Devsharp 2018 was held in Gdansk on September 21st, 2018 in the Stary Maneż cultural center. It’s only 15 min away from the Airport so it’s very easy to go there and of course, all the conference were in English.
This free conference was such a victim of its success that they had to increase the number of places. Initially planned for 250 persons, about 400 passionate developers answered the call.
The conference was sponsored by IHS Markit, automotiveMastermind, Carfax and of Course, MongoDB. Seven talks were planned during the day from Microsoft, 8x8, and JetBrains for example.
I also happen to have a slot to speak about MongoDB Atlas & MongoDB Stitch and I explained how you could benefit from our platforms to accelerate and simplify your interactions with your data.
I shared my presentation here so feel free to have a look but I have made a lot of live demos leveraging MongoDB Compass, MongoDB Charts, MongoDB Atlas and MongoDB Stitch so make sure to come and see me on stage next time :-).
I would definitely recommend this conference, especially if you are a C# developer so please feel free to join us next year.
It was also my largest audience I have spoken to so far. I am really proud and I can’t wait to go again next year :-). Special thanks to the team for your warm welcome!
The MongoDB Summer ‘18 Intern Series: From Learning How a Computer Works to Helping Build MongoDB Stitch
Most interns joining us for the MongoDB summer engineering program are in the process of pursuing a degree in computer science and come looking for a hands-on, impactful work experience. As a sophomore in high school, Julia Ruddy was introduced to computer science in a basic CS class that received so much positive feedback, her school introduced an Advanced Topics in CS course to the curriculum for her senior year. When Julia started her freshman year at Princeton University, she decided to pursue a degree in electrical engineering and joined us this summer as one of three interns on our Stitch team. Andrea Dooley : Why did you decide to declare electrical engineering as your major? Julia Ruddy : The Advanced Topics course in high school went very low level. We started the course working with transistors and proceeded to build up to the level of writing a Tetris game. It was interesting to see how it all fit together from transistors and binary to code you can write a program on. It was at that point I considered electrical engineering because as interested as I was in CS, electrical engineering gives you the opportunity to see what’s under the hood. I wanted to understand how a computer worked from 1s and 0s to building something like MongoDB. AD : So you’ll graduate with a degree in Electrical Engineering. What experience have you had with Computer Science? JR : One of my priorities was to keep up with the computer science schedule, so I took a lot of upper-level CS classes. Last summer during an internship at an early stage startup, my work consisted of half hardware and half software. Through that internship, I learned I didn’t want to work in the hardware space. I liked the hardware aspect of my work but found I enjoyed my days doing software more. Although I love learning about it, I find building hardware from scratch to be very tedious, and it’s hard to debug. Also, I find the software industry as a whole more intriguing. AD : How did you first learn about MongoDB? JR : A good friend of mine from Princeton interned here last summer and encourage me to attend the open house. It seemed like a cool place to work and piqued my interest. When I got deeper into the search I found MongoDB especially attractive because it’s an established company, but smaller in size. I know sometimes at larger organizations your work can get lost, but my friend vouched for the work he did here, and that it impacted the business. AD : As someone not fully immersed in CS as other intern candidates might be, did you find the interview to be particularly difficult? JR : From my experience, software interviews, in general, follow a similar pattern regarding data structure and algorithms. I did a ton of prep in those areas, ensuring I was very familiar with them. During my interviews here, everyone was very approachable and easy to talk to and the conversations flowed naturally. If my interviewers had any hesitations regarding my experience, I didn’t notice them. AD : What team are you working on this summer? JR : I was given my first choice, which was to work on the Stitch team. Stitch is a serverless platform designed to help people focus on the interesting and exciting pieces of their applications, rather than get bogged down with boilerplate and tedious back end code. It’s a newer team for a relatively new product, as well as something people are talking a lot about. I wanted to be on a team that was on the forefront of the upcoming MongoDB release. AD : What project are you working on for Stitch? JR : There is no one concrete project within Stitch. I’ve been picking up tickets, some bigger than others, working on both the front end and back end. Going into my internship, I had zero front end experience and I felt that if I wanted to become a respected full stack engineer, I needed to change that. So, my goal for the summer was to pick up as many UI tickets as I could. I actually really enjoyed front end development and learned a lot. Overall, this summer I’ve been able to work on many different things, which I find to be more similar to what a day in the life of a full-time engineer would be like. I now know what a career in software engineering entails, and it’s fun! AD : What’s one of the bigger tickets you were able to work on? JR : One of the bigger tickets was to create a generic AWS service in the UI, which allows for an extra layer of ease for our users. They used to have to edit code themselves to do more specific actions, but now they can choose from a drop down. I’ve also been working through a series of UI tickets for Stitch usage metrics, which is a real time visual representation for users to see how much data they’ve used, and how many transactions they’ve done, which will help with transparency in billing. AD : Aside from project work, what has been one of the most memorable aspects of your internship? JR : I worked with a group of interns on a project for Skunkworks, MongoDB’s internal hackathon. We built a computer game for people with minimal technical skills, to help them get familiar with MongoDB query language. The user plays a detective, and the goal is to solve the mystery of the missing emerald leaf in the MongoDB museum by querying databases. When the detective is completing one of the tasks to help solve the mystery, there is a prompt to drag and drop the proper argument into the query. We made it to the final round to present the game to the entire office and won the award for “Most Fun.” AD : Is there anything you learned during your time at MongoDB that surprised you? JR : I found the Speaker Series with our CPO [Chief People Officer] Dan Heasman to be really interesting mostly because it’s the side of a company I don’t ever think about. The idea that there is someone dedicated to fostering a great culture, managing how people interact, and maintaining the vibe is new to me, but he was so clear and concise in his approach I learned that there actually is a science to making people feel comfortable and welcome at work. AD : What’s one key takeaway from your experience as a MongoDB intern? JR : After this internship, I can confidently say software engineering is what I want to pursue after I graduate. One of my worries beforehand was that it was an isolated career, where you code all day and don’t have much interaction with other people, but my experience at MongoDB has shown me that there are always people willing to help, and asking for help, and there is a lot of collaboration in between. It’s been really rewarding to be able to write code that fits into a massive code base like MongoDB, as opposed to working on an isolated project as I would perhaps at another internship, or at school.
How Thoughtful Illustration Is Setting MongoDB Apart: Meet Champa Lo
I sat down with Champa Lo, Technical Illustrator based in our New York headquarters, to learn more about her role as the first full-time illustrator at MongoDB. We talked about her passion for illustration, what she does, and how she’s shaping the future of design within the company. Ashley Perez: Welcome to the team! Can you tell me about your role? Champa Lo: Sure. I joined MongoDB right before COVID-19 hit. I came into the headquarters twice for an interview but ended up being one of the first new hires who had to start at home, on top of being the first person in a brand-new role. Technical Illustration is a first for MongoDB. The company has never had an illustrator on hand. Although we have talented designers who can illustrate within a design, that’s not their main focus: the overall design is. The difference with my role is that I work specifically on illustration. I also work to define the illustration style and help create a style guide. The most important aspect of my job is building good relationships with people throughout the company. I need to understand their goals and what they’re looking for so I can tell a purely visual story. AP: How did you get into illustration? CL: I guess you can say I fell into it (at least the illustration part). I always knew I wanted to be a graphic designer early on. I was a mentee for a graphic designer in high school and absolutely fell in love with the profession. I even have a cute clipping from my senior year high school paper where I talk about my dreams of being a designer. Interview excerpt from Champa's senior-year high school newspaper After high school, I studied graphic design at the University of Colorado Denver. When I was in the design program, I always found ways to incorporate fun illustrations in my projects. A year after I graduated, I moved to New York City because there were more jobs in design there and landed a job that allowed me to put my illustrating skills to good use. My first job was working with an incredible Creative Director at a small startup who built an amazing brand using illustrations to convey the company’s goals and messages. This was a part-time job: for four hours a day, I would concentrate on illustrating bespoke email banners for marketing prompts the team created that morning. With her guidance, I saw my illustration skills grow. It showed me the possibility of being a full-time illustrator. Here’s an example of a design I did while I was there: Email banner Champa created for ThinkEco during her first job as illustrator I love to illustrate (especially this type of illustration) because I’m a designer by trade, and the core of designing is to problem-solve. Illustration is no different. As a Technical Illustrator, I simplify and visualize complicated theories and concepts. Also, it’s fun! If I’m not having fun while illustrating, I’m very unmotivated. My creativity relies on avoiding boredom. I’m always working to improve my artistic skills. I’m a lover of learning, so I subscribe to tutorial sites such as Skillshare; follow artists on YouTube who share tutorials; and subscribe to a monthly art box that sends paints, brushes, pens, and so forth so I can try new mediums. Champa's illustration for a Google Local Guides social media post AP: How do you make your illustrations purposeful, engaging, and memorable? CL: Having thoughtful conversations about the subject matter is how you get good designs and illustration. If you don’t understand the subject to the best of your ability, how can you be successful at visualizing it? In school, I was taught to always research your subject matter and not design blindly. Putting in the extra work makes a huge difference. That’s also why 1:1 meetings are so important. It’s a time for me to learn, and it’s also a creative process for the stakeholders, because they find creative ways to help me understand. GIF Champa created for a MongoDB University Page We want to understand the goal. For example, should the illustration be futuristic or nostalgic? Recently, we had a conversation about cars and how we wanted to present them for a project. We decided to design the cars as compact or electric to show MongoDB as forward thinking and environmentally conscious, because those are the kinds of people we want to hire and work with. Or take COVID-19, for instance. The pandemic has changed the way people illustrate office environments. No longer do you have teams sitting in conference rooms. Instead, you have people working at home. So, I had to think of things to illustrate such as a sofa, home desk, and desk lamp. Maybe even a dog or a child. We thought about how we could incorporate this into the Zoom interface. Before, we didn’t have to think about it. Now, Zoom can be a way to add some personality to everyone’s digital space as we work remotely. That’s what I’m here for. To have those conversations and get deeper behind the meaning of everything we create. AP: Let’s talk a little more about your role at MongoDB. What projects do you work on? CL: I’m part of the Visual Design Team, which supports the whole company. It’s fun to meet and talk to many different people at MongoDB. It gives us a lot of diversity in the projects we work on. Along with illustrations, I also work on diagrams and small animations. Projects include campaigns, web illustrations, and events. Because I’ve joined the team, we’re able to have fuller discussions about illustration. Our designers work in a fast-paced world, but my process is slower because I make more bespoke illustrations and have to talk to people to understand the technicalities so we can go beyond generic illustrations. I have to be more thoughtful of what we’re presenting to the audience. Even though by having these conversations I slow down how quickly the designers move, I'm striving to build stronger relationships on the team through this practice. Top left: Champa’s illustration for MongoDB's new multi-cloud feature. Bottom right: An illustration for MongoDB's vendors page. I have found that by showing and explaining my illustration process and inviting them into it, people seem to trust me more. For example, I always share my sketches with stakeholders before digitizing the work. My sketches aren’t perfect, but by showing them not-so-perfect work, we can build the relationship and align on ideas. My hope is that the sketches allow people to see I’m open for collaboration and conversation. Example of a project working with MongoDB's Web Design team from initial sketch through final illustration AP: How does having these conversations help your design? CL: Great question! Working with such a diversity of people and projects helps me gain an immense amount of knowledge and insight. Past conversations and concerns help inform my design decisions. I’m almost like a liaison for all these different departments, and it's nice to transfer the information so we’re all aligned. For example, I’ve been working closely with Product Marketing on diagrams, and soon I’ll be working on diagrams with a member from the Docs team, too. Each team has taken its own paths for diagrams, but I would love to eventually create a holistic style that works for all teams beyond just these two. I believe having a good process to follow leads to meaningful and engaging illustrations. However, it’s important to find balance. You can’t overengineer it, because that can easily turn unproductive and formulaic. I always want an open dialogue and strive to show there’s room to collaborate. The process we have created has been successful so far, but it’s not set in stone. Further along we can add another step, or we may find certain things aren’t needed. AP: What’s your creative vision for MongoDB? CL: My goal for illustration is that we are inclusive, diverse, and thoughtful. What I’ve seen here is a global company full of people who are very passionate and kind. As designers, we have the power to show who and what MongoDB is. For me, that’s showing off who we are. One of our company’s values is “Own What You Do.” I think it’s such an important one for designers, because we should always add our personal experiences and perspectives to our work and translate the rest of the company’s perspectives and experiences, too. For the team, my goal is to continue streamlining a process so we’re transparent and support a collaborative spirit when it comes to working with us. Champa’s illustration for the MongoDB Atlas onboarding experience My goal is to create a unified vision between our two audiences: developer and enterprise customers. My hope is the illustrations bring joy and delight, and that our audiences see MongoDB has a personality. A really effective illustration system is memorable, and our research is starting to show that our audiences are beginning to remember our visuals. This is a huge brand lift, creating a personal experience versus the cold one people may experience with other tech brands. 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!