Here's this week's roundup of news from the MongoDB community.
Gazzang Advice from a Big Data Pro
I Learn As I Go Along MongoDB Aggregating Fractals
MongoHQ MongoDB Data Management
MongoHQ Q&A with Gild
The MongoDB Blog Visualizing Performance Metrics of a Sharded Cluster with One MMS Chart
The MongoDB Blog The 2013 FinTech Hackathon
The MongoDB Blog Meet Dan Pasette: VP of Engineering for the Server Team
OpenLife The Answer to Last Week’s MongoDB Aggregation Challenge
Reverb Partitioning MongoDB Data on the Fly
Vlad Mihalcea NoSQL is Not Just About Big Data
Vlad Mihalcea MongoDB Facts: Lightning Fast Aggregation
Meet Stacy Ferranti: Campus Recruiting and University Relations Manager
We're excited to introduce you to Stacy Ferranti, our Campus Recruiting and University Relations Manager. What is your role at MongoDB? I manage our Campus Recruiting and University Relations program. I recruit current students and recent graduates to join our summer internship or new grad program. I focus mostly on software engineers and tech recruits. Once the interns and new grads arrive, I manage the summer program and new grad rotational program. I liken what I do to the NFL draft: bringing up college kids to the pros. Where were you before MongoDB? Why did you choose to come to MongoDB? I studied International Politics in school and I thought I’d move to DC and change the world. I took a 180 and moved to Hong Kong instead to live abroad and be young and reckless for a while. After coming back to the states I kind of fell into recruiting. Right before I came to MongoDB I worked for Gap Inc. in their Talent Management Department. When I decided to move to New York, I contacted my network here. A few people I knew at Sequoia Capital referred me to MongoDB. The company had about 30 people at the time and the office was small and a bit intimidating. But after my first interview something sparked; I knew this company was going to be huge and I had to be here no matter what. How did you learn how to pitch MongoDB to students and developers after starting? I actually learned a ton from our co-founder and CTO Eliot Horowitz; he took the time to teach me what a database was and how ours was different. I persistently had lunch with our engineers and asked them to tell me about what they did. But I also spent a lot of time researching on Google, and following the philosophy of “fake it ‘til you make it”. What’s your hometown? I’m from a small mountain town in Southern California called Lake Arrowhead, but since I spent so much time in San Francisco, I consider that my second home. Bike or public transportation to work? I take the subway and brave the crowds at both Grand Central and Times Square. I have to put on my game face for every commute: every woman for herself! I have a bad habit of taking cabs when there is any hint of inclement weather. I hate the rain. What’s a typical day (or week) for you? Fall and spring are very busy since I could be at any number of college campuses across the country; I travel a lot during the recruiting seasons. When I’m not travelling, a typical day would start at 6am when I get up to work out. I go back home for a cup of coffee and start checking my emails. Inevitably I get lost in my emails and don’t get to the office until much later than I had planned. Once I’m in the office, I try to practice time blocking. The morning consists of reading student emails (which always seem to be sent between 12 and 4 am) reviewing resumes, and contacting candidates. I’m usually on the phone from 1 to 6 pm or later. In the summers, I spend the entire day running the internship program and planning for the upcoming fall. What’s the most interesting thing you’ve seen on a resume? I’ve seen some pretty interesting stuff on resumes. A lot of chess champions, and body-builders, people doing standup comedy, many people claiming to be connoisseurs of various types of food. What do you love most about MongoDB? I love the collaboration, transparency, and shared interests and passions I have with my co-workers. MongoDB is creating disruptive technology by developers for developers—it’s not social networking or a fleeting technology that no one will have heard of 10 years from now—which is really important to me. And the people I work with are absolutely amazing. What’s the most challenging aspect of your job? In a world of instant gratification, shiny things, and over the top perks at tech companies it’s so challenging to convey what actually matters in life to college students. What’s one of the most rewarding experiences you’ve had working here so far? I love seeing our summer interns turn into full time employees. When they get shout outs in our company-wide emails for the work they do, it puts me on cloud nine and makes all the long hours and travel beyond worth it! What’s your MongoDB kitchen snack weakness? I’m absolutely addicted to Oreos. Can’t stop, won’t stop! Name one secret skill you have, unrelated to work. I am surprisingly good at identifying and imitating American regional accents. My favorite is Minnesotan. Kindle or book? What’s your favorite book? Books. I’m old school. I love just about anything from John Steinbeck or Annie Proulx. But my favorite book is The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. I really enjoy stories about humans being humans, especially when the ending isn’t particularly happy. Describe your perfect weekend. When I romanticize New York, it’s perpetually fall (when I think New York is most beautiful). I’d start with Friday night dinner at my neighborhood Italian spot with nothing to do the next morning. Then I’d get up early and have coffee at home, leave the house with no agenda and get lost in the city. I’d spend the day discovering new neighborhoods, new restaurants, etc. And if it’s football season, it’s football Sunday (49ers all the way!) What’s your favorite cocktail? I’m always in search of the perfect Bloody Mary or Michelada. What ‘s your dream honeymoon? (Stacy is getting married in July!) Ideally somewhere warm and tropical where I would have nothing to do but enjoy the company of my new husband! If you're interested in joining the MongoDB Team there are a number of open positions available in Engineering, Sales, Marketing, and Business Development. To learn more about open roles at MongoDB, please visit the MongoDB Careers Page.
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!