Back in 2014, while I was working for BuzzFeed, the CTO asked if I wanted to head to MongoDB World. I had some basic understanding of MongoDB and how it made the lives easier for those who studied the information captured when users visited the BuzzFeed website, but that was it.
I’ve always enjoyed attending conferences. They enable me to learn new technology while meeting the people who create and implement it. So I took Mark up on his offer and headed to my first MongoDB World.
I even documented my attendance:
That nifty guidebook, which was also available as a mobile app, sent me on a journey to learn more about MongoDB. It steered me towards sessions on scaling, the benefits of sharding, and hardware selection for MongoDB that prepared me for future changes in technology I couldn’t have predicted at the time.
A few months later, a thing with a dress made my life very interesting. We used MongoDB to collect the data as the event occurred. Having attended MongoDB World, I felt prepared for this record traffic. While our front end web servers may have buckled under some of the pressure, our data layer was rock solid. Rather than feel the pressure, I allowed my training to take control to work alongside my team.
In 2016, after taking a journey further into Cloud Hosting, an opportunity arose for me to become a member of the MongoDB team as they launched MongoDB Atlas. I made sure that one of my primary tasks as part of this was to take part in MongoDB World as a presenter and give my first talk as a member of MongoDB.
Fast forward to MongoDB World 2017, and my name is listed in the session catalogue for the second year straight. I’ll be presenting a Jumpstart Session on MongoDB Operations. Being part of MongoDB World, initially as an attendee and eventually as a member of the MongoDB staff, has been an extraordinary experience. I often think back to my tweet to @MongoDB. The sessions I attended in 2014 lead me to where I am today.
Sessions I’m looking forward to
At MongoDB, we recently released the session catalogue for MongoDB World 2017, June 20-21 in Chicago. As a presenter, I’m always excited to see who my peers are, so I get a chance to attend some of their sessions and meet with them to chat about our experience. We have quite a lineup this year. As a person who's attended this from both sides, I wanted to share a few that are already on my calendar:
A newcomer to MongoDB, Raphael Londner will discuss the important details when developing an application using the AWS Lambda platform along with MongoDB Atlas, MongoDB's DBaaS (Database as a Service). Raphael is taking a really cool step that I did myself. As soon as I joined MongoDB, I shared my operations, AWS, and MongoDB skills. Similarly, Raphael joined our team in 2017 with the goals of helping developers build new applications in easier ways.
As a person who's trained me in the past, Andre Spiegel continues to impress me. He excels at explaining how to cut to the core of your problem and providing you with better ideas to solve it. Extract, Transform, Load (known as ETL) is a method to work with your data warehouse. Andre will cover how traditional methods of dealing with rows and columns can be modernized by using complex documents. He'll also discuss tuning of the bulk loading process. When you're dealing with hundreds of GBs to TBs of data, that loading process is a big deal; luckily Andre's session will help you best prepare and execute.
In 2016, Joseph Fluckinger from Thermo Fisher had a conversation on stage with Eliot Horowitz, MongoDB’s CTO, to discuss much of his team's success with using MongoDB at AWS Re:Invent. I missed this talk and only saw some video clips. Later that night, I had dinner with Joseph and other colleagues. We spoke for hours about how much he enjoyed working with our team to build his talk, and how much the software made a difference to Thermo Fisher.
Hearing how his team replaced so many older SQL technologies with MongoDB to integrate with their tools – including a mass spectrometer – is something I’m really looking forward to.
So as June approaches, I have a ton of work to do to ready myself to present at MongoDB World. But the work is worth it. I look forward to meeting the MongoDB engineers, open-source developers, masters and rookies that will attend. Regardless of skill level, you can build something big for you, your company or your career if you attend MongoDB World. I can't wait to see you there!
What about you?
Take a look at our full list of presenters – anyone standing out you just HAVE to see? Like game designer Jane McGonigal? What's the most interesting subject you have seen in our sessions catalogue? There are three (count em… 1 - 2 - 3) sessions on Kubernetes. We have workouts, yoga, and even an international craft beer tasting.
I hope you and possibly the rest of your team make it. We’d love to have you join us for our biggest event of the year. For more information on MongoDB World sessions, visit mongodbworld.com.
The Modern Application Stack – Part 4: Building a Client UI Using Angular 2 (formerly AngularJS) & TypeScript
The Rise of the Strategic Developer
The work of developers is sometimes seen as tactical in nature. In other words, developers are not often asked to produce strategy. Rather, they are expected to execute against strategy, manifesting digital experiences that are defined by the “business.” But that is changing. With the automation of many time-consuming tasks -- from database administration to coding itself -- developers are now able to spend more time on higher value work, like understanding market needs or identifying strategic problems to solve. And just as the value of their work increases, so too does the value of their opinions. As a result, many developers are evolving, from coders with their heads-down in the corporate trenches to highly strategic visionaries of the digital experiences that define brands. “I think the very definition of ‘developer’ is expanding,” says Stephen “Stennie” Steneker, an engineering manager on the Developer Relations team at MongoDB. “It’s not just programmers anymore. It’s anyone who builds something.” Stennie notes that the learning curve needed to build something is flattening. Fast. He points to an emerging category of low code tools like Zapier, which allows people to stitch web apps together without having to write scripts or set up APIs. “People with no formal software engineering experience can build complex automated workflows to solve business problems. That’s a strategic developer.” Many other traditional developer tasks are being automated as well. At MongoDB, for example, we pride ourselves on removing the most time-consuming, low-value work of database administration. And of course, services like GitHub Copilot are automating the act of coding itself. So what does this all mean for developers? A few things: First, move to higher ground. In describing one of the potential outcomes of GitHub Copilot, Microsoft CTO Kevin Scott said, ““It may very well be one of those things that makes programming itself more approachable.” When the barriers to entry for a particular line of work start falling, standing still is not an option. It’s time to up your strategic game by offering insight and suggestions on new digital experiences that advance the objectives of the business. Second, accept more responsibility. A strategic developer is someone who can conceive, articulate, and execute an idea. That also means you are accountable for the success or failure of that idea. And as Stennie reminded me, “There are more ways than ever before to measure the success of a developer’s work.” And third, never stop skilling. Developers with narrow or limited skill sets will never add strategic value, and they will always be vulnerable to replacement. Like software itself, developers need to constantly evolve and improve, expanding both hard and soft skills. How do you see the role of the developer evolving? Any advice for those that aspire to more strategic roles within their organizations? Reach out and let me know what you think at @MarkLovesTech .