Preparing for Your Consulting Engineer Interview at MongoDB
Are you a software professional who isn't always just about the software? Do you write code, but just as often get an equally strong sense of accomplishment by configuring a tricky but vital part of the operating system or DBMS? Do you enjoy working with a variety of computer professionals from SysAdmins to Devs to CTOs? Do you feel that special spark from knowing there's so much more to learn about the technology you eat, sleep, and breathe, and that you might never learn every last bit of it, but it'll be a heck of a ride trying to? Are data management and consulting two things you enjoy doing more than anything else? We are always on the lookout for such professionals. Those who seek the challenge. Those who can immerse themselves in every cubic millimeter of a particular stack in their quest to find “the answer”. Those who find fulfillment in helping MongoDB's customers realize every bit of potential that our products can give them. MongoDB Professional Services provides best-of-breed expertise and experience for all of our products to help our customers and community users get the most out of them. This can involve one or more of: Application Lifecycle Expertise, providing both strategic and tactical consulting from the conception to delivery to post-delivery phases of your application lifecycle Dedicated time with a dedicated MongoDB technical expert, with all of the resources of the company and the community at their disposal Public and Private Training for DBAs, DevOps Engineers, Developers, and Data Scientists Migrating customer workloads to MongoDB in Public Clouds And on the front lines is the Consulting Engineer (CE). The Jack-of-all-trades of all things MongoDB who works directly with our customers on a daily basis. What follows is a guide for those looking to join MongoDB Professional Services. We have Consulting Engineer positions available at a variety of levels, and this guidance should help make for the best possible interview experience! Do you have what we're looking for? Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to know how to use MongoDB. Trust me, that was my situation when I interviewed with MongoDB. Don't get us wrong, it is a definite “plus” to have some experience or be an expert, but no experience with MongoDB isn't a deal-breaker. It also isn't an absolute requirement to have been a Consulting Engineer before (I hadn't been), but you do need the skills and qualities that can be made into a successful CE. We look for bright, motivated people who can learn quickly, pivot effortlessly, and adapt relentlessly to a myriad of challenges and situations. People who rise up to technical challenges in pursuit of our customers' needs. We are mostly focused on customers after the sale, although we do work in tandem at times with our Account Teams. A MongoDB Consulting Engineer is well-versed in modern software stacks, database technologies, software development, deployment, and day-to-day operations. They utilize MongoDB Best Practices, deliver MongoDB Technical Training, and work with both customer Dev and Ops teams to ensure successful deployments of MongoDB-based software solutions. They are resourceful, adaptable, always willing to learn, and (if and when we get back to it) comfortable travelling a majority of the time. They enjoy interacting with software professionals on a daily basis. They enjoy representing MongoDB and its products and technologies. They enjoy real-world technical challenges. Do we have what you're looking for? The very first step in your journey is to check the Customer Engineering careers page for open Consulting Engineer positions. If one or more look like a potential fit, we encourage you to apply! As an organization, MongoDB Professional Services strives to be one of the best in the industry. We adhere to very high standards, which translates to maximum benefit to our customers. We are always learning from each other and learning about our new products and technologies as they come down the pipeline. We work hard, we have a lot of fun, and we make a difference. Because a Consulting Engineer must possess a broad skill set, there is significant potential for career growth within the organization. People management is one route, or you might decide you'll always prefer to 'stay technical' - in the latter case, consider a development path that could land you a coveted MongoDB Distinguished Engineer position some day. Alternatively, you might at some point determine that you wish to move into other Professional Services roles with other emphases, such as: Tool and Framework Development for our customers, as well as your fellow Consulting Engineers Curriculum Development, for internal or external Training offerings Engagement Management, where you working more closely with Account Teams to present Professional Services' value proposition to potential and current customers Project Management You are given extensive freedom as a MongoDB Consulting Engineer. We give you the freedom to explore, the freedom to create, the freedom to learn, and the freedom to contribute to the organization and our customers in your unique way. Do you aspire to give a presentation at a MongoDB.local or at MongoDB World? Perhaps the written word is your thing, and you'd like to try your hand at blogging for MongoDB and Professional Services (like I'm doing right here!). Or maybe you just like to develop new and interesting tools for other MongoDB users through the MongoDB Community. All of those and more are possible. Is that what you're looking for? As a company, MongoDB aims to be recognized as a leader in how we value and look after our employees, as well as our customers. Want to learn more? Check out our Life At MongoDB blog posts. Interview step one: speaking with a recruiter Once you've applied for a Consulting Engineer position, a Recruiter will review your resume and determine if they think your skills and experience could be a good fit for the role. If so, they’ll reach out to you to get to know you better and to discuss your qualifications for the particular position, your experience in the industry to date, and what you are looking for in a position with MongoDB. The more you can reflect on your experience and expertise and then show its applicability to what we're looking for, the better. Think about what you are wanting in a career at MongoDB as a Consulting Engineer and how we may be able to make that happen together. A good job fit is, after all, a two-way street. Interview step two: speaking with the hiring manager If the Recruiter confirms that you are a potential fit for Professional Services, you will be scheduled for some time with the Hiring Manager. Give some thought to the following: What do you want out of your next job? What are you looking for in a company and a manager? Why do you feel, at this point, that you are an excellent fit for this position? Pick some example experiences/situations from your past that may be relevant to this position, and be prepared to discuss them. The manager will likely share more about the overall and day-to-day expectations of the job. They will also ask if you have additional questions that they can answer to give you a fuller picture. Our goal is to give you a proper overview of the team (and its culture), Professional Services, and what it's like working at MongoDB. Interview step three: speaking with MongoDB Consulting Engineers In this phase, you will have a handful of one-hour interviews with established MongoDB Consulting Engineers. Each interview covers one or more of the following: Database expertise (Relational and non-Relational) Software development experience and familiarity Problem solving expertise and approach(es) Consulting experience/expertise Rigors of and requirements for daily customer interaction Now: Working with customers remotely (Potentially) In the future: Business travel a majority of the time (note: on hold at present due to COVID) "Soft skills" needed to be a successful MongoDB Consulting Engineer Report writing skills Verbal communication skills (1-on-1 and to groups) Dealing with various customer personalities and situations Comfort talking to customer individual contributors, management, and business stakeholders No, we do not expect you to code an O(n) sorting algorithm on a whiteboard while we wait. Nor do we expect you to install and configure a database server on the fly from a terminal window. That being said, if those sorts of things intrigue you, well…. points for that. What we will do is dig into how you attack problems, how you work with individuals and groups to find solutions, and how you make use of available resources and think outside the box when required. We also ask questions to see how quickly you can absorb new information and how quickly you can adapt to rapidly changing situations. Interview step four: speaking with the PS Director The last stage in the interview process is a chat (usually via video conference) with the Professional Services (PS) Director for that region. This can give you a slightly different perspective of the organization and the role itself, as well as added visibility into our business and company culture. The good news is that this will not be as technical as the interviews above. Before this discussion, consider what you've discussed so far in the interview process, and what other aspects of the role you have further questions about. I will say that when I interviewed back in the day, I sat down with our newly-hired head of Professional Services and asked him "where do you see the organization in two to three years?". His answer was a significant piece of why I accepted MongoDB's offer, so don't be afraid to ask what's really on your mind! Questions? I love to make connections between outstanding individual contributors and MongoDB Professional Services, so if you have any questions about this process or the jobs, feel free to drop me a line. If you’d like to hear more about my experience as a Principal Consulting Engineer, listen to this episode of The MongoDB Podcast. You can find me on LinkedIn, or by writing to me at firstname.lastname@example.org . Good luck! Interested in pursuing a career as a Consulting Engineer at MongoDB? We have several open roles on our teams across the globe and would love for you to transform your career with us!