GIANT Stories at MongoDB

Introducing the MongoDB Masters Program for 2018

My name is Michael Lynn and I’m the Worldwide Director of Developer Advocacy at MongoDB. I’m incredibly proud to be a part of the Developer Relations and Marketing team here at MongoDB.

A majority of what we do in Developer Advocacy is related to increasing awareness of MongoDB within the community of developers and data scientists. We do this through involvement in a variety of user groups, industry conferences, and events as well as through management of the MongoDB Masters Program.

This program was created to recognize leaders within their community, experts in MongoDB, and professionals who freely share their knowledge. This year’s class includes returning Masters, as well as new members who have distinguished themselves in the past year.

MongoDB Masters in years past have provided valuable product feedback and driven thought leadership in their fields. We look forward to deepening this relationship over the coming year. This year’s class of Masters will also be encouraged to participate in beta testing programs, share their experiences with MongoDB, and continue to expand and broaden their own voices as leaders in the technical community.

The Masters program has been an incredibly rewarding and valuable program for MongoDB and we greatly appreciate the efforts of our most vocal, and most active supporters. This is why we’ve put so much time and effort into creating a program to recognize these individuals and thank them for their contributions.

Master Honorees enjoy benefits ranging from access to the MongoDB Engineering and Product Management teams to discounted MongoDB Atlas Credits.

Preparations are underway for the MongoDB Masters Summit, which will be held on Tuesday, June 26th as part of MongoDB World 2018. We’ll have several speakers and a special Q&A session with Eliot Horowitz, our Co-Founder, and CTO. We encourage all members of our community to register for MongoDB World 2018, meet the Masters in person, and join our Advocacy Hub to start their own path to becoming a MongoDB Master.

So, all this talk of Masters – how, you might be thinking, do I become a Master?

Before I dive into an explanation of the requirements, please take a moment to review the bios of some of the existing Masters. You’ll easily spot some things in common across all of these incredibly talented and accomplished individuals.

Passion

Masters are passionate about technology and about solutions to technical problems. This passion drives these individuals to do things that few technologists will do. While this attribute is common among the existing and past Masters, it’s not easy to measure. You know it when you see it and it’s woven into the careers of many of the people I’ve encountered surrounding this program.

Impact

If passion is fuel, then impact is fire. Impact is the result of the passionate pursuit of worthy causes. Again, this is an attribute easily found in common across our Masters membership. Measuring impact is also difficult because in many cases, especially when dealing with the Masters, the impact of their actions, projects, and even their careers is widespread. Masters are individuals that positively impact their families, teams, companies, and their communities.

Execution

Execution is the spark that ignites fire. Elegant, efficient and effective solutions to technical challenges rarely, if ever, happen by accident. Rather, truly successful solutions require intelligent, deliberate execution – and in most cases, hard work. I strongly encourage you to spend time with any of the Masters and it will become clear that these individuals know how to execute. They know how to get things accomplished.

These are the attributes of a MongoDB Master and to achieve membership, an individual should be passionate about great technology and about solving technical problems. These individuals should have demonstrated, through successful execution, a massively beneficial impact on their company, team and/or community.

Are you interested in becoming a MongoDB Master, or do you think you may already meet the requirements? I would like to invite you to join us at MongoDB World in New York to learn more; consider completing the nomination form below to have yourself or a colleague considered for a MongoDB Masters membership.

MongoDB Masters membership nomination →

MongoDB Presents an Evening With Eliot Horowitz and Stitch

On April 19th, 2018, the MongoDB User Group (MUG) met at the MongoDB HQ in New York City for an evening of conversation, trivia, and a live coding session from MongoDB co-founder and CTO Eliot Horowitz.

Hacking Unemployment: How DWP Digital and MongoDB are Working Together to Empower Developers and Tackle Some of the Biggest Challenges in the UK

Joe Drumgoole
January 31, 2018
Community

Technology and businesses exist to do social good. We all have bills to pay and families to support, but beyond that, it has to be about more than profit. I also believe that developers in particular have a huge influence on what an organisation can achieve, both its social impact and the bottom line. The Department for Work and Pensions’ Digital team (DWP Digital) is the perfect example of a group that understands and embraces the important role developers can play solving major issues. This year we’ve been lucky enough to work with DWP Digital and its developers in the ultimate hope of tackling some of the UK’s biggest challenges.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is the UK’s biggest public service department. It’s responsible for allocating government help to those in need. This includes a range of benefits including the state pension, disability allowances and more. Over 22 million citizens rely on the £168 billion that DWP releases every year.

The DWP Digital team is the group responsible for building and supporting the applications that make this all possible. They operate more than 1,000 applications and estimate that more than 50 million lines of code have been written for these applications. Currently, there’s a major shift happening at DWP Digital, as much of the most important work is coming back in-house and developers are adopting a more agile approach to delivery. The aim is to deliver better, more efficient and more customer-focused services; and they could not do that without an engaged, skilled and creative team of developers.


Hack the North: MongoDB Sponsored DWP Digital’s Manchester base Hackathon

Hack the North

For those who don’t know, a hackathon is an event that gives developers a chance to try out new technologies, solve new problems and experiment with new approaches. Basically, there are three things you want to get out of a hackathon: learn something, have fun and try to do some good. However, before we get into the hackathon, some statistics: In Manchester City and its surrounding areas there are more than 75,000 unemployed people living (Source: DWP’s Churchill application, June 2017) and the overall unemployment rate is above the national average with 5.5% of residents out of work (Source: Nomis, official labour market statistics). Jobs in the science, research, engineering and technology professions make up just 4.69% of the total workforce in Manchester. However, vacancies in that category make up 18% of the total vacancies advertised (Source: City Council Quarterly Economy Dashboard Q1 2016/2017 ). So when DWP Digital decided to run a hackathon ahead of the opening of its Manchester digital hub in early 2018, the big challenge they’d want to tackle was obvious. Hack the North was a two-day public hackathon focused on finding solutions to help address the unemployment problems in the city. It is usually done off-site in order to take the participants out of the headspace of day-to-day activity. There is normally plenty of food (pizza), beverages and competitive banter.

The project board at Hack the North

As DWP Digital is one of the biggest users of MongoDB in Europe and our developer advocacy team have experience running hackathons, a number of our team went up to support the event along with other sponsors ThoughtWorks and TechHub Manchester. I’ve been at a few hackathons through the years and, I have to say, this was one of the best I’ve been involved in. The quality of ideas, the execution and enthusiasm from all involved was fantastic.

We had more than 70 people onsite who divided into 10 distinct teams, each with a mission to deliver a new working solution in just two days using available data from public sources such as Churchill (DWP’s public data repository – which is also built on MongoDB).

The final solutions were wide-ranging, creative and impressive. We had everything from an engine that helped the onboarding process for the newly unemployed, right through to a platform that gamified CV and aptitude testing. However, the eventual winner was a team called UpSkill. UpSkill built an application using MongoDB Atlas that could match people’s skills to the requirements of employers, and has an API to allow people to access resources to boost their skills. It was a very slick, very well executed final product and first among a great crop of ideas.

Admittedly we haven’t completely solved unemployment in Manchester, but to my eyes, the two-day event was a roaring success with the developers learning a lot and building some powerful proof of concepts. If you do want to see more, check out the #HackTheNorth Twitter moment or this excellent blog post from my fellow judge Dan Tanham, a Deputy Director at DWP Digital.

Learning to teach, teaching to learn

You’ve never truly learnt a lesson until you’ve taught it to someone else. Alongside the hackathon, another way DWP Digital keeps its team on the forefront of development best practices is by presenting at developer conferences. We were delighted to have dozens of the DWP Digital team come along to MongoDB Europe 2017 in London November of last year, but what was really special was to have Rob Thompson, CTO of DWP Digital, deliver one of the morning keynotes.

You can see the full video of his presentation below and you won’t be shocked by its thesis. After giving an overview of DWP Digital, Rob talks about how MongoDB and agile development are key tools to help the UK’s biggest public service department transform its data infrastructure and build a number of flagship digital services across pensions, health, benefits and analytics. Rob believes passionately that developers are the key difference between success and failure in most projects.

In the breakout sessions, Rob’s colleague David Parry got into even more detail on how DWP Digital is using agile development, Java and MongoDB in the cloud to create a microservices architecture. This architecture is making it possible to rapidly iterate from proof of concept to hundreds of services as they are rolled out nationally. Unfortunately, we couldn’t film every session, so if you would like to see this type of presentation you’ll just have to make sure you’re at MongoDB Europe later this year.

It’s been a gratifying few months getting to work so closely with the DWP Digital team. Not only are they using MongoDB in incredibly powerful ways but even more importantly I’ve gotten to see first-hand how developer-centric the organization is. You wouldn’t think of a big government department as a hotbed of developer innovation but thankfully they certainly can be. DWP Digital is proving to be every bit as forward-thinking, agile and end-user focused as the cream of Silicon Valley. And society is the better for it.

Find out more about open positions at DWP Digital on the DWP Digital Jobs Twitter account or go to careers.dwp.gov.uk. And if you’d like to know more about MongoDB’s developer focus and the events we run then follow me @jdrumgoole.

MongoDB 3.6.0-rc0 is released

MongoDB 3.6.0-rc0, the first release candidate of MongoDB 3.6, is out and is ready for testing. This is the culmination of the 3.5.x development series, and includes many exciting new features. Here are some of the highlights:

Fully Expressive Array Updates

This feature, the most voted by the MongoDB user community, enables developers to perform complex array manipulations against matching elements of an array, including elements embedded in nested arrays, all in a single update operation. Fully expressive array updates allows even more flexibility in data modeling.

More Expressive Query Language and Aggregation Pipeline

New aggregation operators and the ability to use aggregation expressions within the query language enable richer queries with less client-side code. This enhancement allows the referencing of other fields in the same document when executing comparison queries, as well as powerful expressions such as multiple JOIN conditions and uncorrelated subqueries. Other Aggregation Pipeline improvements include support for timezone-aware aggregations, conversion of objects to arrays and arrays to objects, and many more.

Retryable Writes

This feature moves the complexity of handling temporary system failures from the application to the database. Developers no longer need to implement custom, client-side code -- the MongoDB driver can automatically retry writes in the event of failure, while the MongoDB server enforces exactly-once processing semantics.

Change Streams

Change streams enable developers to build reactive, real-time, web, mobile, and IoT apps that can view, filter, and act on data changes as they occur in the database. Change Streams enable seamless data movement across distributed databases, making it simple to stream data changes and trigger actions wherever they are needed.

Tunable Consistency

With tunable consistency, MongoDB affords developers precise control over routing queries across a distributed cluster, balancing data consistency guarantees with performance requirements. MongoDB 3.4 added linearizable reads, which were central to MongoDB passing Jepsen tests – some of the most stringent data safety and correctness tests in the database industry. MongoDB 3.6 introduces additional consistency controls: “Causal Consistency” and “Consistent Reads”.

Schema Validation

Schema Validation via syntax derived from the proposed IETF JSON Schema standard extends the capabilities of document validation, originally introduced in MongoDB 3.2.

End-to-End Compression

Wire protocol compression of network traffic between the client and the database, configured with the snappy or zLib algorithms, allows up to 80% savings in network bandwidth. This reduction brings major performance gains to busy network environments and reduces connectivity costs, especially in public cloud environments, or when connecting remote assets such as IoT devices and gateways.

Extending Security Controls and IP Whitelisting

MongoDB 3.6 will, by default, reject all network connections to the database unless explicitly configured to allow them by an administrator. Combined with the new IP Whitelisting feature, administrators can configure MongoDB to only accept external connections from approved IP addresses or CIDR ranges that have been explicitly added to the whitelist.

MongoDB 3.6 Release Notes | All 3.6.0-rc0 Issues | Downloads

As always, please let us know of any issues.

-- The MongoDB Team

MongoDB Certified Professional Spotlight: Guru Rajan Ganesan

Eloise Giegerich
September 28, 2017
Community

This week we’re featuring Guru Rajan Ganesan, a MongoDB Developer-certified – and soon to be DBA-certified – professional who works at Isentia as a MongoDB database administrator. Though he never imagined jumping into the tech world, Guru’s career has since taken off; today he’s using his MongoDB knowledge to tackle various digital projects, including the development of various media intelligence tools.

Eloise Giegerich: Hi, Guru! Thank you for taking the time to talk with me! I’d love to learn a little about your tech background. When did you first become interested in tech, and why did you decide to pursue a career in the industry?

Gururajan Ganesan: After I graduated in 2010, I joined a small company that develops Windows applications in VB and SQL for very small-scale industries focused on media intelligence and backend data processing technologies. It’s an unusual origin story, because I was actually kind of forced to work at that company; I didn’t have any established interest in the tech field. Instead, my aim was to run a business on my own. But my senior on the team, Ravi, was an expert in writing stored procedures and I admired his work. Having learned from watching him work, I started writing my own stored procedures, which inspired my career path. By the way, I am a techie now!

EG: Where are you currently working? What is your role, and what do you like about it?

GG: I am working at Isentia, a media intelligence software company, as a database administrator for MongoDB. But my role isn’t limited to the database admin title; I also work on monitoring SQL servers and writing Python code for various ingest services, CICD tools, AWS, and more. The best thing about my job is that before I came to Isentia, I was a DBA – and I’m officially hired as a DBA – but now I have the flexibility to move across fields, whether it be into dev-ops work, developer work, CICD integration, or more.

EG: How did you first discover MongoDB? Any cool projects you’ve used or are in the process of using with the database?

GG: In 2012, I was working for the company Redisolve. At that time, we were trying to create a natural language (NLP) parser, and the data was huge. We first moved from SQL to MySQL, but still experienced very low performance and a high monthly server cost. Because of this, we moved to MongoDB. I have used MongoDB for projects involving NLP, accounting systems, image storage, and, in particular, the digitization of a famous vehicle loan provider in India (this project was entirely developed on MongoDB); I am now using MongoDB for various media intelligence tools in projects involving location-based searches, full-text search, and others.

EG: What other databases have you worked with? How does MongoDB compare?

GG: I’ve worked with Microsoft Access, SQL, Sybase, Cassandra, Oracle, and Neo4j. These are not bad databases; they’re all good at addressing specific requirements for specific projects. But if you take any of these databases and consider the requirement, it is usually unique only to that one project – you can’t swap in another database for the same requirement. The beauty of MongoDB is that any requirement for any database can be easily processed.

EG: What inspired you to become MongoDB certified?

GG: I’ve always had the passion to pursue certification, because it consistently holds market value. I was MongoDB Developer Certified, and I will complete the DBA certification soon!

EG: That’s great! How did you prepare for your Developer certification? Or how are you approaching your DBA certification?

GG: I completed M202, M101P, M101N, M101JS, and M102, and am in the process of pursuing M310 and M312 for my DBA certification. Every time there’s an update or change in the database, I like to keep up with the courses and read the different documentation. I like that with each course, you’re able to learn small tricks to help approach the database; these tricks along with the general information you learn from the courses give you a lot of confidence around senior team members.

EG: How have you applied – or how do you intend to apply – what you’ve learned to your future projects?

GG: Like I’ve said, I’m already expanding my certification knowledge by pursuing the DBA courses. One thing I’ve learned since becoming Developer Certified is that cluster-based architecture does not break down as simply as we see in the documentation. There are many tricks for approaching clusters, which I have learned from this certification program, and which I plan on implementing in future projects.

EG: Do you have any tips or advice for people who are preparing to take their exam?

GG: First of all, theoretical study alone is not OK for this certification; you can’t just read the documents on the MongoDB pages. People preparing for certification should do the practice in shell for all the MongoDB study material provided. It’s also helpful to analyze more back-end activities, and test what happens behind the shell in backlogs/log files, oplog, replication, and more. It’s essential to understand the architecture clearly, not just on paper, but practically – hands-on.

EG: Thanks again for taking the time to share your story with us, Guru! To wrap things up, what has been your greatest takeaway from your certification experience? What advice or encouragement do you have for those considering pursuing certification?

GG: Of course, professionally, I hope my certification will be useful when I’m being considered for promotion. But on my personal path, the knowledge I now have gives me much more confidence in my ability to handle any issues I may encounter with MongoDB. And not only did my confidence grow, but my seniors trust me now that I’ve been certified. It gives you pride to wear this certification cap!

Thanks again to Guru for chatting with us! If you’re interested in getting professionally certified, you can learn more about the MongoDB certification process. If you’re already certified and would like to share your story, let us know at certification@mongodb.com.

MongoDB Certified Professional Spotlight: Konstantin Manchev

For this week’s spotlight we’re chatting with Konstantin Manchev, a DBA- and DEV-certified professional who works as a MongoDB Database Administrator at the European Patent Office out of the Netherlands. Konstantin has worked on several interesting telecom data analysis projects throughout his career; below, he shares how his MongoDB certification gave him the flexibility and freedom to grow these projects, and the confidence to approach future endeavors.

Eloise Giegerich: Hi, Konstantin! Thanks for taking the time to speak with me today. Let’s begin by diving into your tech background. When did you first become interested in tech, and where do you currently work?

Konstantin Manchev: My tech career started back in 2001 when I began working as a telecom support engineer at Mobiltel, the first Bulgarian mobile operator, which is now part of the Telecom Austria Group. With a strong focus on data analysis and automation, my time at Mobiltel allowed me to successfully contribute to different automation and development projects using the latest market technologies in the area.

I am currently working as a MongoDB DBA in the European Patent Office (EPO). It’s an exciting place to work because we face new and multiple administration and development challenges every day, including backups, restoration, upgrades, housekeeping, and performance optimization for huge databases.

EG: How did you first discover MongoDB? Can you share any projects you’ve worked on with the database?

KM: In 2010 I was assigned to automate a telecom data analysis project; this involved collecting all prepaid systems event logs from an online charging system and identifying incorrectly charged subscribers, as well as generating statistics for specific charges per minute in real time. It was through this that I had the opportunity to test and compare suitable database storage systems that would best fit my and my team’s needs. I did some research and experimenting, and discovered the many advantages offered by MongoDB. To meet the requirements of specific use cases, some databases just took too much time and effort, or made tasks impossible to complete all together; with MongoDB, I could get the job done easily and efficiently.

MongoDB attracted me with its schemaless structure, easy scalability and deployment, availability across the majority of operating systems, clear documentation, customizable performance/reliability, and free of charge training courses. The database allowed me to focus more singularly on my application development, as I no longer needed to worry about scalability and high availability – functions that are expected by default in any real-time telecom application use case.

In late 2014, I started working at Cisco Systems, supporting one of the best mobile packet core policy applications on the market at that time, CPS (Cisco Policy Suite, formerly QPS – Quantum Policy Suite), which used MongoDB as a backend. Troubleshooting customer problems in real time with MongoDB allowed me to gain invaluable hands-on experience with the product, which is what first got me interested in pursuing certification.

In addition to working with the database itself, MongoDB’s community support has really helped my team advance our projects. At the moment, we are facing issues switching to the new storage engine, WiredTiger, which has some big advantages over mmapv1 (such as compression and document level concurrency control), but also smaller drawbacks. For example, it is currently impossible in WiredTiger to run offline database folder backups inside dbPath. As we face these drawbacks, we are happy and grateful to work with the MongoDB support team in Dublin, as they are very responsive, and always helping us with ongoing queries.

EG: What other databases have you worked with, and how does MongoDB compare?

KM: I have developed a few projects for specific telecom applications using MySQL, Postgres, and Oracle. But, as I mentioned earlier, what I like about MongoDB is the freedom it gives developers and the built-in scaling possibilities, like sharding and replication. These latter capabilities really helped me when I was developing my SMS Center events parsing, collection, and analysis project (mentioned above). Another project I worked on with MongoDB involved parsing a daily snapshot of prepaid mobile subscriber profiles, collecting and analyzing the data, and tracking changes in identification and problem analyses.

EG: You mentioned troubleshooting with MongoDB as a catalyst for your interest in certification. Was there anything else that inspired you to become certified?

KM: It was mainly that troubleshooting experience; after having significant exposure to different sizes and types of MongoDB deployments, I decided to improve my skills and try learning the technology in-depth. The way to prove that I had improved my skills and mastered the technology was to see that acknowledgement through MongoDB’s DBA and DEV certification exams.

EG: Which MongoDB University courses did you take?

KM: To prepare, I took: M310: MongoDB Security, M101J: MongoDB for Java Developers, M123: Getting Started with MongoDB Atlas, M101P: MongoDB for Developers, M202: MongoDB Advanced Deployment and Operations, and M102: MongoDB for DBAs. All the trainings were very helpful and offered great practical exercises to strengthen my confidence in the material.

EG: Since becoming certified, have you experienced any benefits, personal or professional?

KM: Personally, I now feel more confident in my skills having been DBA- and DEV-certified. Professionally, these skills are officially recognized with the certification title, which makes me a much more competitive player in job markets across the world!

EG: How have you applied, or how can you apply your certification skills to future projects?

KM: MongoDB allows you to focus on a specific project task, removing the whole complex SQL abstraction data access layer that exists in relational databases. With my certification knowledge, I’ve been able to easily use MongoDB as a backend, which makes projects move along much faster than they would’ve with a SQL system.

EG: Can you offer any advice or tips to those about to take, or retaking, their exam(s)?

KM: The good thing about MongoDB is that you don't need expensive hardware to learn. You can install your test (practice) sharded clusters in any test virtual machine of your choice and break, fix, and simulate any kind of activity. To get a hands-on experience with the database, try creating from scratch; simulate any kind of errors and try to fix them. By doing this, you will learn how MongoDB behaves in different situations and gain valuable preparation for the exams. Of course, if during the troubleshooting process you face any issues, you can always check the online documentation and forums for fresh ideas.

EG: And finally, what advice or encouragement do you have for those considering pursuing certification?

KM: It will be difficult, but be brave, face the challenges, and never give up following your dreams!

Thanks again to Konstantin for taking the time to share his story! If you’re interested in getting professionally certified, you can Learn more about the MongoDB certification process. If you’re already certified and would like to be featured in a blog post, let us know at certification@mongodb.com

MongoDB Certified Professional Spotlight: Néstor Campos Rojas

This week we’re talking with Néstor Campos Rojas, a Software Architect working at Metric Arts, a BI consulting company based in Santiago, Chile. Néstor is a MongoDB Certified Developer, and was excited to share the different projects he’s worked on since becoming certified, tackling everything from fraud and security management in public transportation, and even the Chilean wine scene!

Nestor Campos Rojas

Eloise Giegerich: Hi, Néstor, thank you for taking the time to share your story today! Let's start by getting into your tech background. When did you first become interested in tech, and why did you decide to pursue the field?

Néstor Campos Rojas: Hi, Eloise, thanks for this interview. My interest in technology first developed when I was 16. I felt that studying and pursuing a career in the area really fit with my mentality, since I have always been someone who likes to learn, and I like to work on different things at the same time. For instance, my current job allows me to work with databases, in Web programming, and much more.

EG: That’s a good transition into my next question. Where do you currently work? What is your role, and what do you like about it?

NCR: Currently, I work in Santiago, Chile, as a Software Architect at Metric Arts. I like working for my company because they support me in my professional goals, which include everything from aspiring to develop my own company (I have many ideas in my mind for this), to honing my speciality in advanced programming, specifically Big Data and Machine Learning. My colleagues are also excellent; I learn a lot from them every day and they help me develop new projects, as well as improve current ones.

EG: How did you first discover MongoDB? What projects have you used or are you in the process of using with MongoDB?

NCR: I discovered MongoDB when I was researching new technologies for Web development (NodeJS and MEAN stack). At Metric Arts, we understand that we can’t limit ourselves, or be “stuck” to one particular technology when tackling many different developments; each development and greater project needs to be covered by one or more technology. So, it was in my search for this something new that I started to develop Web services connected to MongoDB in order to test and check the database’s speed and flexibility with data manipulation. One of the successful test projects I worked on with MongoDB involved a notification delivery system. Through an API that I developed, outside systems and applications were able to connect and send various notifications by email or SMS, alerting users to upcoming events. Because these events were diverse, I needed something with a variable structure; that’s where MongoDB came in as the solution.

EG: What other databases have you worked with, and how does MongoDB compare? If possible, we would love to hear about some specific features you like and/or dislike.

NCR: I have worked with relational databases and MongoDB, but I do not like to compare them; although they both have certain similar functions, the approaches and means through which I address and work with each are quite different. In some projects when I need consistency and data relationship, I use relational databases; when I need flexibility and scalability, I opt for MongoDB. For example, for projects with data from sensors (Arduino, Raspberry, etc.), such sensors can send large volumes of information in a short period of time and the data are very varied from each other. We knew that trying to normalize the data would be too complicated, and therefore focus on saving the data regardless of its origin and structure, with processing later if needed. This particular use case needed both the flexibility and scalability of MongoDB; I see those as the key advantages of MongoDB with respect to other engines in the market.

EG: What inspired you to become MongoDB certified?

NCR: With the modeling approach offered through document databases and the many possibilities that are opening up in the Big Data world, MongoDB was the perfect gateway to new challenges. I also saw MongoDB as an innovator in the database world, and knew that if I perfected my knowledge of it, I could more easily prepare myself for technologies whose concepts were similar.

EG: Could you share which courses you took to prepare for your exam?

NCR: I studied directly from the MongoDB documentation, then did courses M102, M101JS, and M101P. The courses were practical and gave very detailed instructions on the concepts that would appear on the exam. Because I am now involved in more Big Data projects where I need to apply database optimization and integration with other platforms (Hadoop, Spark), I am studying the M201 and M233 courses.

EG: Since becoming certified, what have been some of the benefits – personal or professional – that you’ve experienced? How have you applied, or how do you intend to apply, what you’ve learned to your future projects?

NCR: MongoDB certification has allowed me to participate in strategic projects in my company, and to lend my support to other projects, both by proposing architectures and offering advice to programmers. One of the projects where I’ve been able to apply my MongoDB knowledge is Metric Arts’s Video Analytics, due to its size and range of data possibilities; here, I’ve worked on supporting security issues through camera and fraud detection in public transport.

I’ve also applied MongoDB to a couple of Web projects where I saw the need for a flexible and scalable data model. Presently, I am using MongoDB with Internet of Things (IoT) and Smart City projects to record the information of sensors in different areas and situations. One of these IoT projects involves implementing measures to control crops in Chilean vineyards; this is especially important, because Chile is one of the largest wine producers in the world. Here, where the data of the sensors is varied and lacking defined structure, a NoSQL database is fundamental; MongoDB fulfills the objective of storing and processing data in a more agile way.

EG: For those about to take or retake their exam, do you have any advice or tips that helped you prepare?

NCR: I have several certifications, but with MongoDB, I found the preparation much better – that is, the available material the strongest – since the documentation available on the website paired with the courses cover 100% of the certification subjects. This was not always the case with other certifications.

EG: And finally, what has been your greatest takeaway from your certification experience? What advice or encouragement do you have for those considering pursuing certification?

NCR: The experience was great! From a web development specialist standpoint, I was able to understand more about the databases I work with, and familiarize myself with the corresponding tools. I would advise those preparing for a MongoDB certification to not only read the documentation, but practice taking on projects that have been developed in a relational database environment, and apply it to MongoDB; this will give them a new perspective on the treatment of data, and it is an important step towards tackling Big Data.

Thanks again for taking the time to talk with us, Néstor! If you’re interested in getting professionally certified, you can learn more about the MongoDB certification process. If you’re already certified and would like to share your story, let us know at certification@mongodb.com.

Why Last Year’s Attendees are Coming Back to MongoDB World

We could fill up an entire database with reasons to join us at MongoDB World. But don’t just take our word for it. Read about attendees’ experiences at MongoDB World 2016 and find out why they’re joining us again this year on June 20-21 in Chicago.

Explore 80+ sessions and learn from the experts

“The "Ask an Expert" booth was informative and the engineer walked me through several different possible solutions to an issue we were having at work.”
-- Doug Duncan, Database Administrator

“The best lecture I've been to is the Building WiredTiger session. I loved getting to know the internal staff and the decisions made behind the scenes.”
-- Dror Asaf, Big Data Developer

Connect with community members

“My favorite part about #MDBW16 was meeting and interacting with peers in the community. Go for the learning, but take advantage of the spontaneous opportunities that are presented through personal connections!”
-- William Finch, Sr Database Manager

“Being from Montana, it was the first time I'd ever met anyone else that uses MongoDB in person. It was completely surreal to be surrounded by a room full of people that do what I do, more or less.”
-- Joshua Lawrence Austill, Software Engineer

Learn best practices

“I definitely have more ‘action items’ after this conference than other conferences that I attend because there's so much I want to check in to, read up on, or just learn more about after. I can't wait for this year's edition and hope to meet more of the community!”
-- Michael Grayson, Sr Oracle/MongoDB/MySQL Database Administrator

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MongoDB Certified Professional Spotlight: Anbu Cheeralan

This week, we spoke with Anbu Cheeralan, an Engineering Lead at DoubleVerify, an Adtech product company that authenticates the quality of digital media for the world's largest brands, who became certified as a MongoDB Developer in 2013. Having used MongoDB in various projects throughout his career, Anbu was eager to share his experiences with the database, as well as to discuss the community he’s cultivated through leading his own MongoDB training sessions.

Thanks to his certification, Anbu now has the confidence to assure customers of his MongoDB proficiency, and he’s applying that confidence to all current and future projects he takes on.

Anbu Cheeralan

Eloise Giegerich: Thanks so much for taking the time to share your certification story, Anbu! Let’s begin by discussing your tech background. How did you get your start in tech, and what motivated you to become an Engineering Lead?

Anbu Cheeralan: I completed my BS in Computer Science and Engineering at Madurai Kamaraj University in India, and started working for Cognizant Technology Solutions as a consultant for their Insurance Product division. I have worked with databases for more than 10 years. Back in 2013, I was working on an Insurance use case that gave me my first peek into the NoSQL world; MongoDB in particular attracted me because of its ease of use, especially in getting started. After Cognizant, I worked as a Big Data Consultant for MetLife for two years, where I used MongoDB and Hadoop, before moving to my current role at DoubleVerify in 2015. I like being an engineering lead because it allows me to tackle and solve interesting problems by thoughtfully leading team efforts that draw upon everyone’s strengths.

EG: You mentioned discovering MongoDB when you first began working with NoSQL. What was your database experience like prior to that, and how does MongoDB compare to some of the RDBMS you’ve worked with?

AC: Over the course of my career I’ve used DB2, Hive, HBase, and MongoDB. As a lead developer with a lot of RDBMS experience, I was searching for something new; in 2013, when the above use case presented itself, I recognized that I needed a data model that was dynamic, flexible, and semi-structured. Representing the use case in RDBMS was somewhat awkward and not easily manageable. When I began to branch out and look for something else, I found Polyglot Persistence and NoSQL.

I prefer to use MongoDB when the data model is evolving or changing frequently. The MongoDB client/driver system is more versatile than that of any other system I’ve seen, and the use cases and tooling for MongoDB have grown tremendously over the years, which is impressive.

EG: Can you share some of the specific projects you’ve worked on that used MongoDB?

AC: I have used MongoDB in a couple of interesting projects. In one, I worked with a Group Health Insurance Enrollment System, which adds new insurance applicants and applications into its system at a rapid pace. Another project focused on backend development where I used MongoDB for an auto insurance rule validation, and also as a simple pub/sub queue.

EG: What about MongoDB certification attracted you?

AC: As a consultant, gaining customer confidence is the most important thing. Working in cutting edge technologies adds additional stress to customers and consultants; clients want to know that you’re really proficient with a given technology if you’re going to be using it on their behalf. Being certified can ease that concern and build confidence. For example, when I started working in data modeling with MongoDB, my certification, the credible proof of knowledge, gave my customers the confidence to trust in my abilities to meet their needs. In other words, MongoDB Professional Certification was the obvious way for me to prove that I knew how to use MongoDB.

EG: Which courses did you take, and did you find them challenging? Rewarding?

AC: I enrolled in the M101J, M101JS, M101N, M101P, and M102 courses; I also studied the MongoDB Documentation, Presentations, and the book MongoDB: The Definitive Guide by Kristina Chodorow to help broaden my knowledge. One of the main challenges I encountered was having to unlearn techniques that were suitable for RDBMS but not for MongoDB. As an example, 1:M data modeling is a bit different between RDBMS and MongoDB, depending on how big the M is. It took me some time to fully process this switch; I had to readjust to what was already familiar, innate. But the rewarding part of the process was that the MongoDB University courses were very hands-on and offered just the right-sized chunks of information to digest these new concepts.

EG: How has being certified helped you in your work? Have you seen a tangible change?

AC: As a consultant, being certified in MongoDB has helped me make cases for best practices and convince stakeholders. In the Health Insurance Enrollment System use case, for instance, I was able to effectively model the complex data with MongoDB, which earned me fast approval from experienced Enterprise DBAs.

With my knowledge from the MongoDB University courses, I have also been able to train 40+ consultants in MongoDB development. Through this immense experience, I’ve realized that having the opportunity to teach is often an even better way to learn than being taught. Q&A sessions during these trainings helped all of us gain more insight into MongoDB’s architecture and client APIs.

And in my own projects, as I’ve mentioned, I was able to more seamlessly apply MongoDB to use cases where the data model was not a natural fit for RDBMS and contained semi-structured data.

EG: Looking back, what has been your greatest takeaway from the certification process?

AC: My MongoDB certification has helped me assure that I am following the best practices when I design and develop a solution using MongoDB. I now have the confidence to build the right solution thanks to my strengthened MongoDB knowledge, and the proven ability to demonstrate those skills!


Thanks for talking with us today, Anbu! If you’re interested in getting professionally certified, you can learn more about the MongoDB certification process. If you’re already certified and would like to share your story, let us know at certification@mongodb.com.