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  • 1,000 - 50,000 employees

Ruby Chen

I think working in the tech industry is amazing, and MongoDB is definitely a great example. We get free lunches a couple of days a week, have a great work culture and everyone seems to have quite a good work-life balance! 

What’s your background

I’m from Auckland, New Zealand, where I grew up and spent most of my life. I am studying for a conjoint degree at the University of Auckland. My Bachelor's degree is in Science and Law, majoring in Computer Science and Law. I first started off as a Law and Arts major, majoring in Ancient Egyptian, studying both its history and language (hieroglyphics). Due to unfortunate circumstances, the University suspended the teaching of Ancient Egyptian and I was left without a major. The silver lining of it all was that I turned to computer science! I picked up a coding paper in the summer because I have always wanted to learn how to code. It looked so mystical and cool in the movies, and I just thought why not, I had nothing to lose (as I already lost my major due to lack of funding!). I fell in love with coding after that paper and found that I really had a knack for it, achieving one of the highest grades in that class. From that point onwards I realized that it was what I wanted to do and so here I am! 

Tell us about your role at MongoDB and what it involves

I am currently a software engineer working for the storage engines team. As a team, we work on WiredTiger, which is a scalable, NoSQL, Open Source data management platform. This is MongoDB’s principle database storage engine. So basically we do a lot of coding! 

What work have you been most excited about since starting your role? 

I am really excited about the learning opportunity, and being able to contribute to something that gets used globally by millions of people and organizations. I am just starting out in my career and know that I have so much to learn, and there is no better place to start than at a company surrounded by so many smart and friendly people! 

What’s something you’ve learnt about that surprised you on joining MongoDB?

The work is really really challenging, but at the same time, there is work that is easy. We have worked at different levels so even graduates and interns can contribute to the same database. 

I was surprised that our contributions were getting pushed to the development stages quite early on. 

What do you love the most about your job? Which kind of task do you enjoy the most? 

I love coding in and of itself so I definitely found the perfect job! I love learning new things, contributing to a platform that gets used by many people and solving challenging problems on daily. I also love that everyone is quite friendly and really helpful, so if there is something you cannot solve there will always be help available. 

What’s the coolest thing about your job? 

I think working in the tech industry is amazing, and MongoDB is definitely a great example. We get free lunches a couple of days a week, have a great work culture and everyone seems to have quite a good work-life balance! 

What are the career prospects of your job? 

To progress as a Software Engineer to more senior levels. There are also management positions for engineers. 

Are there any limitations to your job? Do you bear a lot of responsibility? Do you have to work on weekends? Are stress levels high?

The only limitation I would say is that the learning curve is quite steep at the beginning. The code source is already huge and there is a lot to learn before you will feel like you understand what is going on. Even people who have been working on the database for years will still have many areas they do not understand. 

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student…

  1. Always choose to do what you enjoy, this is something that you will be working in for a while. If you do not find enjoyment in a certain field then it is unlikely that you will find enjoyment in it as a job as it is similar work but a lot more stressful and harder! In saying that, it is also never too late to change what you want to do, either during university or after it. You can switch jobs at any point in your career and do something completely different, and you can also switch majors halfway through your degree as I did! 
  2. Don’t look at things you have done in your past that you no longer pursue as sunk costs or lost time. I took law for 6 years and right now I don’t see myself ever pursuing that as a career. Even then, I don’t regret taking law because it has taught me many life skills that are transferable to any job that I now take on, and honestly, I enjoyed learning about it as well.  It also helped differentiate me and other candidates during the hiring process for many companies, so there is always a takeaway from the things you do!
  3. Make friends! The friends you make at university will be some of the friends that you will keep for the rest of your life. It is true that it gets harder to make friends as you enter the workforce and as you get older, so I would make the most of university and all the different people you will meet that you otherwise would not get the opportunity to. I found that clubs were a great place to meet new people. Cherish the friends you have, they will be with you during your hard times and celebrate your good times. Humans thrive from social activity, and it is an essential element of a happy and fulfilled life! 

What tips can you share with prospective students who are going through the application or recruitment process? 

Some advice that I got from a friend that will never leave me is just “spray and pray”. Apply to as many roles that interest you as you can, and pray for the best! Obviously, this is after you have gone through CV checkups, and interview practices, put in the hard work, prepared and made your application stand out. After that point, there is honestly just a lot of trying and luck! Companies will see thousands of applications but cannot take on that many graduates and interns, so there is a lot of competition and you need to increase your chances by applying to more places. Where one company does not see potential another company might! Do not take rejections to heart, it happens to all of us…but if you only get rejections then it might be an indication to change something in your application!  Soon enough those interview invites will start piling through, and the choice will then be in your hands!