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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.