This past August, MongoDB sponsored the “AfroTech: Tech is Still Hiring Virtual Summit.” During this session, our leaders provided personal stories and insights about what a successful career in technology looks like.
MongoDB panelists included:
- Stephanie Samuels, Regional Director, Sales
- Tosin Ajayi, Sr. Manager, WW Solutions Architecture
- Wisdom Omuya, Engineering Director, Atlas Data Lake
The panel was moderated by Danielle James, Diversity and Inclusion Manager at MongoDB. Panelists shared actionable advice you can apply today, including how to build a roadmap for personal success, ways to bounce back from challenges, the importance of communicating your value, where to find support during your leadership journey, and more. Hear their thoughts:
What specific skills are required to become a leader in your field?
How do you handle tough feedback constructively?
How do you differentiate yourself from others?
How do you communicate the value of your work?
How do you bounce back from a mistake or conflict?
What should someone do if they believe they're ready for a promotion, but their manager feels otherwise?
How can someone prepare for MongoDB's technical interview?
What rituals have helped you accelerate your career?
What can people do today to help them have a successful career?
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!
Join MongoDB in supporting organizations fighting for racial justice and equal opportunity. Donate to the MongoDB for Justice fund by December 31, 2020 and MongoDB will match the donation up to $250,000. Learn more.
Employee Spotlight: MongoDB Product Manager Talks About His Role And The Company’s Push For Inclusivity
Editor's note: This was originally published on AfroTech's Website . Having a game plan for your career can help you reach monumental milestones and attain goals that not only benefit yourself, but the greater good of the company that you work for. Just ask product manager (PM) at MongoDB, Garaudy Etienne, who has succeeded at the company by using his expertise of processing data to help fuel product growth. Thanks to his engineering and business background, Etienne helps elevate MongoDB products to a higher level of success in the industry’s competitive landscape. The product manager knows the in-and-outs of tech and advocates for inclusivity in the workplace too. Etienne spoke with AfroTech to share an inside look into his unique experience working at MongoDB as a product manager and how he’s using his impact to dismantle offensive database terminology through the master/slave removal project. AfroTech: Tell us about your background and your role as a PM with MongoDB? Etienne: I’ve been a product manager for three years and was previously an aerospace engineer. I grew up in Haiti, Belgium and New Jersey. I obtained my bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from Princeton University and my MBA from the University of Chicago. I’m a product manager for the sharding team at MongoDB. Sharding is the process of splitting up a customer’s data over several smaller computers instead of one giant computer. At a certain scale, it is a cost-effective way of storing and processing more data for most companies. Our team is responsible for making sure the data is split in a way that lets websites or apps stay fast as they continue to grow. This means if an app grows to millions of users, they can still read or write information to their database without any issues. AfroTech: What experience(s) prepared you the most for this role? Etienne: My engineering background combined with my MBA have most prepared me for this role. Knowing that I wanted to be a product manager before attending business school helped me focus my learnings and efforts with that singular goal. AfroTech: How were you recruited/promoted/hired into this role? Etienne: Believe it or not, I just went to MongoDB’s website and applied for a “Product Manager, Distributed Systems” posting the company had. I received an email shortly after, asking to set up a phone interview with the recruiter. I’d like to point out that this is not a recommended approach. It’s best to connect with an employee and get some more information about the company and a referral, if possible. AfroTech: What exactly does being a Product Manager mean? Etienne: First, let’s define what a product is: a product is anything you create for other people to use. Being a PM is all about helping the company build a better product. It’s about discovering what to build (and not build) for our customers and when to build it. This means setting a strategy and vision for the product so the engineers see a maximum impact for their efforts. I do this mainly by asking lots of questions, talking to customers, and talking to other teams close to customers, such as customer success managers, technical services engineers, and solutions architects. AfroTech: What inspired you to become a Product Manager? Etienne: I knew that I was interested in business in college. When I finally decided that aerospace was no longer for me, I knew I wanted to still be involved in technology but in a business capacity. I did some research to see what career paths were at the intersection of business and technology. I also spoke to a coworker who was applying to business school at the time to get his thoughts. The more I researched, the more I believed that product management was the right path for me. Photo Credit: Garaudy Etienne, Product Manager, Server at MongoDB kicks off MongoDB's 2019 Black History Month event hosted by TUPOC/Mongodb AfroTech: What’s important to know/do once in the role, and what are the career advancement opportunities for a Product Manager at MongoDB? Etienne: Once in the role, it is important to focus and learn to say no. Requests come from all over the place. It can be customers, sales, marketing, engineers. Not only can you not please everyone, but not every request will lead to a better product. As far as PM career advancement opportunities at MongoDB, there is always plenty when a company is growing, and growing fast. For me, this means soon becoming a Senior PM, then leading a team as a Lead PM. We’ve just hired two Directors of Product on my team, which is the next step after Lead PM. If you don’t want to manage people, there’s always the opportunity to manage much bigger or more important products. AfroTech: How does your role as a Product Manager at MongoDB differ from others? Etienne: One huge difference between being a PM at MongoDB and other places I’ve worked is that I don’t have to spend time managing project timelines. At my previous role, I spent 60 percent of my time managing project timelines. The majority of my time is now focused on discovering/solving customer issues and figuring out how our team’s product fits into the overall company vision and the competitive landscape. In addition, I have been empowered to set the entire strategy for sharding. I recently had a meeting with our Chief Product Officer, where I laid out our plan for the next three to five years. I have never had that kind of autonomy before. It is pretty standard for all other product managers at the company, no matter the level. AfroTech: How do you think your company is making the working environment more inclusive? Etienne: The company has taken several steps to make working there more inclusive. Some of them predate my arrival, such as the parity pledge. The parity pledge promises to interview at least one female candidate for every job opening of director and above. The company is currently undertaking an effort to remove offensive database terminology such as “master/slave” and “whitelist/blacklist” from our code base. Senior leadership has reached out to Black employees to continually get their input and feedback. MongoDB also recently made Juneteenth a company holiday. I personally felt like I mattered a little more when our CEO spoke about the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd before it became just another PR ploy for tech companies. AfroTech: Tell us about your role as an advisor on the master/slave removal project? Etienne: The master/slave removal project started back in January. I have been involved in the discussion from the beginning. I was a staunch advocate for making the changes to older versions of MongoDB when we were debating whether or not to just do it for our latest version onwards. These changes will take close to a year of engineering effort, and it was a good opportunity to challenge the company’s commitment to Black people because this affects our bottom line. I have been in every meeting, from defining the scope of the project, to the design and implementation, and I’ve had to be involved both as a product manager and as a Black employee. AfroTech: Is there anything else you would like to add? Etienne: I wish MongoDB was a more well known company by the layperson. I think a lot of great Black employees in tech are missing out on an awesome company because we’re in the database space and our main users are developers. I’m hoping to do my part to democratize access to information about both MongoDB and product management for Black people in tech. 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! 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 .
A Year of Thrill: Celebrating the New MongoDB University
Staying ahead in the ever-evolving tech world is like being on a rollercoaster - it’s exciting but it can also make your head spin! When we set out to revamp MongoDB University , we wanted to provide developers with frictionless access to the learning content they needed to conquer their challenges. It’s been one year since the launch and we are over the moon about how far the new MongoDB University has come - a one-stop hub with fresh certifications and new content, all available online. But none of this would have been possible without the incredible support of our engaged learners who have embarked on this ride with us. Our commitment to delivering top-notch educational resources has been nothing short of award-winning, earning us the prestigious Silver Excellence Award from the Brandon Hall Group in the category of ‘Best Advance in Creating an Extended Enterprise Learning Program’. The success of the new University has also been featured at industry events, including Cognition and the Customer Education Management Association Conference. So, let’s buckle up and take a tour through the revamped MongoDB University! New content With over 1,000 learning assets, including videos, hands-on labs, code recaps, quizzes, and courses, there’s something for everyone. Plus, now we have you covered with language subtitles in Chinese (Traditional and Simplified), Korean, Spanish, Deutsch, Japanese, Italian, French, and Portuguese. The best part? All of the content is free, online, and you can take your time and learn at your own pace. Let’s explore three of our newest courses: Data Modeling for MongoDB: This course guides you through the foundational steps of creating an effective data model in MongoDB, including identifying entities and workloads, mapping and modeling relationships between entities, and using key schema design patterns. Atlas Essentials: In this course, you’ll gain the foundational knowledge and skills needed to use MongoDB Atlas, the multi-cloud developer data platform. MongoDB for SQL Professionals: This course will help you leverage your SQL skills to get started with MongoDB quickly. You can practice what you learn and gain valuable real-world skills with labs hosted in our in-browser development environment. The new experience allows you to explore hands-on exercises as part of our courses, or you can dive directly into a standalone lab . The labs include step-by-step instructions that guide you through each scenario and even provide hints along the way. And for those looking for nuggets of MongoDB wisdom, explore the catalog of over 30 Learning Bytes . These short videos cover a wide variety of topics and are designed to help you get the knowledge you need quickly. New certifications Our freshly revamped certifications are recognized by professional institutions and are your ticket to having your knowledge and skills formally validated and recognized by MongoDB. They are a great way to elevate yourself in your current role and increase your marketability for future roles. Certifications come with bragging rights, inclusion in the Credly Talent Directory, and a shiny Credly badge that makes it easy for you to share your achievement. So, let’s explore the two new certifications: MongoDB Associate Developer: Certify that you possess the essential skills to create beginner-level applications utilizing MongoDB as a backing database for Java, Python, C#, PHP, or Java applications. MongoDB Associate Database Administrator: Validate your MongoDB database administration skills by certifying your knowledge of building, supporting, and securing MongoDB infrastructure. And if you need a boost, once you complete one of the certification learning paths you will automatically unlock a 50% discount on a certification exam. Educators and students can check out the Academia program to learn how to receive a free exam. All aboard! This is just the beginning of the adventure and we are excited for what is yet to come. So, fasten your seatbelt, and let’s keep learning together! With over 1,000 learning assets, MongoDB University has what you need to pick up new skills and advance your career. Explore free courses, practice with hands-on labs, and earn MongoDB certifications.