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 firstname.lastname@example.org.