this expertise is very valuable. Second, we have to know our stuff when it comes to Linux, networking, cloud providers, architecture, coding, and more. Afterward, everything is done to gradually increase the level of difficulty; complex missions are not delivered by new hires. Management is really careful about that, which is reassuring. Once a CE is performing well in their role, they may be promoted to Senior and then Principal grades. Many of us also study to pass certifications. I will soon start studying for a Linux sysadmin certification. The management team is very supportive and encourages continuous learning. JD: How do you interact with other teams at MongoDB? PEB: The CE role requires a lot of interaction with teams such as Sales, Presales Engineering, and Product Engineering. Consulting Engineers can be leveraged to help Sales and Solution Architects before the sale happens, since we are seen as trusted advisers. We also often speak to product teams to discuss the inner workings of a product, feature, or system. I’ve had the opportunity to meet many people within MongoDB. JD: What is one of the most interesting or challenging projects you’ve worked on? PEB: It is honestly difficult to choose, but I would pick a long project I worked on with a major container transportation and shipping company. It was challenging given the scope of the project and the number of interactions and subjects I had to deal with. The project was key for the customer, and it was technically demanding. We had to review the whole application architecture; analyze the front end to infer the requests and schema design needed on the database side; work with a wide range of professionals, including developers, solution architects, Linux engineers, and project managers; and test that everything would happen as expected. It was a great learning experience, from both a personal and professional perspective. JD: What makes someone successful in a CE role? PEB: Aside from sufficient knowledge of computer science, the CE role requires good communication and problem-solving skills. You have to know how to listen to and understand the problems customers encounter before you can think of a solution. Good customer contact is often the key to a mission’s success, and it makes the difference between a satisfied customer and a happy customer. JD: What advice would you offer someone looking to move into Professional Services at MongoDB? PEB: First, prepare well for the interviews — study up on algorithms, two programming languages, and basic database and hardware concepts. The interviews can be challenging, and there are a lot of rounds. Second, I would advise candidates to look at the beginners course on the MongoDB University website. The courses are free and they’re the best I have done on the web so far. Going deeper into learning MongoDB before joining the company saved me a lot of time. Last but not least, I would encourage candidates to contact CEs at MongoDB to get a clear view of the company and the role. My colleagues and I are more than happy to answer any questions that might help someone decide if this role is the right fit for them. Interested in a Professional Services career at MongoDB? We have several open roles on our team and would love for you to transform your career with us!

June 10, 2021
Culture

Built With MongoDB: Vectorly

When Sam Bhattacharyya spent time in the Peace Corps as a teacher in Mexico, he learned how much of a barrier the lack of internet bandwidth was for his classes. The students simply did not have the resources needed to take advantage of online learning, which was a problem Sam soon became fixated on. Years later, Sam founded his company Vectorly with a goal to fix that bandwidth issue via an AI-based video compression solution that streams low-resolution videos and turns them into a high-definition viewing experience. Vectorly is a software development kit (SDK) that companies can integrate into their video applications. Vectorly released its minimal viable product (MVP) for use by early customers in February 2021 and has a total of 20 companies that are actively using the product. In this edition of #BuiltWithMongoDB, we talked with Sam about how Vectorly’s software works, how he got started with MongoDB for Startups, and the future of this fast-growing industry. MongoDB: What's Vectoryl's mission? Sam: We’re building a technology that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to upscale and enhance video in real time on users’ devices, as they watch it. So, what that lets a user do is stream low-resolution video content and watch it in high definition. We have about 100 AI models on our server. Most of them are for AI upscaling, for different kinds of content and different quality levels. Based on feedback from customers, we've also been building AI filters for, say, virtual background replacement. All that data is loaded in real time from the server every time you load the library. With our SDK, you specify that you want to use this AI filter on that library, and you have an API token that calls our API and that returns the AI model in real time to your device so you can watch the upscaled video. AI takes some computing power, which can be a concern especially on low-end devices, and we’re conscious of that, so we pay close attention to performance and frame rate to make sure our AI models do not overload the devices users are working on. MongoDB: What are some of the use cases for Victory? Sam: The first is to think of a user that is watching Netflix with a slow internet connection. Because the network is so slow, that user’s going to end up with a low-resolution version of the video. But we have AI filters that can pop in and start to upscale and enhance the video and make it look as if it’s high definition. The other use case is around video conferencing, where all kinds of things can affect call quality or user experience, from background noise to blurry video. You can use AI to correct any of those issues that come up. MongoDB: What does your tech stack consist of? Sam: Our product is a software library, which is for the web, and it’s all built in JavaScript. The main JavaScript functionality we’re using is called WebGL, which is a graphics pipeline that lets you access the GPU on devices. We have a bunch of AI models on our server, which are just numbers stored in JSON files. Our SDKs load the AI models in real time, and we use MongoDB to track and store event data, as well as basic metadata. MongoDB: How did you choose MongoDB? Sam: I've been using MongoDB since I started programming in 2012. Although the first programming course I took used the LAMP stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP), SQL seemed unintuitive, and the LAMP stack in general just felt bulky. When I started my first personal programming project, I looked for alternatives, and I found this new thing called the MEAN stack (MongoDB, Express.js, AngularJS, and Node.js). I thought it was the greatest thing in the world that you could use JavaScript in the front end and the back end, and that you could even use JSON like notation for the database. Having a full JavaScript stack made so much sense. Every web development project I've started since has used the MEAN stack. When it came time to hack together the first version of Vectorly, MongoDB was our first choice for the database. MongoDB: How has the experience been working with MongoDB? Sam: It’s been fantastic. We had to come up with this model of tracking users and usage of our platform in a very short amount of time, because the first version we released had no tracking whatsoever. One of the things that saved us a lot of time was the MongoDB Charts function, because it really allows us to track what we’re doing. It was super quick to set up. Looking to build something cool? Get started with the MongoDB for Startups program.

June 9, 2021
Applied

Built With MongoDB: Phable

Hundreds of millions of people across India face chronic diseases. India has the second-highest number of diabetics in the world, and citizens with high blood pressure, thyroid conditions, and other chronic ailments are underserved in the country because there’s no robust system in place governing how the treatment and diagnosis will be handled. Given the lack of a proper infrastructure, diseases slip under the radar because they’re not caught early on. That’s where Phable comes in. According to TechCrunch , "Phable has created a more transparent and real-time communication channel that allows a doctor to nudge their patients to take their medicine on time, and make any necessary changes to the lifestyle or medication cycle, or request a follow-up appointment. The app itself can be used for tele-consultation, the demand for which has skyrocketed in recent quarters as coronavirus forced people to stay indoors.” The company, which has raised $12 million in funding from India’s Manipal Hospitals and venture capital and investment management firm SOSV, reaches 350,000 patients, 5,000 doctors, and a staff of 100 people across Chennai and Bangalore. In this edition of #BuiltWithMongoDB, we talk with Phable’s Creative and Marketing Consultant Ganesh Chandrashekar and Engineering Manager Venkatesh Walajabad about what drives their business. MongoDB: What is the Phable product offering right now? Ganesh: We currently have two products: patient facing, and doctor facing. For patients, we give them a sense of their everyday health and handhold them through the process of understanding their first symptoms, getting prescribed a treatment plan, and recording their ongoing lifestyle changes. We help map and manage those lifestyle changes at a fundamental level, while giving them intelligent insights to help them make small tangible changes to everyday habits. We also connect them to doctors in a more real-time manner, so doctors have deep visibility into a patient’s health, and the patients can get personalized recommendations from doctors. While our focus is on preventive and personalized care, we have some value-added services that ease our users’ journey. They can order medicines from the app, schedule video consultations with doctors, and request lab tests directly. We’re building a broader health tech ecosystem where we are able to partner with the relevant companies — including some leading names in health device manufacturing, insurance companies, and medicine providers. For doctors, we’ve built a full product suite with a decision support system and EMR. So we’re able to help them digitize their practice, prioritize and process patient data, simplify clinic management and build better relationships with their patients. MongoDB: Has COVID-19 impacted product adoption or any of the features that are being used? Ganesh: Our growth has been in parallel with the pandemic over the past year. The pandemic gave a sense of urgency, and put the spotlight back on healthcare and understanding health at a more granular level. A lot of the new features we have — especially virtual doctor consultations — were developed at a breakneck speed to cater to users at home during the pandemic. MongoDB: You released the video consultations really quickly, especially given the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 in 2020. How did you approach that from the technical side? Ventkatesh: Because there were a lot of unknowns in building this, we wanted to experiment and release in certain phases so we could gather feedback and then add features on top of that. We are quite nimble at Phable as a whole: we started with consultations, moved on to an ecommerce platform, and then added wallet features. Similarly, for the video consultation product, we released in chunks — experimenting with users, analyzing their usage, and then shipping the feature more widely. MongoDB: How did the team decide to build with MongoDB? Venkatesh: The decision for MongoDB happened right from Day 1, because the team wanted to go with a MEAN [MongoDB, Express.js , AngularJS , and Node.js ] and MERN [MongoDB, Express.js, ReactJS, and Node.js] stack. Initially we used the community version, and then early last year we shifted to MongoDB Atlas. We wanted to use all the clustering capabilities and backup support, in addition to the profiling and detection of slow queries. We use a lot of those features to figure out where our bottlenecks are. We got some credits through MongoDB for Startups, but MongoDB Atlas is still on the more expensive side for us. Even though it is a little expensive, the advantages that we get from MongoDB Atlas far outweigh the cost. We use AWS for our server needs, and we have a fair bit of integration between AWS and MongoDB via VPC peering so all data is more secure, in addition to the encryption MongoDB provides. MongoDB: How is your engineering team structured? Venkatesh: There are 18 engineers on the team — and we’re trying to add more so we can launch more features and expand into new markets. Readers take note: We are hiring engineers for our India offices! MongoDB: How has scaling with MongoDB been, especially given how much you've grown during COVID_19? Venkatesh: MongoDB Atlas takes care of all the autoscaling for us. We worked closely with a consultant to figure out what minimum and maximum instances we need for our clusters, and then we rely on MongoDB to do the autoscaling. During a calmer period, MongoDB Atlas scales down perfectly well and reduces the costs; in a high-growth period, it scales up to accommodate for the traffic. We love that it automanages things so we don’t have to worry about it day to day. Because MongoDB’s features take care of most of the work, we don’t need a dedicated person to oversee this — we plan a few months ahead, and then we let MongoDB take care of the work. Looking to build something cool? Get started with the MongoDB for Startups program.

June 2, 2021
Applied

Kickstarting a Career in Sales: Introducing MongoDB's Sales Academy

I sat down with Bobby Gamble , Sales Enablement Program Lead, to learn about MongoDB’s brand new Sales Academy and why it’s a great opportunity for those looking to start their professional career. Jackie Denner: I'm excited to learn about this new program at MongoDB. Can you begin by explaining why you believe software sales is an exciting career to be in? Bobby Gamble: Software sales is on the front lines of helping customers solve their biggest business challenges with technology solutions. It’s a challenging and rewarding role that requires you to build trust with senior executives, deeply understand their goals and challenges, and be able to articulate a compelling case for change. The best software sales people are perceptive, empathetic, great listeners, articulate communicators, and enjoy working in a fast-paced environment. Furthermore, technology choices really matter. Combining the right people, processes, and technology is what gives companies their competitive advantage. As a software salesperson, your role is to partner with multiple stakeholders to help customers make intelligent, informed decisions to accelerate their business goals. JD: So, what is the Sales Academy? BG: The Sales Academy is an accelerator program to prepare those looking to kickstart an impactful sales career at MongoDB. It’s an opportunity to fast-track a path into Sales Development and start working on innovative projects taking place at household name brands. JD: What types of things will employees learn through the Sales Academy? BG: The Sales Academy is completely development-oriented, and there are two core pillars we focus on. First, we ensure that reps understand MongoDB technology and the wider technology landscape. A technical background is not required as we provide the support reps need through numerous learning programs so that they feel comfortable talking about MongoDB with customers. This includes learning about the software application stack, database fundamentals, the document data model, and our own suite of products. It is normal for reps to be apprehensive about the technology learning curve, and it is also normal for them to surprise themselves with how quickly they pick it up. I joined MongoDB as an Account Development Representative with a very limited understanding of the above concepts, but it is really fulfilling to look back at how comfortable I became with the technology after all of this training. It is knowledge I will carry with me for the rest of my career! Next, we give reps a strong foundation in sales excellence. We educate them on our sales process, how to run productive conversations with customers, and how to qualify opportunities for MongoDB. This starts with a SalesDev-specific program called Compass Week where reps learn how to generate and run effective discovery conversations. They then progress to Sales Bootcamp where they compound their knowledge and affirm their discovery skills alongside new hire Corporate Account Executives and Enterprise Account Executives. Bootcamp is where reps really solidify their readiness to execute successfully -- it’s the biggest part of a rep’s development journey that doubles down on everything they have learned so far across both the technology and sales process. Sales Bootcamp at MongoDB is an important milestone, reflected in multiple contributions from our C-Suite executives every single month. After Bootcamp, the rep continues to work through our various development programs as they grow into a Sales Development team member. This includes a group workshop series to share best practices and then a 90-day certification program to bolster their discovery armoury across our key products and services. After progressing to become a Senior team member, reps undertake a sales-wide initiative called Marco Polo, designed to help our sales org take MongoDB to market as a comprehensive cloud data platform with content to help reps engage CTO & CIO-level executives to solve their largest business challenges. This whole development path is curated to help new hires incrementally grow their impact and widen their skill set over a career-transforming first year at MongoDB. Then, when reps are ready for their next step, they undertake a role-specific upskill program ahead of the transition to ensure they can hit the ground running. We work with the leaders in each stream to provide a robust and worthwhile series of learning and practice opportunities to equip reps to thrive upon making the jump. JD: Are there any other programs and resources in place for employees in sales? BG: Yes, we are a very development-focussed organisation, and we want our own talent to grow and progress through what we call the “BDR to CRO” pathway. This is an initiative from executive sales leadership that demonstrates the investment in our people by providing a clear and transparent framework for employees to progress through the organisation. The pathways and avenues employees can explore are numerous, and “BDR to CRO” gives clarity to reps as they consider what will be best for them. JD: What opportunities are there at MongoDB for graduates of the Sales Academy? BG: Upon completion of the Sales Academy, reps will join the Sales Development team as either an Outbound (Account Development Representative) or Inbound (Sales Development Representative) rep. Outbound means partnering with your dedicated Enterprise Account Executives (EAEs) to plan and execute strategies to scale MongoDB’s footprint across your territory. Outbound reps are typically partnered with four EAEs who each report into a Regional Director and then a Regional Vice President. Reps team up with all of these stakeholders to develop and execute pipeline generation plans to grow MongoDB utilisation in both existing and new accounts across the patch. Inbound means handling leads coming in from both existing and prospective customers; qualifying and validating opportunities for sales to engage. SDRs working Inbound handle incoming queries at scale from customers anywhere across their region. As an SDR in North America for instance, you could be advising the CTO of a Silicon Valley startup in the morning and the VP Engineering of a major bank in the afternoon. SDRs aren’t mapped to a particular team of Account Executives, rather they uncover and qualify new opportunities from incoming signals of all types before sending them to the appropriate sales team to progress. Sales Development has become the springboard for a highly rewarding career at MongoDB. As an SDR or ADR, reps have the opportunity to make a big impact on the business while honing their skills to prepare them for their next career step. For many, this is an Account Executive role, but multiple progression routes exist. We’ve had Sales Development team members move into Customer Success, Marketing, Consulting or Sales Enablement, and more. JD: That's a great overview of the roles within our Sales Development team! Why is MongoDB a great place for someone to begin their sales career? BG: MongoDB is a great place to begin a career in any field, but in sales particularly, the level of investment in learning and development makes MongoDB unique. People choose MongoDB because they want to set themselves up for a great career. The company does a very good job of providing a growth-oriented environment that challenges you in the best way possible, while at the same time being a highly supportive and culture-focussed workplace where people can come to work as themselves. Last year, I benefited directly from this growth culture when I was promoted from Account Development Representative to Enablement Lead for the global Sales Development organisation. Personally and professionally, my growth while in Sales Development was substantial. I’d never seen a sales process and methodology so rigorously itemised out before. Then came the know-how and continuous learning required to deliver as an ADR with support from my manager and team mates. This meant regular, purposeful touch points to help each other better manage our stakeholders and be more effective in our processes. Sales Development at MongoDB to me means being put in a position to learn and grow. As a rep I was challenged every day to take more ownership and to think ever more strategically. Now, as part of the Sales Enablement team, I’m applying those lessons daily as I think about how to ensure every single new hire across all of our global locations is equipped to ramp and scale effectively during their time in Sales Development. Interested in a sales career at MongoDB? In addition to our Sales Academy , we have several open roles on our team and would love for you to transform your career with us!

June 2, 2021
Culture

Celebrating 10 Years of Interns: A Look Back at MongoDB's Internship Program Over the Years

This summer marks the 10 year anniversary of MongoDB’s internship program. What started as a small experiment with a few interns has grown into a programmatic machine responsible for a third of our engineering hiring. In the past 10 years, we have expanded from New York City to Austin, San Francisco, Dublin, Sydney, Copenhagen, and India. We’ve grown from only engineers, to also hiring Product Managers, Designers, Data Scientists, Marketing roles, and more. In celebration of this historic milestone, we’re taking a look back at how it all started and highlighting an intern from each graduating class along the way. The history of the program is long and winding, but the results are critical to achieve the growth that MongoDB has seen in recent years. The Beginning MongoDB’s internship program began when co-founder Eliot Horowitz, now Executive Vice President of Core Engineering Dan Pasette, now Vice President of Program Management Ian Whalen and the only recruiter on the team at the time, Stacy Ferranti, decided to hire some interns in 2011. When Ian first joined the company, he lent a helping hand to anything and everything, even when it was outside of his core job responsibilities, which led to his involvement in running our first intern program. “The startup life is about doing all of the things,” Ian said. He attended career fairs, helped schedule interviews, and matched interns with mentors. Now, we have an entire Campus Team dedicated to that! Dan Pasette, remembers being active in recruitment as well. Dan drove to universities to give talks and encouraged others to do the same at their own alma maters. “We didn’t have a lot of people dedicated to the program and we experimented with a lot of things along the way,” Dan shared. The beginning days mirrored the life of a startup. Through the years iterations were made, feedback was incorporated, and the program grew not only in size but also in quality. However, two things remained the same through my interviews with our former interns. First, MongoDB always makes sure interns work on interesting challenges. And second, the people at MongoDB genuinely care about each other. Hear from our Former Interns Who Still Work at MongoDB Randolph Tan Intern Class: 2011 University: NYU Current Title & Team: Staff Engineer, Sharding Randolph joined our inaugural intern class and has worked at MongoDB ever since. An engineer from MongoDB came to NYU to give a talk and from there, Randolph got to work on an open source project with the company as a part of a computer science club on campus.. At the end of the semester, he submitted his resume for an internship and got accepted into the program. After his internship, he decided to come back as a full-time employee. “In the beginning, I wasn’t working on an official team, but working on side projects,” Randolph remembered. He worked on a special project with Dan, and then ultimately was adopted into the Sharding team, where he is currently a Staff Engineer today. Back then, Randolph recalls a lack of structure in the program but now says “the structure today gives [an intern] the understanding of what your actual work is going to be and how you interact with the team.” Wisdom Omuya Intern Class: 2012 University: American University of Nigeria & Columbia Current Title & Team: Director of Engineering, Atlas Data Lake Wisdom first came to know MongoDB when Ian attended a career fair at his university. MongoDB ended up being Wisdom’s first and only internship, and clearly it made an impression. After his internship, he joined our New Grad rotation program. At MongoDB, New Grads have the opportunity to rotate on three teams and then choose one of them that is best suited for their skills and interests. Wisdom has remained very close to both the internship and New Grad programs throughout the years. Wisdom attributes many of his successes as now a Director of Engineering to what he learned while mentoring other MongoDB interns. “The experience helped me learn how to support people, especially those coming from a position where they might not have as much confidence in their abilities or the confidence that their skills warrant,” he shared. “Supporting interns, nurturing their talents and helping them with opportunities to thrive is quite fulfilling.” Esha Maharishi Intern Class: 2013 & 2014 University: Columbia Current Title & Team: Director of Engineering, Server Like Randolph and Wisdom, Esha learned about MongoDB when employees visited her school for a career fair. “It sounded like there would be a chance to work on a lot of interesting algorithms,” Esha recalls. She interned twice on the distributed systems team and worked on that team for 5 years after graduation. One of her favorite parts of working at MongoDB was the reading group that was held every other week. “I loved hearing the conversation and understanding more about the field. It was amazing to me that MongoDB had adopted Raft, a replication protocol that had just been published in 2013.” She continued to participate in and lead learning initiatives throughout the years, from hosting a talk on how to find good resources to keeping a shared list of books and papers with engineers’ thoughts on them. She more recently has spent time working on a more research-oriented team, where reading research papers together has been a core part of the work. “It’s still one of the best parts of the week, when we get together and figure out what parts we didn’t understand, what insights we had, and what ideas we can apply to our own work.” Kyle Suarez Intern Class: 2014 University: Rutgers Current Title & Team: Lead Software Engineer, Query Kyle began his journey with MongoDB as an intern on the Drivers Team. His intern project, Monary, was a success and he and his intern partner were invited to speak about it at the PyGotham conference in New York at the end of the summer. After finishing the internship, Kyle went through the New Grad rotation program and ultimately landed on the Query. After three years on the team, he had what he calls an "existential crisis". Unsure of his career path, he decided to leave the company and work in finance. But he couldn't stay away for long -- after a two year hiatus, one of his MongoDB intern buddies called him up and told him about a Lead Engineer opportunity on the Query Team. "I was unsure of whether or not to come back, but I was excited to hear about the company's growth. Most of all, I realized that I missed my friends at MongoDB and the friendly engineering community they had built." Kyle rejoined the company in 2021, leading a team on Query Execution. He says that working as a lead has been very satisfying. "MongoDB definitely builds lots of cool features, but this is a lot more than that. Supporting the team and helping them develop their own careers as engineers brings me a great sense of joy and fulfillment." Emily Pakulski Intern Class: 2015 University: Columbia Current Title & Team: Tech Lead, Cloud Insights & Telemetry Kyle is not the only person to have left MongoDB and come back! Emily, a HackNY fellow, interned with MongoDB in the Summer of 2015 on the Cloud Automation team. She first learned about MongoDB through a hackathon, and then discovered several of her most talented friends and Teaching Assistants joined as New Grads here. While she had a great time during her summer internship, she later attended a startup fair and became very passionate about the startup world. “I really wanted to do something mission oriented,” Emily remembers, “and that led me to go to a little, little startup.” Through this new job, Emily was able to travel to Niger (in West Africa), a highlight of her early 20s. While the experience was amazing, she began to realize that she wasn’t on track to reach her full potential by developing core technical skills. She met up with one of her former TAs who had been at MongoDB since graduating, Jonathan Balsano, and they discussed the kind of technical challenges that might be available back at MongoDB. She matched with the Cloud Backup team. “It was very obvious that MongoDB was the right fit. Everything I didn’t have at the startup, I had on the Backup team. It was interesting, backend work, focused on technical problems and much more team-oriented.” Years later, Emily now is on Jonathan’s team, and has grown to be an engineering manager herself. Marcus Todd Intern Class: 2016 & 2017 University: Carnegie Mellon Current Title & Team: Software Engineer, Realm Marcus learned about MongoDB the way many of our former interns do, recognizing our super comfortable t-shirts on campus. I met Marcus at a career fair in 2015 and he joined us for the Summer of 2016 on the Cloud Core team and the Summer of 2017 on the Drivers team. Marcus enjoyed the breadth of work available here. “Before the internship, I [assumed] everyone was going to be doing database work, but as an intern I learned [MongoDB] is way bigger than I had expected.” The decision for him to join as a New Grad was an easy one, and enjoyed the opportunity to rotate on even more teams within the company. Ultimately, Marcus landed on Stitch, which later became Realm after an acquisition. Realm feels like a startup within a startup, which has been the most exciting part of Marcus’s journey at MongoDB. “It’s funny because it’s only been three years, and we will take a look at the code base and some of it looks like ancient runes. But I remember, I may have written some of those myself.” Marcus also has been a mentor for several interns and New Grads, and enjoys the opportunity to meet unique individuals and help them grow. Tyler Kaye Intern Class: 2017 University: Princeton Current Title & Team: Software Engineer, Realm Tyler interned with Marcus in 2017, and also joined the Realm team after graduation. However, his journey is a bit different. Tyler was originally an intern on the Server team, and was working on a mobile project. “I interned on the Service Architecture team working on the POC for Embedded MongoDB, which is kind of the precursor to MongoDB Sync,” Tyler explained. “I think I get to say that my phone was the first phone to ever run MongoDB.” Tyler completed his rotations and joined the Stitch team in 2018 working on MongoDB Sync, and then a few months later Realm was acquired. Realm was based out of Copenhagen, so there was a concern that “some people in Copenhagen would have to move to New York or some people in New York to move to Copenhagen, and I went to my manager and said, I am happy to move to Copenhagen. My manager approved, and I relocated!” While living in Copenhagen, Tyler was able to travel around Europe and experience a brand new culture, while still working on the product he loved. The pandemic shortened his timeline abroad a bit, but certainly did not slow down the growth of Realm. “Four or five months ago, our team was three people and now we are eight,” Tyler told me. Both Tyler and Realm don’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. Allison Mui Intern Class: 2018 University: Carnegie Mellon Current Title & Team: Product Designer, Documentation Team Allison started her college career as a business major, but after one design course, she found her passion. She changed majors to Human Computer Interaction, and applied to our internship after learning about MongoDB in one of her data analytics classes. Much like Marcus and Tyler, she got to work on Stitch when it was still a new product. “I worked on creating a consumption dashboard for Stitch to show usage and make sure people didn’t get surprising bills,” she recalled. “It was great because I felt like I owned the project and I had my mentor to support me when I needed it.” She even got the final “LGTM” from our CTO, and felt like she was making a huge impact. Allison decided to come back to MongoDB as a Product Design New Grad on the Documentation team. Her biggest lesson? “You’re never too young to voice your thoughts and opinions,” she said. “My experience at MongoDB has been empowering for me to understand that my opinions and thoughts are unique and sets me apart from other people. People want to hear what you have to say.” Nataly Carbonell Intern Class: 2019 University: University of Florida Current Title & Team: Software Engineer, Atlas Nataly joined us as an intern during the summer of 2019. She interned on the Drivers team, and remembered that the internship really brought her out of her shell. “I consider myself introverted,” Nataly shared. “But it was very easy for me to get along with other interns. There was always something going on for us. I got to know MongoDB through the Speaker Series, which was an opportunity for leaders and executives to speak to the interns, and got to know the people through the events.” Nataly went through the New Grad rotation program, which she was grateful for to help her learn the type of work she wanted to do. “The culture throughout all the teams at MongoDB is very similar. Each team has different ways that they prefer to work and it was nice to see the various options. It was a good experience to see how teams interact and see differences in team sizes.” She now works on the Atlas team, and is enjoying the culture of the team immensely. “People on my team are always going out of their way to help one another.” Jenny Peshansky Intern Class: 2020 University: Stony Brook Current Title & Team: New Grad Software Engineer, Currently Rotating Jenny’s internship was like no one else’s on this list, as hers took place during the global COVID-19 pandemic! While she did interview in the office in the Fall of 2019, her internship took place remotely on the Server team. Despite the transition, Jenny had an incredible summer. “I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did,” she admitted. “The internship program did a really good job adapting to the unprecedented situation and was the high point of my pandemic experience. The amount of social events was really great because I was super lonely, like we all were. I was able to get to know people and the program gave me purpose.” Jenny decided to join us as a New Grad and is currently going through her rotations on various engineering teams. When talking about her decision to come back she recalled, “I’ve had my mind set on MongoDB from the beginning. The internship only further reinforced that.” We are excited to see where Jenny ends up! The Future Why has MongoDB made such a big investment in our internships? After 10 years of iterating and improving, a third of our U.S. engineers come from our Campus Programs. On top of that, our interns and New Grads stay with MongoDB to grow their careers. A fifth of our Software Engineering leadership team were former interns and New Grads. “We’ve demonstrated the benefit of having a strong pipeline of young engineers,” Dan Pasette shared. However, it doesn’t come without hard work and dedication from the business. “We’ve had really great leadership in Campus Recruiting through the years. If we didn’t have the commitment to staff it properly, there’s no way we could have been successful. We were very intentional about having a system in place and iterating on that system every year to make improvements.” 10 years of continued success is an incredible accomplishment worth celebrating, but we aren’t done yet! Our program continues to grow to 4 continents and new business units, and we are so excited for what is to come. Interested in an internship at MongoDB? Keep an eye out for our student opportunities !

May 28, 2021
Culture

Honoring Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, hear from four MongoDB employees about their own experiences and what this month means to them. Kyle Suarez , Lead Software Engineer, Query, NYC Three generations of Suarez men: Glenn, Felipe, and Kyle Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is a time for me to reflect on the strong family culture shared by many Filipinos. I want to share the story of my father and the many sacrifices he made so that my family and I can stand where we are today. In 1984, the Philippines was in turmoil, having suffered nearly two decades of rule under then-dictator Ferdinand Marcos. My father, Glenn, and his father, Felipe, traveled halfway across the world from Manila to Jersey City, NJ to start a new life. They weren't able to bring over the entire family at first, so the two Suarez men initially embarked on their journey alone. After much hard work, my dad was able to bring over his mother and his sister to America, too. He also continued his studies, graduating from St. Peter's University with a degree in computer science. Kyle's dad and grandma on a windy day in NYC In 1988, my dad was introduced by friends to a woman who had also moved from Manila to Jersey City — a woman who would eventually become my mother. While growing up, I was blessed by the love and care of my parents, who both worked while my grandparents took care of me during the day. We moved from our cramped Jersey City duplex to a house with a yard and a pool in suburban New Jersey. Compared to his humble beginnings, there was no doubt — my father was the living definition of the American dream. Our move from the city to the suburbs meant I was able to attend a much better school district. Though my parents initially encouraged me to take up medicine, I was determined to learn more about my father's profession and enrolled in computer science electives in high school. I credit my dad as the reason why I'm at MongoDB today. In 2017, I tragically lost my dad to a sudden heart complication. Losing a parent is difficult — especially when you lose them when they're still young. I credit my family's tenacity to the strong familial bonds rooted in our Filipino heritage. My father may no longer be here, but his spirit lives on in his wife and two children. I try every day to honor his sacrifices by channeling his work ethic, his selflessness, and his courage in my own role here at MongoDB. Jacqueline Ho , Sales Enablement Program Lead, NYC When I was younger, I would dream about having the stereotypical American childhood that was portrayed on TV. I felt like I missed out, but looking back, I understand how my experiences have shaped me into the person I am today. I was born and raised in New York City. My family lives in Queens, but I spent most of my childhood in Manhattan’s Chinatown. I attended a small Catholic school where my classmates and I had similar backgrounds — Chinese, immigrant parents, first generation American, and bilingual households. High school was not very different, and although the majority of the students were Asian, there was some diversity of ethnicities. Yet the immigrant family experience and the heavy emphasis on culture was still the norm for me. From both experiences, I grew to be confident and proud of my identity as a Chinese American. For college, I chose a university with limited diversity at the time. While most Asian Americans reconnect with their culture in college, I felt like my identity was tested. I struggled to connect with those like me on campus and chose to surround myself with others who didn’t look like me. It turned out to be one of the best learning experiences I’ve had. Because of my background, I wasn’t afraid to share my culture with my friends, and it was beautiful to see them listen, learn, and grow. Today, this shows in my professional life. Tech is diverse, but there still aren’t many women of color in software sales. I’m usually one of the few women and people of color in the room, but that doesn’t hold me back. As a part of Sales Enablement, I frequently work with sales leaders and executives at MongoDB, and I need to own the room. I’m not sure I would be as confident as I am if I didn’t have my experiences, and I’m thankful that my team continually helps me own my strengths. What I’m learning is the importance of owning and sharing your story because it builds confidence in yourself, and it will show in all aspects of your life. For AAPI Heritage Month, I’m thankful that MongoDB uplifts the community by providing a platform for us to do exactly that. Puneeth Bikkumanla , Software Engineer, Atlas Search, San Francisco When you talk to most Asian Americans about their story and how they came to the U.S., many of them follow a similar pattern of immigrating here at some point during their schooling, but my story is different. I was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida and went to a school where I was one of two Indians. That doesn’t mean that I wasn’t in touch with my heritage. I remember travelling to India every summer, going to the temple for festivals, and having a close group of South Indian friends growing up. What I wasn’t prepared for was my parents’ decision to move to Hyderabad, India when I was in 7th grade. At the time, it felt like the world was crashing down on me. I was scared to leave my whole life behind and start anew in a country halfway across the world. However, looking back, it was one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I met so many different people and was able to really connect with my Indian heritage. After high school, I attended the University of Maryland and got a degree in Computer Science. Coming back was a bigger culture shock than I imagined it would be. I always assumed that I would assimilate back into the U.S. pretty quickly, but realized that the time spent in India made me a very different person. Reflecting on these two big transitions made me realize that an immigrant’s identity often oscillates between that of their heritages culture and the current culture in which they live. Balancing the two is harder than I thought. I believe that I, like many others, live somewhere in between where we would not classify ourselves as fully American, but not fully Indian either. To me, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is a time to recognize and celebrate immigrants who seamlessly transition the boundaries between both cultures and form their own unique identity. When it comes to my career, it was in college that I really began to appreciate computer science. I love how practical and self-sufficient it is, and how you do not need to depend on anyone else to create something from nothing. Currently, I work on the Atlas Search team building the best full text search solution for MongoDB. I interned here in the summer of 2019 and decided to return full-time in early 2020. Looking back, I believe I have grown tremendously as a professional and as an engineer. A lot of that can be attributed to my managers past and present, as well as my team. What I like most is the strong focus on writing good code and getting things done right versus fast. I also like that we are working in a unique problem space (Information Retrieval) with non-trivial problems. Josephine Lee , Enterprise Account Executive, San Francisco Josephine and her grandfather I come from a long history of immigrants to the U.S. from Korea, and their life stories have shaped the person I am today. One of my favorite stories is about how my grandfather got his start as a chef. My great-grandfather passed away when my grandfather was only 18 years old. After his passing, my grandfather gave up his dream of art school, got married, and decided to look for a job at a nearby U.S. Army base. When he arrived, someone mistook him for the cook starting that day. They asked him to make a hamburger, and he didn’t know what that was. He threw a bunch of butter on the grill and the rest is history - he became a cook for the U.S. Army and would later open Korean restaurants in California. As I get older, my interest in my Korean heritage grows. This spring, I started reading the book Pachinko by Korean-American author Min Jin Lee. It follows a few young Koreans’ lives during Japan’s occupation of Korea. I find myself searching every line for my grandparents — in the fields, at the docks, between market stalls. I get excited to see Korea as they might have seen it, but also anxious I might miss a description. I treat each page as if it were their autobiographies. Reading this book has given me hope that I might understand them more by understanding the Korea they grew up in. There is also the small hope that by understanding them, I might better understand who I am and who I want to be, even now, in adulthood. Josephine and her siblings In terms of my career, I have a debt of gratitude to my grandparents. When I was 22 years old, I decided to pursue an internship in San Francisco. My grandparents opened their home to me and insisted on packing me lunch every day. Their support allowed me to start my career in software sales in San Francisco, and their own story of hard work and sacrifice is a legacy I feel compelled to carry in my work, especially in my current role at MongoDB. Interested in pursuing a career at MongoDB? We have several open roles on our teams across the globe and would love for you to transform your career with us!

May 28, 2021
Culture

Application Modernization with gravity9 And MongoDB Atlas: How Digital Decoupling Supports the Customer Offering

The goal of most organizations is pretty clear: to improve customer offerings and become more operationally efficient, streamlined and profitable. But is it possible for organizations to excel in an agile fashion when they are reliant upon legacy systems? It’s the age-old dilemma between risk and innovation. How can you mitigate the former while accelerating the latter? Nearly all organizations operate with some type of legacy system in place that, often, is central to the operation of the business or the customer offering—i.e., one that would be highly costly and disruptive to move away from. To solve this predicament, the process of digital decoupling enables organizations to detach incrementally from legacy systems while acknowledging the critical role they often play. In this blog, we’ll further explore the value of digital decoupling as well as introduce how gravity9 with MongoDB Atlas delivers the smoothest transition possible. Why Not Simply Upgrade? Digital decoupling is not a “big-bang” upgrade where one system is fully replaced by another overnight; rather, it allows for the continued existence of your legacy system as part of your digital architecture while simultaneously unlocking innovation. But why not simply upgrade? Isn’t “out with the old and in with the new” the faster route to take? Not always. When a big-bang upgrade focuses on the replacement of a legacy system that is central to a customer offering or business operations, it becomes a much more complex, risky, and time-intensive undertaking. Often, many months or years can pass before any value is delivered to customers. But while your organization is focusing time and effort on a long-term, large-scale system replacement initiative, your customers’ needs will be changing and your competitors will be continuing to innovate. Once your new system is finally ready to be deployed to the marketplace, there’s a good chance it may already be rendered obsolete. Digital decoupling offers a faster, less risky, and more flexible alternative. The legacy system is maintained as the core of your business, but strategic portions are exposed through modern microservices to allow for the rapid creation of new digital products and offerings. The organization can utilize new, modern technologies to maintain the functionality of the legacy system while building a more advanced, digital architecture around it. By maintaining the existing legacy system, the organization significantly reduces disruption and risk while unlocking the ability to innovate new products on a rapid timescale. How it Works Applying a digital decoupling approach makes quickly innovating new digital products and services on top of your data possible by way of microservices and an event-driven architecture. Microservice Architecture after Digital Decoupling By utilizing event-driven architecture, individual systems and capabilities can be built as fully scalable microservices each with their own database, allowing solutions to be built around each microservice that can be combined to provide limitless additional capabilities and services for customers in a rapid and agile fashion. Digital decoupling creates a customer experience delivered via a modern, feature-rich UI or website that is intuitive, user friendly and continuously evolving, while the legacy system still operates behind the scenes. After years of working with large organizations, the solutions architects at gravity9 have a deep understanding of event-driven architecture as a solution to digital decoupling. Our adherence to domain-driven design is in our DNA , it is how we build solutions and is core to the way we work….We build event-driven microservices on top of monolithic legacy architecture. Noel Ady, gravity9 Founding Partner. By utilizing domain-driven design, system actions are communicated or triggered by way of an event, with colloquialized messages sent between the legacy application and the new architecture via a bus. An adaptor is created to sit in front of the legacy system and speak to your “new IT” in the language of events. This adaptor looks at the data in your legacy system and raises events when changes occur, then optionally writes back changes raised by other systems, allowing your legacy system to participate in the event-driven architecture. The use of APIs ensures the traffic is two-way and non-intrusive to the legacy application so that it can continue to operate as expected. One of the key technology concerns related to adaptors for legacy systems is the concept of a “delta store.” Events in an event-driven architecture should contain the context for the event, often including the previous value, to help receiving systems properly respond to the event. In more modern systems it’s possible to get this data from webhooks or similar alternatives, but these mechanisms won’t exist in older legacy systems so a different approach via a delta store is needed. A delta store will contain the history of changes on a value (the ‘deltas’) to allow the adaptor to properly construct the event context and to ensure that events are only raised for true changes in values. Why MongoDB? MongoDB’s flexible data schema makes it an excellent implementation technology for a delta store, allowing a dynamic mechanism that can flex to new data and event types on demand. gravity9 partners with MongoDB Atlas, MongoDB’s multi-cloud, secure and flexible database service, as an integral technology enabler of digital decoupling to increase flexibility of the resulting architecture. Importantly, Atlas also enhances reliability for mission-critical production databases with continuous backups and point-in-time recovery. It’s secure for sensitive data and automates key processes like infrastructure provisioning, setup and deployment so teams can access the database resources they need, when they need them. Best of all, MongoDB’s features and benefits help free up developer time so they can focus their talent on more innovative tasks. What Should I do Next? The logic is just as important as the physical in digital decoupling when it comes to modelling your events. Utilizing best-practice, domain-driven design alongside a proven approach is the key to success. Together, gravity9 and MongoDB have replicated this success time and time again, enabling organizations to lay the foundations for newer more modern architecture without the disruption of removing their legacy systems. Interested in learning more about MongoDB’s Modernization Program? Contact us today!

May 27, 2021
Developer

Built With MongoDB: Milky Way AI

Sagar Setu received his PhD in helicopter flight dynamics and has a fascination with deep learning and integration within the field of aerospace. However, helicopter flight dynamics is not what Sagar is involved in today. Through Entrepreneur First , an international program that helps entrepreneurs launch companies, Sagar met Eunice Wong , a fellow aspiring entrepreneur, who introduced Sagar to the world of retail, which he calls a “fantastic playground” for any engineer to be involved in. The pair founded Milky Way AI, with Wong as CEO and Sagar as CTO. Milky Way AI is designed to empower the largest retailers and brands globally with real-time visibility into how their products and their competitors’ products are being merchandised across thousands of stores. In this edition of #BuiltWithMongoDB, we chat with Sagar about the ways Milky Way AI creates opportunities for retailers, his favorite MongoDB features, and how the competitive AI industry keeps him motivated. MongoDB: What does the product look like now, and how does it work? Sagar: Our flagship product is called InstaShelf. It’s a mobile app that we put in the hands of distributors and merchandisers. When there is a person stocking the shelves and we put the app in the hands of that person, they are able to snap a photo, which then goes through our proprietary computer vision engine. This generates a variety of insights that are valuable for both the distributor and the brands. We are looking into how we can share this same data with and make it equally valuable to the retailers. We developed this product over the last year and launched our beta three months ago. Since then we have gotten quite good traction in terms of users in a number of countries that are deploying the product. MongoDB: Let's talk about that traction. How far along are you? Sagar: We started in January with a 15-store pilot for Kelloggs in Singapore. We have deployed across 150 stores now, and we are set to deploy across a few hundred more in Malaysia and the Philippines. By the end of next year, we hope to be in three more countries — just with Kelloggs. The typical number of users for each of our pilots is around 15 to 20 merchandisers visiting between 50 and 60 stores. In a typical audit, the user takes 10 to 15 photographs and our AI identifies what's on the shelf from these pictures, reporting on key metrics such as a brand’s share of shelf compared with a competitor brand, products that are out of stock, product placement compliance, and so forth. MongoDB: What does your tech stack consist of? Sagar: The web and mobile components of our solution are built using MongoDB, React Native, React, Node.js, and Python Flask. The computer vision pipeline is built on both TensorFlow and Pytorch. We use MongoDB for all our database requirements — transactional and analytical. Our top criteria for choosing the tech stack were proven scalability and stability, and a wide developer pool. It was important in the early stages to keep the team lean and the product flexible, and the choice of MongoDB Atlas turned out to be a great one. The support for being schemaless was crucial in allowing us to stay nimble as we learned the nitty-gritty of the domain. With features such as triggers and BI Connector, we could orchestrate various components of the solution right from the Atlas GUI, saving us hundreds of working hours. MongoDB: What are some of your favorite features in MongoDB? Sagar: My favorite feature is the support with autoscaling, which is the primary concern if you’re building anything into production. I’ve never had to worry about that. I don’t even think about it; I have just turned the features on, and it allows so much creativity. With MongoDB Atlas, I have peace of mind. MongoDB: What is something that you are learning right now? Sagar: Learning is a constant, working in the field of AI. A wonderful plus point is you always have so much competition: there might be a paper tomorrow that basically undoes everything you’ve done — something comes out that is far superior to the method you just took two months to deploy. So I’m always reading, learning, and trying to improve our solutions. MongoDB: What’s one of your favorite books? Sagar: The Selfish Gene . It’s not exactly technical, but more on the scientific side. That’s more of my kind of read. I really like the thought process the book instills in you. It gives you an understanding of the world — the good, the bad, and learning not to take things personally. Looking to build something cool? Get started with the MongoDB for Startups program.

May 26, 2021
Applied

Why I Wrote the New MongoDB Aggregations Book

In early May 2021, I published my book, Practical MongoDB Aggregations, which I released electronically and free for anyone to read . I love the MongoDB database and the uniqueness and power of its aggregation framework to analyse and manipulate massive amounts of data intuitively and efficiently. The opportunity to share this passion with others spurred me to write the book, with which I aim to support developers, architects, data analysts, data engineers, and data scientists to better understand how to maximise their productivity and effectiveness when building aggregation pipelines, as well as how to optimise these pipelines. Like many people over the past year during the pandemic, I’ve struggled to keep myself occupied when not busy doing my day job. Hence, my book was born not just from a desire to improve people’s knowledge but as my pandemic project, written over many weekends, to stave off the boredom. I believe aggregation pipelines provide a powerful domain-specific language for data processing in a way I’ve not seen before in other data-oriented tools, languages, or standards. SQL is a good data query language that caters to some analytical use cases via “group-by/having” statements. However, it typically has to be paired with a procedural language (e.g., Oracle’s PL/SQL ) to encompass an ordered set of complex data transformation rules. In the big data world of Hadoop , I find the MapReduce approach is too complex to develop with efficiently. Higher-level tools like Spark help alleviate some of this. However, by the necessity of still having to be general-purpose and versatile, the amount of Spark code required to process data sitting in any type of database is still too high for my liking. Many ETL tools provide proprietary data transformation capabilities, but these have to cater to the lowest common denominator capabilities across all the different types of databases they interact with. For these reasons and from experience, I consider MongoDB Aggregations to be the best tool for processing large data sets because it combines performance with productivity. Nevertheless, I sense the aggregation framework is shrouded in mystery for many people, hence my desire to demystify it with this book. I believe I identified a knowledge gap that many users wanted to be filled. MongoDB Inc. provides excellent reference documentation about aggregations in the MongoDB Manual , and MongoDB University provides a tremendous free online training course on aggregations . What I felt was still to be addressed was an opinionated yet informed perspective on how best to assemble aggregation pipelines from the well-documented parts—something that points the way to achieve optimal productivity and performance, accompanied by fully formed example pipelines to help put these approaches into practice. I hope readers of my book will learn some new things of value and enjoy reading it. A good test of the relevance of my book, in time, will be if people come back to it repeatedly as they continue with their journey of developing aggregations. Read the book for free now!

May 25, 2021
Developer

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