After nearly 100 years as the largest U.S. based business media brand, Forbes has established itself as a technology leader in the news industry. To compete in a new mobile environment, Forbes designed a next-generation mobile application to better engage users with their stories. They turned to MongoDB to create a new infrastructure for engaging and dynamic content.
Steven Bond, the group director for the Forbes.com Software Development Team, chose MongoDB for its intuitive web interface, ease of use, and low cost. Says Bond of his experience with MongoDB, “it just works.”
MongoDB made it possible for Forbes.com to store all of its data in a single database. This database contains information on nearly one million articles from thousands of global contributors and more than one hundred twenty thousand users, companies and place list entries. With MongoDB, Forbes is able to aggregate its data, connect it to its mobile and web applications, and integrate partner feeds from a centralized location, creating a rich user experience.
“The beauty of MongoDB is that we can constantly evolve without reengineering our entire approach,” says Bond. In his next project, Bond aims to use social media statistics to predict where users will consume content in the future and the kinds of content that will drive traffic. With MongoDB, Bond will help Forbes change how news is consumed and understood.
Using Big Data for Humanitarian Crisis Mapping
In the wake of natural disasters like Typhoon Haiyan, which brought widespread destruction to the Philippines several weeks ago, data management tools have become a critical component of the post-disaster landscape. Aid groups are monitoring tweets and instant messages where the infrastructure exists to support them, while tracking local news reports on the ground to find the areas suffering the greatest damage, directing resources to those most in need. Sourcing data can significantly improve the efforts of aid initiatives after a disaster. Big data for development, or data philanthropy, streamlines crisis management and prevention by using data processing tools to anticipate and respond to humanitarian emergencies. Initiatives like the UN Global Pulse team are using data to find the “digital smoke signals of distress” that can appear months before showing up on official reports. Real-time data monitoring using social networks, cell phones, blogs, and online commerce platforms can alert the team to indicators of social distress or natural disaster. And with the capacity to recognize these trends comes the ability to prepare the right aid or prevention plan that could save lives. What Big Data Can Do Big data can create a clear picture of a disaster’s regional effects. A program called Ushahidi sourced eyewitness reports (in person and through social media) of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. The reports’ data became a live crisis map, showing where victims lay buried under collapsed buildings and where aid was most needed. After Typhoon Bopha in the Philippines last year, the Digital Humanitarian Initiative used over 20,000 social media messages to create a map of the storm’s impact and determine where to send aid first. Some organizations believe data for development can soothe social discontent. CNN reported that the U.S. State Department has analyzed data to try and prevent conflict from starting or escalating. Its Conflict and Stabilization Operations office analyzes behavioral patterns and semantic trends in social media to anticipate threats to peace while designing strategies to thwart potential outbreaks of violence. Partnerships For Philanthropy As the data philanthropy movement grows, the tech industry will be observing which companies and corporations are the first to join this global project. Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram might help us move towards a future where disease or disaster can be instantly monitored and possibly prevented, or where the spread of poverty can be stopped in its tracks. The success of these new ventures will not only depend on the determination of the people who work on them. Small humanitarian initiatives will need to develop partnerships with the larger corporations that control telecommunications and census data. Without access to big data or the proper processing tools, data philanthropy groups will not be able to keep up with the demands of crises happening in real time. Going Forward The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs released a report this past June on the importance of big data and humanitarianism. Finding ways to improve humanitarian aid services with data is one of the great challenges and opportunities of our age. But accessing data is not necessarily straightforward. Negotiating with data providers can be difficult and privacy concerns could make corporations unwilling to participate. And while big data processing can be used to improve lives, it should augment existing data gathering methods, not replace them. MongoDB has helped several organizations use data mining to augment public service . The city of Chicago used MongoDB to design WindyGrid , a geographic information system providing a unified view of the city’s operations across a map. Including real-time data like 911 and 311 service calls, critical information is geospatially enabled and tracked to help the Chicago’s Emergency Management and Communications Office handle events or crises across the city. To explore the frontiers of physics, CERN built a Data Aggregation System (DAS) on MongoDB to help physicists search for and aggregate information across complex data landscapes. The data and metadata CERN handles are constantly evolving, but the DAS allows researchers to find information with text based queries, aggregating the results from distributed providers while preserving integrity and security. While these companies haven’t used data mining directly for humanitarian aid, mining data with MongoDB can easily be adapted to philanthropic service. Data philanthropy has the potential to influence humanitarian efforts and change how we understand the scope of big data. As these aid organizations grow in influence, it will be interesting to see how the industry shifts to make room for this new use of data.
Being Latine in Tech: Two MongoDB Employees Share Their Advice on Building Careers in Engineering
Ashley Naranjo and Martin Bajana, members of MongoDB’s employee resource group QueLatine, share their career journeys and offer insight into how other members of the Latine community can build careers in tech. Jackie Denner: How did you make your way into the tech industry? Ashley Naranjo: I am a first-generation Latina with a passion for Information Technology and a knack for problem-solving. After graduating early from high school, I embarked on a career in Nursing. I chose Nursing initially because I wanted to make a difference and help others, but my path took an unexpected turn when COVID-19 reshaped our world. In light of the circumstances, I reevaluated my options and decided to seize an opportunity with a program called Year Up . During the intensive six-month training and deployment phase, I not only completed rigorous coursework but also obtained IT Google Coursera certifications and actively pursued CompTIA certifications. This experience allowed me to secure an internship at Meta (Facebook) as an Enterprise Operation IT Support Tech, where my love for technology blossomed. During my time at Meta, I had the privilege of assisting diverse Meta users worldwide with a wide range of technical issues, including troubleshooting, software and hardware support, internal access permissions, and more. The exposure to a global tech environment further fueled my passion for the field. When my internship concluded, I was offered a 1-year contract role with Meta to continue my work as a support tech for the same team. Throughout that year, I immersed myself in all aspects of technology, maximizing my learning opportunities and applying my networking skills. As time went on, I knew I needed a new challenge. This led me to embark on a search for an exciting role, which eventually brought me to MongoDB. I am passionate about driving technological innovation, and MongoDB is a place where I can make an impact. Martin Bajana: My interest in technology stems from a variety of sources. From a young age, I developed a strong passion for video games and exploring new technologies. Whether it was experimenting with the latest gaming consoles or delving into computer hardware, I relished the opportunity to learn and understand the inner workings of these technologies. In school, I discovered my affinity for mathematics, which further solidified my decision to pursue a career in the tech industry. Choosing to study computer science in college was a natural progression for me, as it allowed me to combine my love for technology with my aptitude for problem-solving. After completing my education, I was recruited by Verizon, where I worked on front-end applications and Android development. Although the transition was initially challenging, I persevered and regained my confidence. It was during this period that I realized a career in technology was my long-term aspiration. Throughout my tenure at Verizon, I embraced opportunities to work across various teams, acquiring valuable experience and honing my skills. Eventually, I made the decision to join MongoDB, which has provided me with an enriching journey and the chance to shape my career in the tech industry. JD: Have there been any challenges you've faced throughout your career? AN: Imposter syndrome has been a significant challenge for me throughout my career, and it's something I still deal with to this day. When surrounded by my talented colleagues, I would often compare myself to them and focus on my perceived weaknesses and flaws, leading to a lack of self-confidence. However, I tackled this issue by addressing my feelings with my manager. Her support and guidance helped me realize my own potential and acknowledge my accomplishments. Maintaining a positive mindset has enabled me to view myself as a competent engineer and recognize the value I bring to my team. I have learned to take ownership of my successes and embrace opportunities for growth. Stepping out of my comfort zone has become a regular practice, as personal and professional development often stems from embracing challenges and discomfort. By giving myself permission to take up space and be confident in my abilities, I have been able to overcome imposter syndrome and continue to thrive in my role. MB: I have been fortunate enough to work for companies and teams that value and respect me for the work I deliver. Being in the tech industry and growing up in a culturally diverse region of the country, I have had exposure to individuals from various backgrounds and identities, which has made me more comfortable as a Latinx individual in the industry. My personal goal is to promote a work environment where everyone is judged based on the contributions they bring to the team, rather than their identity. I believe in supporting and respecting the identities of my peers and coworkers while fostering a culture of inclusivity and equality. JD: How has MongoDB supported your career growth and development? AN: In my time working at MongoDB, I have experienced exceptional support that has greatly contributed to my professional development and growth. As an engineer at MongoDB, I have been provided with numerous opportunities to expand my knowledge and skills through participation in tech talks, hackathons, and continuous learning about emerging technologies. I am grateful for the proactive approach taken by my manager and team leaders in fostering my growth as an engineer. Additionally, MongoDB's commitment to diversity and inclusion is evident through the company's DEI initiatives. Platforms like our employee resource group “QueLatine” have made me feel a stronger sense of connection and belonging, particularly among my Latinx peers. By recognizing the power of our diverse backgrounds and experiences, MongoDB empowers us to have a meaningful impact in the industry. MB: I have experienced full support from my leader since day one. They have proactively sought to understand my career goals and have helped me create a clear career path to achieve those goals. This level of support has enabled me to take on challenging projects and initiatives within the company, allowing me to grow and develop in my career. Furthermore, MongoDB offers a wealth of learning and development resources to its employees, which I have fully utilized to continue learning and growing my skill set. JD: What is your advice for other Latines who want to begin careers in tech? AN: Having made a significant career change myself, I can empathize with the challenges that come with exploring new paths, particularly in the tech industry. As a Latina in tech, I feel a strong desire to encourage and raise awareness within our community about the incredible resources and opportunities that are available to us. My advice to others who may be considering a similar journey is to prioritize the continuous development of your technical skills, actively seek out mentoring opportunities, push yourself beyond your comfort zone by honing your networking abilities, and most importantly, believe in yourself and your ability to achieve great things! MB: Navigating the vast world of technology can certainly be overwhelming, but it's important not to fear feeling lost. Even after 12 years in this career, there are still days where I come across something I've never heard of before. Fortunately, we live in a world abundant with resources for continuous learning. My advice is to take the time to explore and ask questions. Seek out open-source projects that you can contribute to, and connect with other professionals in the tech industry who can share their experiences and provide guidance. Additionally, taking advantage of hackathons and other tech events can expose you to new technologies and ideas. Don't be afraid to make mistakes, and most importantly, don't give up! Join us in transforming the way developers work with data. Build your tech career at MongoDB .