Why Joining MongoDB's Advocate Community Has Been the Best Career Choice of My Life


Considering joining an advocate community? See how MongoDB’s Influitive AdvocateHub has propelled my career with new opportunities and friendships that would’ve never been possible without the support of a vibrant network of developers.

As an Italian living in the Silicon Valley, one might think I’m lonely or feel like a fish out of water. I speak with an accent, and I am particular about my pasta, coffee, and shoes, but no, being an ex-pat and someone who loves to travel reminds me that embracing a sense of community is critical to how rich my experience is.

What I learn from others is important. For without a village, even the most ambitious trailblazer, innovator, and thought leader will have trouble finding their way. Knowing this nudges me to immerse myself wherever I go. I do as the locals do and make it a point to welcome whatever a new community offers. 

I use this same approach with my career. Take my experience with MongoDB, a leading NoSQL database. MongoDB provides developers a knowledge base that includes MongoDB University certification courses and an online advocacy community powered by Influitive, where developers can ask questions and get advice from other developers who face similar challenges. This support has made all the difference, because let’s face it: technology moves more quickly than any one person. Now when I have technical questions about a problem I’m facing, I can go straight to the connections I’ve developed in the MongoDB AdvocateHub to get real, applicable answers and insights from other programmers. 

Without a village, even the most ambitious #thoughtleader will have trouble finding their way. @Influitive

These relationships keep me sharp, and when you’re able to share mutually beneficial insights, you know you’re a part of a strong community—one where you belong.  

Just recently MongoDB introduced me to an advocate who lives near me who has encouraged me to try out Atlas, a terrific cloud solution I am now starting to use for my applications. We had coffee and we’re able to share some terrific mutually beneficial insights. 

Plus, I’ve met another contributor to the community who pointed me to seven different articles that greatly furthered my knowledge and skillset and has led me into strengthening my knowledge and skill with AWS Lambda. These connections and the subsequent learning has put me on the front of the adoption curve, so when employers start looking for someone with this skill, I’ll already have experience. I’ve been able to highlight these relationships on my LinkedIn profile, which not every developer can say. 

Technology moves more quickly than any one person. How do you keep up? #developercommunity #java

So while I have every confidence that MongoDB’s dual certification certainly helps secure a bright future for my career, it’s the relationships I’ve developed within the advocacy community that’s accelerated my career. Without the AdvocateHub, I would have never had these added benefits, and I wouldn’t be where I am today. Networking and having relationships has served me well. 

Speaking of networking, it was a fellow programmer, a friend at Netflix, who made it clear that my Cold Fusion programming skills were outdated. As JavaScript’s popularity rose, it had already gotten to the point where I couldn’t find a Cold Fusion SDK for common integrations, so I had begun to question the relevancy of the language, but I knew it was time to jump ship when my friend asked, “What is Cold Fusion?” If he wasn’t familiar with it, clearly I was living in the Ice Age. It was time for a change. 

Choosing a new language to build your career on is a bit like taking a trip to a faraway land. A really remote destination, and even though you know you want to go, you’ll be leaving everything you’re familiar with behind. I chose JavaScript because it had full-stack use, from frontend frameworks to Node.js for the backend. It became evident that I also had to abandon SQL. The ease of use of NoSQL databases when it comes to integrating a JavaScript application was my primary reason for making this jump. While looking for an alternative to SQL, I came across MongoDB, and haven’t looked back since.

Also, as I seek to continue building my thought leadership, I am doing more and more writing. If you have ever blogged before, you know how difficult it can be to find an audience. MongoDB has actually driven readers to my last post. This support led to more than thirty times the engagement I was receiving with my previous posts. This validation to my thought leadership is terrific for when potential employers or conference organizers research me. They see I already have a highly engaged audience who receive value from my content.

I’m a huge fan of MongoDB. I want them to succeed. It’s like when I came to the US, except, like my adopted home, I’m no longer new to this place. Their village is my village. I’m now part of their community, one that stays on top of emerging tech by teaching and connecting.

My next steps are organizing a venue for the local MongoDB user group in the Bay area (message me on LinkedIn if you’d like to attend!), which will help me hone my presentation skills, add value to the local community, and make the connections to take my experience to conferences with larger audiences. 

Being a #developer can be lonely. But @MongoDB’s #advocate community gives you the support of a village. @Influitive

If you choose to go it alone—to stay in your shell and do everything by yourself—you’ll miss out. You can have a decent career without joining advocacy groups, but what you miss out on is significant. You miss the access to people who know the product really well and whose sole purpose is to help you. You also miss having other people share what they know. To not take advantage of an advocate community is to miss out on an opportunity to enhance your skillset—and your career.

When I think about how I spend my time and how, day in and day out, I go about building my career, there’s the me who programs, which by definitions is a pretty solitary gig, and there’s the me who has come to depend on what my community offers. Without which, I would have never gotten to where I am today. If you’re considering joining an advocate community—any advocate community—take my experience with MongoDB as an example of what it can do for you career, and remember: the only way to experience anything new is to immerse yourself, jump in with both feet, and take every opportunity that comes your way. You’ll learn much more than you ever would on your own, and your career will be better for it.