Your weekly roundup of MongoDB news from the community:
MongoHQ: Saving Private Functions
Foursquare Blog: Mongo on Hadoop
MongoSoup: Introducing the MongoSoup MongoDB Podcast
MongoLab: Managing Disk Space in MongoDB
The MongoDB Blog: Meet Emily Stolfo: Ruby Engineer
Meet Emily Stolfo: Ruby Engineer
Meet Emily Stolfo, a Ruby Engineer on the drivers team. What is your role at MongoDB? I’m a Ruby engineer on the drivers team. I also help build the Ruby community by speaking at meetups, conferences and hacker schools and teaching Rails at Columbia University. Where were you before MongoDB? Why did you choose to come to MongoDB? After getting degrees in Computer Science and Art History, I worked in the arts, technology and the crossroads of art/technology. While completing a Masters in museum studies at the Louvre a few years ago, I learned Ruby on Rails to build an application for researchers in the museum’s conservation institute. I then moved back to NYC and began working as a web developer at an online art seller in the same building as MongoDB. We used MongoDB for storing metadata on our artists and artwork. I made a lot of friends in the sluggish elevator, and then officially became one of the gang. What’s your hometown? I'm from northern New Jersey. Only the strong survive. Did you have previous experience using MongoDB before you arrived? If so, how are things different now that you work at MongoDB? If not, how did you learn MongoDB and how was the education process? The learning curve was pretty steep when I started working here because using MongoDB and contributing to the product itself are two totally different things. I made the most of both the great external resources and internal trainings, tech talks, experienced colleagues, and wiki. Everyone is very open and friendly so it’s easy to get answers if you have questions. Have you had any personal projects where you’ve used MongoDB? I built a movie-voting app for my friends because we could never agree on a film when I had them over for movie nights. This app allows people to propose films and then vote on the suggestions. Drama and 57 emails: averted. Bike or public transportation to work? Bike if it means I don't have to wear more layers than I would taking the subway. Biking in NYC is nothing short of exhilarating so it’s a great way to wake up in the morning. What’s a typical day (or week) for you? I get up with the sun, go for a run, and get to the office pretty early to enjoy the quiet. I catch up on emails from students in my Columbia class, answer various emails from driver users/colleagues, read about Ruby current events and then prioritize my to-do list. For the rest of the day I do code reviews, write specs, prototype parts of a new Ruby driver, and work on driver bugs or new features. Some days will be more devoted to presentation prep if I have a conference, meetup, or tech talk coming up. I also have a soft spot for extended afternoon coffee breaks with colleagues. I'll even sometimes mark them as meetings in my calendar. But don't tell my manager that. The Ruby driver team has been working over the last few months on version 1.10, which has all the new features of the next server release. We are pretty much done with all those tasks so are now focusing on building a new driver that Mongoid (the Ruby ODM for MongoDB) will be able to use. After work, I either go to Columbia to teach, meet friends for a drink, practice archery with my brother, or go to a concert. Though sometimes I just go home and do more work or read. What do you love most about MongoDB? I absolutely love working on open source. It's really cool to know that many people are using and looking at your code, and that they can potentially contribute to it. Of course, there is a lot of pressure to write bugless code that is well-documented so that community members can understand and contribute to the code base. In general, it's pretty exciting to be working on a product that requires people to change the way they've been doing things for decades. You get some resistance, but that's what makes it fun. What’s the most challenging project here at MongoDB that you’ve worked on, and how did you succeed? Working on the drivers team is pretty challenging because you have to be good at many different things; we have to be good communicators, project managers, and programmers. Driver code isn't trivial and the quality standards are extremely high. I recently gave a talk about how maintaining an open source project was like User Experience design in that understanding users' perspectives and how they use your product are as critical as code quality. I go to conferences and try to keep in constant communication with users in order to understand and improve their MongoDB experience. What’s the most rewarding experience you’ve had working here so far? One time the Ruby team had a really difficult bug that we were struggling with over a few days. At least four other driver engineers joined our day-night-day powwow until we resolved it. No manager told our teammates to help us out, they just did because we’ve got each others’ backs. I learned a ton and gained immense respect for my colleagues. What’s your favorite Seamless lunch order? Anything that doesn't have lots of garlic because then I’d have to keep my mouth shut for the rest of the day. Name one secret skill you have, unrelated to work. I always know exactly what time it is, without looking at a clock. Kindle or book? What’s your favorite book? A few years ago, a stranger at the Strand handed me The Master and Margarita (by Mikhail Bulgakov) and told me to read it. It’s an amazing book. I've also recently had my mind totally bent by Murakami's Kafka on the Shore. I got a Kindle for Christmas and have been trying it out, but it feels strange. What’s your favorite movie? I couldn’t possibly choose one so I’ll share the three movies I own: Park Chan-wook’s Oldeuboi, Le Roi des Coeurs, Jackie Brown. Where do you like to run? Have you run any races recently? I’m lucky enough to be within running distance of the Hudson River Park so I run down along the river through Battery Park City. I’m not so much into races, except for the one the day before the NYC marathon. You run the last 5k of the marathon but all the mileage signs are up already so you can pretend you actually ran the full 26 miles. If you're interested in joining the MongoDB Team there many 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 the Austin Chapter of MongoDB’s Women’s Group Built Community During the Pandemic
MongoDB is on a mission to create an inclusive workplace where every single employee can thrive. With a range of established affinity groups — and new ones forming regularly — MongoDB looks for ways to amplify those groups’ efforts and help support their overall mission. When the COVID-19 pandemic forced offices to shut down and employees to work from home, our affinity groups were challenged to find creative ways to support and grow their now-remote communities. As leaders of the MongoDB Women’s Group Austin chapter, we share how we pivoted this challenge into an opportunity. First, What's the MongoDB Women's Group The MongoDB Women’s Group is a community of MongoDB employees identifying as women, nonbinary, or trans. Our mission is to create a bold, visible, and united force for gender equality. To help us get there, the MongoDB Women’s Group hosts monthly members-only meetings as well as events open to both members and allies. Relaunched in 2018, the Austin-based chapter connects women and allies in our Austin office to a community of local companies and women’s groups that can support their growth within the tech industry. Pre-COVID, we gained a lot of momentum with our events, which included a live speaker series in the office, yoga, and events focused on subjects such as fertility and imposter syndrome. When COVID-19 hit, we faced a new challenge: how do we create a sense of community for our members when everyone works completely remote? Although initially daunting, the challenge of organizing remote events was an opportunity in disguise. It enabled us to kick off a speaker series for all employees, featuring prominent women in leadership positions across the country. Enter Angie Brown, from The Home Depot. Angie was the first woman to join our remote speaker series, and we couldn’t have asked for a better person to kick it off. She began her career at The Home Depot in 1998 as an entry-level software developer and now is Vice President of Technology — Merchandising, leading a team that develops solutions to support cataloging, pricing, and assortment capabilities at the giant retail chain. She also helps to mentor aspiring leaders in a number of ways, including actively participating in Atlanta’s Women in Technology association. Here, we share some highlights from our fireside chat with Angie during which she discussed her career and provided advice on what women can do to set themselves up for success. Fireside Chat with Angie Brown MongoDB: What advice do you have for those just starting off in their careers? Angie Brown: Opportunities can look like problems and not everyone wants to run into the fire, but avoiding problems can really be a missed opportunity. That’s one important lesson I’ve learned throughout my career. Although you should have a general idea of where you want to go, you also need to be willing to flex. Things might unfold in ways you didn’t expect. If you’re too prescriptive, you might miss out on them. So, you need to find a way to strike a balance. MongoDB: You took a role in leadership fairly early. How did you change your skills and evolve as you moved up? AB: When I talk to people considering moving into management, I ask them to look at the job and determine if the required qualities and responsibilities would make them happy. It’s not just about the title and pay increase. When you pivot from being an individual contributor to being in a leadership role, servant leadership is a huge part of it. If you look at management as a way to control, you won’t be happy. If you look at it as a way to serve others and help them be successful, then you’ll find joy in that career shift. I didn’t prethink this when I first moved into management and had a little bit of an identity crisis. I was used to being the one who got things done. All of a sudden, my role and life was all about going to meetings, and I didn’t look at meetings as tangible work. I was over it. Where was the joy in this? If your joy comes from having your hands on the keyboard and needing to do things your way, then being in management would be like fitting a square peg in a round hole. At first I felt invalidated and unsure of myself because it wasn’t my hands on the keyboard. I had to work through that and do a little soul-searching. I reframed my thinking to be happy leading a team and helping them solve their problems, even if it meant I wasn’t solving them myself. I had a lightbulb moment when I moved into a director role when I realized I was still solving big problems by helping my team tackle them. There’s nothing wrong with where you find your joy and no judgement if your passion aligns as an individual contributor; we need amazing developers! Always be aware of the work itself and make sure it aligns with what you enjoy. MongoDB: How have mentors played a role in your success? AB: I wish I had invested in mentors much sooner. In the early stages of my career, I didn’t think I needed help and believed I could just figure it all out on my own. I thought asking for help was a sign of weakness. In hindsight, my mentors have absolutely formed part of who I am today. I don’t have just one mentor. Instead, I look at a topic and focus on finding a mentor for that specific topic. With that approach, I have ended up having a number of mentors. Thank you again to Angie Brown! We appreciate your insight and inspiration. If you are interested in joining MongoDB, explore our career opportunities and join an innovative team that is disrupting the database industry every day.