MongoDB comes from the word Mongo meaning ‘humongous’. This refers to MongoDB’s capacity to handle and store large unstructured data sets and scale easily. Relational database management systems were popular and quite useful for a long time until the need arose for database management systems that were flexible enough to handle unstructured data. This is because relational databases were limited to storing data in rows and columns and as such could not accommodate multimedia, video, audio, images, online activity, and other data formats.
Organizations have soon shifted to non-relational database systems which allow for data to be stored in the formats they come in. The most popularly adopted NoSQL DBMS is MongoDB which organizations prefer for accessing big data from the cloud. With the increasing adoption of MongoDB comes a high demand for professionals with MongoDB training and certification to offer technical and support services.
What is MongoDB?
MongoDB is an open-source NoSQL database system with scalable storage and analytics offerings. It is document-oriented thus stores data in JSON-like documents so that users can store data in different formats. Documents with related information are stored together and accessed using MongoDB’s ad-hoc query language (MQL). Being that it is document-oriented, MongoDB is generally easier to work as it is easily programmable. Its 2.4 series now features a text-search function for even higher performance. Scaling MongoDB takes a simple addition of nodes which increases its capacity and retains high performance. MongoDB is written in the C++ language.
MongoDB also has a commercial version that is offered on subscription. MongoDB enterprise allows users to install and run it on their infrastructure. Its package includes full-scale support, advanced analytics and data visualizations, a range of operational tools and security control features, as well as platform integrations.
MongoDB key features
- Allows you to index any field in a document
- It supports ad hoc queries
- MongoDB supports master-slave replication
- It supports MapReduce framework for batch data processing and aggregation
- Allows storage and retrieval of large files, greater than its document size capacity, using GridFS specification
- Automatic load balancing because data is stored in shards
Why is MongoDB popular among developers?
We live in an era of data. Organizations and businesses peg their strategic decisions on insights gained from data and as such require database systems that can store and manipulate large data sets fast and effectively. MongoDB lets developers build high-performance scalable applications
MongoDB’s greatest selling point is the fact that it is schema-less thus stores all of its data in JSON-like documents and this makes it the most flexible DBMS to work with. It is also pretty easy to install and set up. Also, for developers without a database management background, MongoDB comes as the most intuitive DBMS with the shortest learning curve. This does not, in any way, compromise its capabilities to handle the requirements of complex applications.
As we have already seen, MongoDB supports auto-sharding. This means that in MongoDB, large data sets are automatically broken down into smaller chunks known as shards which are then distributed across multiple machines (or nodes) to take care of horizontal scaling while retaining high performance. Ideally, more machines are added to the network to take care of increasing demand. In MongoDB, shards are also replicated across clusters which then adds in a layer of fault tolerance and high data availability.
MongoDB features MEAN and MERN stacks which are two popular stacks used by full-stack developers. It also has a cloud SaaS version known as Atlas which allows developers to run it on the cloud with AWS, Google Cloud, or Azure cloud service providers.
MongoDB use cases
Here are the top six use cases of MongoDB.
- Content management and delivery
- Real-time data analytics and integration
- User data management
- Mobility and scaling
- Product catalog
- Big data
How to become a MongoDB developer
MongoDB is the most popular and fastest-growing NoSQL database technology that has been adopted by the likes of eBay, The New York Times, Disney, and other big names that are involved in social communication, data analytics, content management, and such like activities. MongoDB helps businesses to build scalable applications. For this reason, MongoDB developer skills are in high demand.
If you already have a background in development particularly in big data Hadoop, acquiring MongoDB developer skills will not only be easy but an added advantage for you. Still, MongoDB remains to be the easiest DBMS for beginners to learn. Here is what it takes to become a MongoDB developer.
1. General IT knowledge
This is a technical field therefore having some general IT knowledge for instance database concepts, programming, and software development will go a long way in preparing you to take up a technology career like MongoDB developer.
2. Knowledge of MongoDB fundamentals
Secondly, take the time to learn about MongoDB. Familiarize yourself with MongoDB concepts like CRUD (Create, Read, Update, Delete operations), data modeling, indexing, aggregation, replication, and sharding as well as the MongoDB structure including Databases, Collections, and documents. You should also be familiar with different data formats like JSON, Extended JSON, and BSON.
3. Be familiar with NoSQL database concepts
While MongoDB is a NoSQL database, a MongoDB developer is expected to know the key differences between SQL and NoSQL databases and which one best handles structured and unstructured data.
4. Take the MongoDB Certified Developer Associate Exam
First things first, MongoDB has two certification paths. The database administrator (DBA) certification path. DBAs are involved with managing MongoDB runtime configurations, processes, back-up, recovery, and monitoring system performance. The second path is the developer certification path. Developers are involved with building and maintaining MongoDB scalable solutions as well as implementing new features on an application.
Currently, only the associate level certifications are available for both the developer and the administrator paths. However, professional and master credentials might be available in the future.
The MongoDB developer certification equips a professional with knowledge of CRUD operations, schema design, aggregation, basic scaling, driver API, and other development concepts in MongoDB.
If you are just starting, consider taking the following introductory courses to gain an understanding of MongoDB before pursuing the developer path.
- M001: MongoDB basics
- M103: Basic Cluster Administration
- M121: MongoDB Aggregation framework
- M201: MongoDB Performance
The MongoDB catalog also includes some advanced courses that professionals can take advantage of to advance their knowledge and skills.
5. Be a part of the MongoDB community
The MongoDB community and other groups are a useful resource for building your skills and experience. Join these groups and get the opportunity to interact with other professionals and experts in the conferences and events to update yourself with the latest in this field. You can also contribute your knowledge and projects in the community forums and get to hear what others have to say.
6. Make use of the MongoDB developer Hub resource
MongoDB has also launched the Developer Hub an invaluable learning and practice resource specifically built for developers to access MongoDB content, resources, and programs. It features live coding sessions, YouTube videos, podcast recordings, and online events.
Learning MongoDB takes more than training and certification. A lot of personal effort, practice, and experience goes into building an expert MongoDB developer.