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MongoDB at AWS re:Invent 2020
While 2020 has been a challenging year, it has also given rise to new levels of innovative collaboration and agile thinking. Where better to experience both than at AWS re:Invent 2020? At MongoDB, we’re excited to partner with AWS on this free, 3-week virtual event, providing unlimited access to hundreds of sessions led by Cloud experts. Although we’ll miss the grand, buzzing halls of the Venetian Hotel and the celebratory sounds of slot machines this year, it’s still important to approach AWS re:Invent with a focused plan. Think of this year’s event as an opportunity to curate your own perfectly tailored experience. Check out this page for details of our fresh new lineup of deep-dives, targeted jam sessions and — of course — the annual MongoDB late-night party. Here are some of the highlights. AWS Jam — "Excel isn't a database!" Imagine this: It's your first week in a new job, and the VP of sales has already given you an important data task. The good news? From the start of the year, all your current sales data has been stored in MongoDB Atlas — allowing operational and analytical workloads to run on the live data set. The not-so-good news? That wasn't always the case. For years before they switched, their database (well, ”database”) of choice was… Excel. Fortunately someone took the initiative to export that data in CSV format and store it in S3, but now the sales team needs your help to analyze that data — and they need it fast. In our “Excel isn’t a database!” Jam Session, you’ll test and upgrade your skills by connecting MongoDB Atlas Data Lake to CSV data that’s been languishing in an S3 bucket. Then you’ll run an aggregation to complete the challenge and claim points. Game on! This jam session will be available on-demand for the duration of AWS re:Invent Databases & S3: Auto-archiving Breakout Session Databases are built for fast access, but this can also make them resource-intensive. As data grows, you may want to optimize performance (or cost) by migrating old or infrequently used data into cheap object storage. But this presents its own problems: automating the archival process, ensuring data consistency during failures, and either querying two data stores separately or building a query federation system. In this talk, you’ll learn about how we approached these problems while building Online Archive and Federated Query features into MongoDB Atlas, lessons learned from the experience, and how you can do the same. MongoDB Late Nite That’s right: it’s a party! In the spirit of Vegas, MongoDB will be hosting an interactive late-night bash complete with throw-back entertainment at our virtual after-hours event. Like Vegas, there’s something for everyone. Unlike Vegas, the odds are actually on your side. Get your adrenaline going and dial in for exclusive swag at our Home Shopping Network. Just sign on and dial into our custom QVC-reboot every hour for a chance to snag some really cool limited-release items. Stay tuned to the event website to find out what you can win, and when! Are you a Jeopardy lover? MongoDB Late Nite is your time to shine. Exercise your mental reflexes and get those synapses firing with hundreds of other party people inside episodes of dev-focused live trivia. And what kind of revelry is complete without a resident psychic on board? Join us at the Future of Coding for an interactive reading by a VERY accurate psychic. So kick back, grab a beverage and join us at the party from home. Let’s get in the spirit together! Sponsor Page/Online Booth Pop into our virtual sponsor booth at your convenience. Our product experts will be there to answer your questions one-on-one. Alternatively, if casually exploring resources is more your style, check out our self-serve content playlists. View these to dig deeper into MongoDB education, glean customer success stories and get up to speed on the latest product features.
From Executive Assistant To Cybersecurity Specialist, MongoDB Employee Shares Her Career Growth Story And Guide To Online Personal Safety
Editor's note: This was originally published on AfroTech’s website. It’s never too late to reinvent your career or make a pivot into the technology field. Just ask Dawn Charles, Business Support Specialist at MongoDB. Charles worked as a personal trainer for 12 years before she took an executive assistant position that eventually led to a career in cybersecurity. MongoDB is a database platform that provides the back-end infrastructure used by many popular apps, including the online game Fortnite. It’s an attractive option for tech professionals all over the world, including Black tech professionals who are looking to elevate their career. Charles spoke with AfroTech to share her experience working for MongoDB as a Black tech professional, gave advice on individuals looking to make a career switch and provided tips on how to keep your personal cybersecurity measures up-to-date. How Dawn Charles Made a Career Pivot Charles started working for MongoDB five years ago and has been a crucial part of the success of many departments at the company. When she first joined the company, she was a recent cancer survivor and knew she wanted a job that could provide financial security. MongoDB fulfilled both requirements, and although it was her first time joining a larger company compared to previous employers, she was able to become involved with many teams, including the developer relations, solutions architecture, sales, and product marketing functions. As a Business Support Specialist, she now works in the global security department and supports the Chief Information Security Officer. Charles aides with special assignments, manages the security brand and works as a liaison for global teams to guarantee their “personal security is aligned and secure.” “Initially, I started at MongoDB as an EA [executive assistant] to two sales leaders,” says Charles. “Everything revolved around making quotas and performance of the sales teams. I would volunteer to get involved with other team projects, one being our sales bootcamp, which was a very small program then.” “I offered to help in things that interested me, not necessarily looking for a change, but just to explore new things and make my day to day more interesting” Charles adds. “It adds to your workload, but gives you insight to what other roles might entail, and also proves that you are up for the task before even making a change.” Over the last five years, Charles’ exposure to new areas of the company contributed to her versatility, and she still has large goals she’d like to see come to fruition. Charles suggests that those who are looking to switch roles should shadow someone in the role they’re pursuing, and get as much insight as possible. “In all of my career I have always been very social, building great relationships with people I have worked alongside on different projects.” Charles adds. “Having this has enabled me to have access to amazing people who are always willing to provide advice and support.” Which has led to having many champions on her side who believe in her. When it comes to working for MongoDB as Black woman in particular, Charles describes it as being “great and interesting.” As a UK native, she says it’s been amazing because she has the opportunity to work with a diverse group of people, not just from the U.S, but from all over the world. Her experience helps her realize that she is her own biggest advocate, which means she learns to not only speak up for herself, but to also speak up if she comes across something that is not “fair or just.” The Importance of Online Safety Since MongoDB is a database company, cybersecurity plays a huge role in guaranteeing that their customers and the company are protected. Charles believes that online safety is just as important as everyday security measures, such as locking your doors and cars, which is standard. “Our whole lives and all of our personal information are online, but security is an afterthought for many,” says Charles. Below are a few key steps Charles believes are necessary to keep yourself safe online. Secure your home's WiFi connection Make sure your phone and computer OS are up-to-date along with specific apps. Enable an auto update feature so that you don't have to remember. Use multi-factor authentication (MFA) and password managers. Use MFA to mitigate risk of password loss. Create passphrases instead of passwords e.g. DawnLikesSmoothies9492! Make sure nothing personal that people can search about you like your animal name or the year you were born. Use a password manager Avoid password reuse since hackers use breached credentials (e.g, credential stuffing). Sign up for 1Password for your one stop site to store all of your passwords. Email is the most important asset to secure Email provides access to all your accounts via password resets. Protect your email! Once again use MFA and a secure pin on your phone. Use biometrics if available. Considering her effort and dedication to ensure safety for all based on these tips, Charles said that she is “proud and incredibly lucky to work at MongoDB.” “Our work environment and culture is amazing and we are encouraged to actually have fun in what we do,” Charles says. “I truly enjoy the people I work with and have made some amazing connections that will last a lifetime. MongoDB continues to grow, and we are always welcoming new people to the team.” One of the MongoDB core values is to “Think Big, Go Far.” If this is a motto you can see yourself working by, explore current job opportunities on their career page . Join MongoDB in supporting organizations fighting for racial justice and equal opportunity. Donate to our fund by December 31, 2020 and MongoDB will match the donation up to a maximum aggregate amount of $250,000. Learn more here .
Splitit & MongoDB Atlas: Racing to Capture a Global Opportunity
Splitit is a global payment solution that allows businesses to offer installment plans for their customers. Unlike with other buy now, pay later (BNPL) solutions, Splitit shoppers can split their online purchases into monthly installments by using their existing credit, without the need for registration, application, or approval. “We have a very different proposition than others in this space,” says Splitit’s CTO, Ran Landau. “We’re not a financing company. We utilize the customer’s existing credit card arrangement, which allows us to accommodate smaller average deal values and a broader range of installment schedules.” Splitit works with online retailers across all market sectors and diverse price points, and recently raised $71.5 million in investment to fund global expansion. Following its IPO in January 2019, the business had seen strong growth as more consumers moved from brick and mortar to ecommerce. Then COVID-19 hit, and online shopping boomed. Landau recognized that the company needed to quickly scale its infrastructure in order to capture this large opportunity. The Need for Speed Landau joined Splitit in May 2019 and worked to modernize the company’s infrastructure. At the time, the team was using a traditional relational database. “As tech leaders, we need to make the right decision,” he says. “When I came to Splitit, I knew I needed a powerful NoSQL server so that my developers could develop faster and so that we could scale – both things that our relational databases were failing to deliver.” In the interest of getting up and running quickly, Ran’s team thought that they could move faster using a cloud-provider database that mimicked MongoDB functionality. He had used MongoDB before and saw that this solution offered the same drivers he was familiar with and claimed compatibility with MongoDB 3.6. Initially, the new solution seemed fine. But as the team started to migrate more data into the database, however, Landau noticed a few missing features. Scripts for moving documents from one collection to another were failing, and overall performance was deteriorating. The application became slow and unresponsive even though the load on the database was normal. “We were having issues with small things, like renaming collections. I couldn’t search or navigate through documents easily,” recalls Landau. Offline Database: A Breaking Point Then one day, the application was unable to communicate with the database for 20 minutes, and when the database finally came back online, something wasn’t right. Landau contacted support, but the experience was not very helpful. “We were not pleased with the response from the database vendor,” he explains. “They insisted that the issue was on our side. It wasn’t so collaborative.” Fortunately, he had taken a snapshot of the data so Splitit was able to revert back to an earlier point in time. But the incident was troubling. Other teams also had been complaining about how difficult it was to debug problems and connect to the database successfully. Landau knew he needed to find a better solution as soon as possible. MongoDB Atlas: A Reliable, Scalable Solution Landau believed that MongoDB was still the right choice for Splitit, and investigated whether the company offered a cloud solution. He discovered MongoDB Atlas and decided to give it a try. “The migration to MongoDB Atlas was so simple. I exported whatever data I had, then imported it into the new cluster. I changed the connection strings and set up VPC peering in all of my environments,” says Landau. “It was incredibly easy.” Not only was MongoDB Atlas built on actual MongoDB database software, but it was also secure, easy to use, and offered valuable features such as Performance Advisor . “It can tell you which indexes need to be built to increase speed. It’s such a powerful tool — you don’t need to think; it analyzes everything for you,” explains Landau. Another great feature was auto-scaling. “My biggest concern as I scale is that things keep working. I don’t have to stop, evaluate, and maintain the components in my system,” says Landau. “If we go back to doing database operations, we can’t build new features to grow the business.” Auto-archival Made Easy with Online Archive As a business in the financial services industry, Splitit needs to comply with various regulations, including PCI DSS . A key requirement is logging every transaction and storing it for auditing purposes. For Splitit, that adds up to millions of logs per day. Landau knew that storing this data in the operational database was not a cost-effective, long-term solution, so he initially used an AWS Lambda function to move batches of logs older than 30 days from one collection to another periodically. A few months ago, he discovered Online Archive , a new feature released at MongoDB.live in June 2020. With it, Landau was able to define a simple rule for archiving data from a cluster into a more cost-effective storage layer and let Atlas automatically handle the data movement. “The gem of our transition to Atlas was finding Online Archive,” says Landau. “There’s no scripting involved and I don’t have to worry about my aging data. I can store years of logs and know that it’s always available if I need it.” Online Archive gives me the flexibility to store all of my data without incurring high costs, and feel safe that I won't lose it. It's the perfect solution. Ran Landau, CTO, Splitit With federated queries, the team can also easily analyze the data stored in both the cluster and the Online Archive for a variety of use cases. Ready for Hypergrowth and Beyond Looking back, Landau admits that he learned his lesson. In trying to move quickly, he selected a solution that appeared to work like MongoDB, but ultimately paid the price in reliability, features, and scalability. You wouldn't buy a fake shirt. You wouldn't buy fake shoes. Why buy a fake database? MongoDB Atlas is the real thing. Ran Landau, CTO, Splitit Landau is confident that his investment in MongoDB puts in place a core building block for the business’ continued success. With a fully managed solution, his team can focus on building features that differentiate Splitit from competitors to capture more of the market. “We saw our growth triple in March due to COVID-19, but the sector as a whole is expanding,” he says. “Our technology is patent protected. Everything we build moving forward will be on MongoDB. As a company that’s scaling rapidly, the most important thing is not having to worry about my scaling. MongoDB Atlas takes care of everything.”
Built with MongoDB: Sunsama
My co-founder Travis Meyer and I were both one year into our careers when it hit us that we would spend the next 40 years using tools such as Google Calendar and Microsoft Outlook to map out our time. That felt unacceptable. We wanted to build a productivity tool that’s more thoughtful and intentional so we can live a life that’s more thoughtful and intentional . That’s when we started working on Sunsama. Ashutosh Priyadarshy, Co-Founder, Sunsama Ashutosh Priyadarshy , founder of Sunsama , and I first met in 2017. At that time, he was building a meeting documentation tool. He soon saw significant churn and realized that users didn’t love the product, so Sunsama pivoted. Today, Sunsama is a Y Combinator-backed, invite-only daily task manager for busy professionals. Ashutosh says that in conversations with thousands of users, Sunsama found that people know what’s on their calendar, but also want to know how to think about their workday—how to answer the key question “what am I going to do today?” Sunsama gives users the ability to combine all tasks, meetings, to-dos, and JIRA tickets in a prioritized calendar, enabling professionals to be more mindful of how they spend their time. In this issue of #BuiltWithMongoDB, Ashutosh and I discuss his journey building Sunsama (including the pivots and successful fundraising) and how his team uses MongoDB to operate more efficiently. Siya Raj Purohit: How big is Sunsama now? Ashutosh Priyadarshy: We’re a team of five serving 2,000 active users. We graduated from YC in March 2019 and have since raised $2.4 million in seed money, were featured in TechCrunch and Cheddar, and were voted “Hot Product of the Month” on ProductHunt (read: Sunsama: If Trello & Google Calendar Had a Baby)” ). We’re growing 10 to 15% per month but generally limiting growth via invitations to ensure optimal user experience. SRP: Why is Sunsama #BuiltWithMongoDB? AP: We first decided to use MongoDB because a framework we wanted to use (Meteor) was tightly coupled with MongoDB. Our product doesn’t require all of the complexity of other database solutions, and MongoDB felt like a simple way to get started. Initially, we deployed MongoDB on AWS ourselves. But we’re a tiny team of five people, and it was time-consuming to manage DevOps. Upgrading to MongoDB Atlas was an easy decision because we would rather spend slightly more money and have zero headaches so we can spend all of our time building for customers instead of building for internal tooling and DevOps. As a young team, you just can’t afford to dedicate resources to second-order issues, so outsourcing to MongoDB Atlas made complete sense. Two or three years ago, we noticed that the MongoDB Atlas ecosystem was maturing beyond other tools out there: MongoDB added search, monitoring, and security features that were easy to set up. The timing was great: we were going through an audit with Google for getting our team integration approved, and Google looked at the entire surface area of the security app. Being able to plug and play—setting up the right type of encryption by just pressing a button—was really nice. We grew into MongoDB’s suite of products, and once we committed, we didn’t want to leave. SRP: What MongoDB services do you use? AP: We previously managed our own MongoDB deployment on Amazon EC2, and it was so much overhead. Our customers just wanted the product to work; they didn’t care about how our MongoDB instance was deployed. Thanks to MongoDB Atlas, we can focus on building things customers care about instead of maintaining our database. MongoDB is also moving in a direction we’re excited about that will provide direct value to our customers, especially with MongoDB 4.2 and the ability to run Elasticsearch queries directly in MongoDB. This means we can further simplify our stack and remove expensive Elasticsearch deployments that we’ve got in AWS and use the simple and clean alternatives MongoDB provides. Want to learn more about Sunsama? Request access here. Building something cool with MongoDB? Check out our developer resources , and let us know if you want your startup to be featured in our #BuiltWithMongoDB series.
Engineering for Engineers: How MongoDB’s Culture Enables Engineers to Be Their Very Best
As a leading technology company disrupting the fast-growing database market, MongoDB offers a unique opportunity for ambitious engineers. Here, we’re engineers for engineers, breaking down barriers to entry and enabling all developers — from a teen dabbling in app development to a team lead working at a massive enterprise — to have the tools needed to make their big ideas happen. As an engineer on our team, you have the freedom to solve pain points you’ve likely experienced throughout your career. You also have the freedom to test boundaries and innovate. Curious to know more? Our engineers weigh in. Here’s what to expect when you join our team. Beyond the Database Our goal is to solve interesting problems and empower engineers to see their ideas come to life. We may be in the business of databases, but we’re not limited to it. Dan Pasette, Executive Vice President (EVP) of Core Engineering, shares how engineers at MongoDB can touch all aspects of technology. “Data and databases are at the heart of just about every software application. Thus, engineers at MongoDB are exposed to every sort of application, platform, hardware, use case, language, and technology under the sun,” he explains. “We’re not just a database company. We do systems engineering, web apps, library design (in 12 different languages), desktop applications, and distributed cloud applications, to name a few.” The variety of problems we solve and the technologies we use keep things fresh for our engineers, giving them flexibility to innovate beyond databases and without limitations. A Culture of Innovation and Inclusion All engineers, from interns to leadership, have the opportunity to make an impact . With a learning environment in place, you’re encouraged to pursue your ideas, even if they fail. We look for tenacious people who can put their ideas into motion, learn, and iterate. It’s only through this we can find the best ways to support our customers in this ever-changing landscape. Dan talks about how our culture allows engineers to take ownership and grow their careers. “We have developed an incredibly nurturing environment for engineers based on pushing responsibility to individual engineers and providing mentorship and support for engineers at every stage of their career,” he says. “This allows new engineers to grow very quickly and experienced engineers to wield a high degree of independence and agency.” We leave our egos at the door, and everyone comes together to support our core mission. As a member of our team, you’ll work alongside talented people who are eager to share their knowledge and are willing to roll up their sleeves and help. We don’t focus on titles, tenure, or career level. Instead, we believe everyone has something worthwhile to bring to the table and welcome you to voice your thoughts. Maria van Keulen , Product Manager and prior Senior Software Engineer, shares more about how she’s empowered to innovate, both in the products she works with and how she manages her career. “MongoDB provides me with opportunities to undertake projects I’m proud of and passionate about, solve interesting problems, and build exciting technologies,” she says. “I’m grateful for MongoDB and the successes I’m encouraged to pursue here: I have spoken at a conference, mentored interns, and led a nine-month-long project from concept to completion. Also, I recently transitioned into Product Management, after four years as a software engineer.” When leading projects, she continues, “I start by defining a clear and compelling vision to serve as a foundation. As the project progresses, I always strive to find a balance between what is necessary for me to do and what can be delegated, empowering those around me while we work toward our end goal. I have been able to work with and learn from so many bright and talented people with a shared passion and motivation for the company’s success. I look forward to applying these learnings and more while helping to shape MongoDB’s future.” Maria adds that she also is involved in a few groups at MongoDB — “One of which,” she says, “being our Underrepresented Genders in Tech (UGT) group. UGT is a group for people of underrepresented genders in technical roles who provide a network and resources for growing professionally and personally. In addition to being a valuable forum for fostering the growth of our members, UGT enacts positive change to make MongoDB an even more welcoming, collaborative place to work.” Judah Schvimer, Director of Engineering for Server Replication and Security, reflects on his experience working at MongoDB. “From the beginning, one thing I have loved about MongoDB is the amount of impact engineers can make from an early stage in their career,” he says. “MongoDB encourages junior engineers to provide feedback on complicated and impactful designs. The organization encourages the most junior engineers to ask the most senior engineers questions when they’re stuck. When I first started, I sat in the same row as one of the company’s first employees. I was amazed that someone who, to me, had so much more important work to do would take time to help me grow. I now realize that there’s little that’s more important to MongoDB than the growth of its engineers.” Mark Porter, our CTO, shares how our culture helps engineers produce their best work. “In my short time at MongoDB, I’ve been delighted to see one of the most engineer-empowered cultures I’ve witnessed in my career. Our engineering process is just rigorous enough to produce great products, but not bloated at all — and we get rid of unnecessary approvals, meetings, and processes regularly,” he explains. “We encourage every engineer to have flow time where they can do deep work, including ‘no-meeting days’ every week. We hold everybody accountable for teaching others, doing code reviews, and writing great tests, all without additional process or micromanagement to enforce this accountability,” he continues. “In our product planning process, the business teams give context on what they think the market needs and then let the Engineering and Product teams have the freedom to come up with the right solution to meet that need. It’s a great engineering organization, and all MongoDB engineers do their part to keep it that way.” Culture is everything here and contributes to the success of our engineers. We’re all about creating a respectful, energizing, and inclusive workplace where every employee can thrive. Pride in Our Products No matter how big or small your contribution, as an engineer at MongoDB you’re making a real difference for our customers. They’re at the heart of everything we do, and we’re obsessed with helping them be stunningly successful Ronnen Miller, SVP of Technical Services Engineering, touches on our commitment to customers. “We are all very focused on customer requirements and customer success,” he says. “Our attention to practical, ‘real world’ customer experience runs deep, right into the product roadmap itself, but it’s also represented in the decisions we make every day. Our commitment to serving our customers informs how we recruit, train, and organize our worldwide team, and how we develop processes and systems that enable the team to deliver on our commitment. We measure our own success by how well our customers succeed in reaching their goals.” James Wahlin, Database Query Optimization Lead, also talks about how his experience in different roles has allowed him to get a better understanding of our products. This insight helps him consider the best ways to make improvements. “I’ve been at MongoDB for eight years, starting off as a Technical Services Engineer and then moving to a full-time software engineering role on the Server team,” he says. “Working in Technical Services allowed me to help make our customers successful while learning about the strengths and weaknesses of our product. As a Server Engineer, I could then take that knowledge and use it toward improving our database. It’s important to me that any role I am in provides the opportunity to evolve our software and to help me grow as an engineer and leader.” Dan Pasette believes our Engineering team’s strengths come from its focus on quality. “Considering our roots are in building a database, I think our rigorous approach to software engineering, developer productivity, and correctness are top-notch. Our Engineering leadership always puts quality first, which gives our engineers a great sense that their work is valued and that they are encouraged to put extra effort into producing the best they can.” Transform Your Career MongoDB gives its engineers the tools, resources, and support to grow their career in the direction they want to. Judah shares how he makes an impact as an engineer. “MongoDB has offered me opportunities I couldn't possibly imagine getting in my first five years on the job. After one year, I was empowered to mentor interns and then new grads on my team. This broadened my management skills, and after three years of work, I was promoted to help lead the team I had been on since I began at the company. This was an enormous responsibility and privilege for someone so young,” he says. “Doing this job has been an incredible learning opportunity, and the company has also provided structured training to hone my management skills. I’m very grateful to MongoDB for investing in me and both entrusting and supporting me to rise to challenges faster than I could have imagined.” Judah’s story is just one of many exciting experiences our people have had while working here and is something we’re proud to offer our employees. We know that by investing in our people, we go farther. If you want to join an engineering team where you’ll build cutting-edge technologies and undertake interesting projects you’re passionate about, MongoDB may be the place for you. Interested in pursuing a career at MongoDB? We have several open roles on our teams across the globe and would love for you to build your career with us!
New Ways to Customize Your Charts
When it comes to building charts, we know that details matter. Small differences in layout, styling or composition can make a big difference in how well your chart communicates the story behind your data. That’s why we’ve just released a whole bunch of new capabilities in MongoDB Charts , giving you more control than ever. Here’s what’s new: Secondary Y Axis: Charts can be a great way to show correlation between two different datasets, but when their scales differ greatly it can be hard to see the correlation. By choosing to plot one more series on a secondary Y Axis, you can allow them to make the most of the available space and highlight any interesting relationships. Secondary Y Axis can be enabled on Grouped Column, Discrete Line, Continuous Line and Continuous Area charts. Legend Position: Chart legends can now be moved to the top, right or bottom of your chart, or hidden altogether. “All Others” Group: Charts has long allowed you to limit a chart to show, say, just the top 10 values. The new “All Others” option allows you to add an additional bar or donut segment that shows the value of all other categories not included in the limit. “Count by Value” aggregation: Building multi-series charts is now easier than ever, with the new “Count by Value” aggregation option. This will automatically create series from each distinct value found in a field. String binning with Regular Expressions: Last month we introduced binning of string values, allowing you to choose the exact values to go into each bin. This month we’ve extended this further by allowing you to use Regular Expressions to assign values to a bin based on powerful patterns. Scatter Mark formatting: We’ve ramped up the customization options available on Scatter charts, allowing you to control the size, border thickness and opacity of each plotted mark. Line Dash Styles: A new option on Discrete and Continuous Line charts results in a different dash style for each series, making it easier to differentiate the series and improve the accessibility of your charts. Here’s one example of a chart that shows off the secondary Y axis, custom legend position and line dash styles: And here’s another, showing the effect you can get by customizing your scatter chart’s mark style: We hope you enjoy these new charting capabilities, but we’re not done yet! Over the next couple of months, we’ll be moving our focus to Table charts, adding options like conditional formatting, text wrapping and column pinning. If you have any other ideas for new customization features, please let us know using the MongoDB Feedback Engine . If you haven’t tried Charts yet, you can get started for free by signing up for MongoDB Atlas and deploying a free tier cluster.
Meet the MongoDB Sharding Team’s New Barcelona Division
I sat down with Kaloian Manassiev (Kal), Lead Engineer on MongoDB’s Barcelona-based Sharding team, to better understand what the team does and how they plan to grow. The Sharding team started in our New York City headquarters and expanded to Barcelona in the summer of 2019. Here, we explore who they are recruiting in the growing Spanish market and why someone would be excited to join their team. Ashley Perez: First, can you give a quick overview of what the Sharding team does? Kal Manassiev: The Sharding team builds frameworks and tools that abstract away difficult distributed systems problems for database users. This frees developers to focus on working with the data itself and not have to worry about where it resides, whether there is some network problem, or if a data center catches fire. As a result of this, the projects delivered by the Sharding team are highly visible and are predominantly flagship features for each major MongoDB release. AP: Let’s dive in a little more. What projects has your team taken on? KM: In the past, we’ve delivered projects such as Distributed Transactions and Retryable Writes . Retryable Writes, for example, makes it much easier to implement scenarios so that if your browser crashes when you click the Pay button, it will not charge you two times when you try again. Just recently, we completed a project to assign vector or scalar clocks to all the distributed objects we manage, so that our system is easier to reason about and can be proven correct via theoretical proof models and correctness checkers such as TLA+. This project also makes it easier to add more distributed systems features and be confident in their correctness. AP: Very interesting! What are some projects on the horizon? KM: The biggest upcoming effort is to make sharding even more transparent (invisible) to developers so they can focus on working with data. Behind the scenes, we will analyze their workload patterns and apply balancing techniques to relocate data in order to squeeze the maximum performance out of the hardware and offer the best possible throughput and latency to users. There are a myriad of technical challenges we will need to solve. For example: how to decide the best placement for workloads that might change dynamically, how to ensure consistency while we are reshuffling in the background, and how to minimize the impact on the customers’ workloads so they are not aware of what is going on behind the scenes. AP: I’m sure our customers will be excited when you roll this out. Now, let’s talk a little bit about you. Why did you join MongoDB? KM: Before joining MongoDB, I worked in Seattle at Microsoft SQL Server and at AWS, where I was thrown in the deep end, working on a service running on thousands of nodes across the globe. One day, while I was on vacation, a recruiter from MongoDB randomly reached out to me. After learning about the new Document Model and how MongoDB is essentially taking the best things from the good old relational databases and making them more scalable and available, I was convinced that this was “the future.” So, I made the jump and moved to New York City. I have been at MongoDB for more than seven years because I still believe the direction we are going is the future. In addition, I love the company culture with respect to giving responsibility to engineers to provide input into the roadmap of their teams, and also with tasking them with doing features of critical importance to the business. AP: You went from Seattle to New York City, and now Spain. Can you tell me more about your move and how that sparked a new Sharding team in Barcelona? KM: After living in the United States for roughly 15 years, I decided to move to Europe. It had always been my dream to live in Barcelona because of the Mediterranean climate and lifestyle, which are very well paired with a good education and technology environment. For example, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya is a well-known school here that hosts the Barcelona Supercomputing Centre and the Mare Nostrum supercomputer. They conduct research very closely related to what my team does, and a good portion of my team had some tenure there at some point in their careers. Because I was very familiar with the company culture and could mentor this team on our technological base, company values, and processes, MongoDB gave me the opportunity to build a small team in Barcelona to see how things would work out. Initially, we started with just two people. After the first eight months (which included the COVID-19 lockdown), it was obvious the team was very strong and that there is very good talent in Barcelona. Therefore, we decided to scale it up and now we have eight people. AP: I hear you’re planning to hire a few more to the Sharding team in Barcelona. What are the career opportunities for your team? KM: That’s correct. Our team is growing. Since sharding is at the forefront of the company’s products, there are many interesting projects to choose from that solve difficult distributed systems problems. With respect to career growth in general, it’s not much different from our North American teams. Our career growth guidelines are universal. Currently, there are two career paths; individual contributor (IC) and manager. On the Barcelona Sharding team, we have career growth opportunities mostly on the IC path. However, we have discovered that it is best to promote leads from within the team, because they already have established rapport with the team members and can work well with them. So while we are growing initially and we definitely lean on the IC path more, there are lead opportunities too. AP: How do you mentor individual contributors so they can move up on the team? KM: It’s a cliche, but the best way to build skills for new engineers is to “throw them in the deep end” and let them figure out how to swim. When people join, we generally let them ease into the team’s processes for a few weeks and train them on how to use MongoDB as a customer. Then, they spend the next month or so fixing small bugs, investigating failures, and so on. After that, they typically join an ongoing project, and little by little will become responsible for some aspect of the project. Mentorship comes as a byproduct of working together with engineers who have been on the team a long time already, and consists of providing feedback and explaining internals of the system and why things work the way they work historically. I also encourage people to read papers, see what other products are doing, and so forth. AP: What’s your proudest moment leading this team? KM: Realizing about five to six months after the first two engineers started and after we hired our third engineer that we have become a proper team and not that little group of people working out of Europe. Our team members were participating in discussions with the bigger team in New York, defending their ideas and proposing new ones. I believe this helped MongoDB see the value in our team and why we’re able to continue to add more hires in Barcelona. Interested in pursuing a career at MongoDB? We have several open roles on our teams across the globe, and would love for you to build your career with us!
Built with MongoDB: Shipright
User research is fundamental to guide great design and define a company’s brand and viability. For this edition of #BuiltWithMongoDB, we are featuring Shipright , a Netherlands-based Techstars company from the Netherlands that enables software businesses to seamlessly track customer feedback and make better-informed product decisions. Shipright provides a central place for user feedback, collating suggestions that customer support receives and sharing it across the company. The tool allows product managers to connect with customers who have left feedback, and ask for more details or provide personalized updates. Merging customer feedback ―traditionally spread around the company and left forgotten inside support conversations―into the product development process enables product people to deeper understand, and act upon, user requests. We spoke with co-founder Steven Aanen about Shipright’s journey to centralize product feedback and how they are growing with MongoDB. How did the idea for Shipright come about? As a team of four college friends, we had collaborated on software products for several years and repeatedly saw how difficult it is for companies to understand what their users really need. The result is that product teams are too-often building based on the input of the loudest person in the room, typically one angry customer or a product manager’s gut feel. With many new products hitting the market, and the cost of switching between them being so low, companies that fail to build something users love won’t survive for long. The good thing is that software companies actually get lots of feedback through customer support, live chat, and online reviews. The problem is that this feedback lives in many places and across different teams. There wasn’t any way to get a clear picture of, and act upon, a user’s perspective. That’s why we created Shipright. Shipright allows companies to easily collect feedback in one centralized location so that product teams get a clear sense of what matters. All feedback is transparent, from real users with associated identities, making it approachable and possible to open a dialogue. Teams that use Shipright collaborate with users to build with them instead of for them. What were some of the early challenges in building Shipright? Product management is inherently a very complex and messy process. There are many factors that come into play when defining product strategy. The challenge was to help streamline the process without creating a solution that is too complex or creates unnecessary overhead. We wanted to make it possible for any team to create amazing products. We pivoted a few times, from focusing on user research to incorporating user perspective deeply into product roadmaps. Another challenge is dealing with the variety of systems in which feedback and user data lives. Our solution is to offer a browser plugin that consolidates feedback across several channels and integrations. What technologies are you using to help build Shipright? Shipright is built in Vue.js, Typescript, NodeJS, and, of course, MongoDB. We run the platform on Kubernetes, where we also deployed a bunch of microservices and a message queue to process asynchronous jobs. A fun fact is that every customer has their own database, which is something we started with to ensure data protection. Why did you decide to have Shipright #BuiltWithMongoDB? MongoDB allows us to be flexible as we learn to support our customers in the best possible way. Functionality changes regularly, and it’s super important for us to be able to adapt our course as needed. We initially picked MongoDB for quick prototyping of the MVP that would later become Shipright, and it stuck. At first, we hosted the product ourselves, which quickly became very challenging. We regularly had to pause our work to fix things in production. With help of our friend David Asabina, we switched to a new hosting infrastructure, including MongoDB Cloud. That really helped us to get our focus back on product development instead of managing servers. Now that we have worked with MongoDB for nearly four years, we deeply understand the API and leverage our compounded knowledge to ship updates even faster. Which MongoDB products do you use to power Shipright? Our hosting infrastructure is defined using Terraform. We have a staging cluster and production cluster in MongoDB Atlas, and if necessary, we can spawn up a new cluster that looks exactly the same. On every signup, one of our microservices creates and prepares a new database specifically for that customer. In the near future, we’d like to try out Atlas Search as well, as we rely heavily on search engines to power the product. We’re fans of the MongoDB ecosystem and are excited to grow with the platform. Want to learn more about Shipright ? Check out the product and their newsletter: Build with Users . Creating something cool with MongoDB? Check out our developer resources , and let us know if you want your startup to be featured in our #BuiltWithMongoDB series.
How Growth and Leadership Foster Change In The Tech Space
Editor's note: This was originally published on AfroTech’s website . Are you on the hunt for your next role in the tech space? We know firsthand just how difficult it can be to find a company that is truly committed to investing in Black talent, so we’re highlighting a few of our top picks that are currently hiring. First up is MongoDB — with over 2,200 employees, this New York-based tech company provides database software that powers companies like Epic Games (best known for its popular game Fortnite), Shine Text, Coinbase, 7-Eleven, and more. MongoDB prides itself in cultivating an environment for employees to share their ideas about diversity and inclusion in the workplace without judgment. The general purpose database platform focuses on elevating productivity and scalability for both its clients and employees, which sets up a space for everyone to shine. The company offers opportunities for Black tech professionals to thrive as it values different thoughts and perspectives and those who approach tech solutions in a unique way. No matter their gender, race, age or sexual orientation, employees are valued and respected by MongoDB’s leadership. Its open environment encourages employees to perform at their best and elevates the success of the company. Let’s explore one employee’s experience and his unique role at the company. Tosin Ajayi leads MongoDB’s global corporate Solutions Architect team. He is a prime example of how a Black tech leader creates and influences an inclusive company culture for all employees. Ajayi uses his position to promote growth, leadership and foster change. For example, he’s currently building an Associate Solutions Architects team . The team is suited for junior or early-career professionals and provides them a great start to a highly coveted technical presales career. “The presales role is unique as it combines the technical prowess of an engineer, the vision of a product manager, the sales acumen of a sales rep and the design and troubleshooting skills of a consultant,” Ajayi said. “In essence, it bridges several functions within an organization to bring solutions to our customers and revenue to MongoDB,” all while furthering MongoDB’s goal of inclusion as a top priority. While Ajayi believes that practicing inclusion is everyone’s responsibility, he asserts that MongoDB’s tone about inclusiveness is set at the executive level, which helps such a culture thrive. Here are concrete initiatives that MongoDB has implemented to support diversity in the workplace: The company holds all-hands meetings where the executive team takes open questions. For a company this size, it’s quite impressive considering the diversity of thoughts and opinions in a large employee base. And yes, the questions often reflect that diversity in thoughts and opinions. MongoDB signed the ParityPledge to ensure that at least one qualified woman candidate is interviewed for all VP and higher positions. There is a company-wide Decoding Inclusion series that addresses a variety of topics like race, the LGBTQ+ community, and mental health. MongoDB is really big on feedback. Surveys are consistently run in order to seek to understand employees’ visceral feelings towards their work, their team, team makeup, leaders, workplace, and work conditions. MongoDB has a dedicated D&I team. In fact, this interview is happening as a result of the great work Cindy Class and Danielle James are doing. Companies across the country are tackling current events such as the disproportionate rate of COVID-19 affecting Black people and the violence at the hands of police. These events require open dialogue for employees to express their thoughts and feelings and MongoDB has done just that. Ajayi agrees that it’s important to have these conversations in order to “disambiguate the stance on human decency issues and promote inclusiveness”. “Employees aren’t a monolith,” Ajayi said. “Yes, we’re a collection of driven and talented professionals — but well above that, we’re human beings. Employees want to feel heard, they want to know that their feelings and opinions matter, they want a company whose philosophy they can align with. Talking about current events is a display of awareness, it shows a sense of connectedness to the outside events that can and often affect employees. More importantly, it shows empathy and support for employees.” These candid conversations help Ajayi as a leader, allowing him to “address the historically taboo topic of race and racial injustice.” When topics such as these are addressed it impacts the success of the company positively and creates a “psychologically safe environment” at work. “Another point here is that employees are only as good as they feel,” Ajayi said. “I find that people give more of themselves when they’re in a space where they feel psychologically safe.” MongoDB continues to promote their mission of inclusivity and diversity through various initiatives like scholarships to their MongoDB World conference, an Intern Mentorship program, affinity groups like The Underrepresented People of Color Network (TUPOC), Queeries, MDBWomen, Underrepresented Genders in Tech, Veterans, and the Green Team, and the company’s Decoding Inclusion series that was launched last year by the Diversity and Inclusion team. “The [Decoding Inclusion Series] is an opportunity to educate and sometimes challenge preconceived ideas about D&I,” Ajayi said. “[These sessions] are sponsored by MongoDB executives. We feature employees and bring guest speakers to talk about a variety of topics including race, gender, mental health issues, and other topics that pertain to D&I.” Ajayi revealed that he found sessions like the most recent Decoding Inclusion conversation on race very informative, resulting in his own self-evaluation about his understanding of community and societal differences. He is proud to see these types of programs not only deconstruct the taboo topic of racism in the workplace, but make changes as a result of it. “I encourage all organizations to embrace the humanity of their employees, not just the workers in them, and promote an environment where people can talk, like my company has done for us,” Ajayi added. MongoDB is dedicated to creating opportunities to impact change, not only at the company but throughout the community. Are you a tech-minded dreamer, who is passionate about innovation? Grow your career at MongoDB, view open roles here and make sure to indicate that you learned about the role through AfroTech when applying. Join MongoDB in supporting organizations fighting for racial justice and equal opportunity. Donate to our fund by December 31, 2020 and MongoDB will match the donation up to a maximum aggregate amount of $250,000. Learn more here.