C100DEV: MongoDB Developer Associate Exam

As a software developer, we inevitably have to be able to work with databases. At the centre of attention in recent years, sits NoSQL databases such as MongoDB. In this story, i will share my journey of how i prepared for the Developer examination.

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In the past few months, I focused on picking up new skills and knowledge to better myself as much as I can. While practicing web development, i chanced upon MongoDB and decided to challenge myself to passing the Developer exam as a personal validation of my skills and knowledge.

The Exam Overview

The Developer Exam is a timed & proctored examination. Candidates are given approximately 90 minutes to answer 60 multiple choice questions.

Areas tested are listed below:

  1. Philosophy & Features

Make no mistake. MongoDB may have branded the examination as an ‘Associate’ level exam, but it is by no means easy. The exam requires a strong grasp on all topics tested and having hands-on experience with MongoDB would be a huge help.

The score required for passing the examination is 490 / 600 which equates to a 80% score cut off. No reference materials are allowed during the exam, so you are expected to have the required knowledge of all topics at your fingertips

Exam Preparation

MongoDB University is a great way to get started in preparing for the exam. The resources that are provided would be your best friend throughout the preparation process. Personally, i started with a course (MongoDB — The Complete Developer’s Guide 2021)from Udemy before i went to use the resources provided by MongoDB university. The course provided a great overview of MongoDB and helped me to better understand the individual courses from MongoDB university.

In order to have a solid base of knowledge in the different topics that were tested, i signed up for the MongoDB university courses - M001, M121, M103, M201, M220JS, and M320.

Finally, i made use of the study guide provided by MongoDB and practice exams. Personally, i feel that MongoDB could have provided additional practice exams. Having only a fixed set of questions to practice with gives a false sense of preparation for candidates. The study guide was a huge lifesaver and i made notes using the study guide provided.

My First Attempt

After completing the MongoDB university courses, completing the practice exam a few times and preparing my notes, I felt confident enough to attempt the exam. However, I was so wrong.

Going into the exam, the questions were tricky and tested heavily on the application of the knowledge that were taught in the courses. I ended up failing the exam and got a score of 440 / 600.

Lessons Learnt

Knowing the base knowledge of each topic is insufficient. It is important to know even the smallest details. (Various ways to remove data, Different storage engines and each of their features etc.)

Although the Udemy course and videos were comprehensive and covers all the topics that would come up, the examination goes even deeper into the concepts and knowledge required.

My Second Attempt

Having the experience of the first examination was invaluable. I started my preparation with revisiting each individual topics and concepts that were essential to know.

My results for the first attempt

Indexes was a huge part of the examination and it so happened that it was also the the most difficult topic for me to understand in my opinion.

What did i do differently?

I went to get myself the MongoDB Definitive Guide by O’Reilly. The book was incredibly useful for me as it explains a lot of core concepts in depth that was easy to understand.

Next, i dived deep into the MongoDB Docs as well, this time following very closely to what the exam guide had recommended for students to study. This is incredibly useful and the most important change i had made.

Lastly, i re-did my notes to tailor it to the study guide and made sure that even concepts i thought was simple and clear, was explicitly added into them for further revision. In all, the second attempt preparation was really about deep diving into documentation and understanding all the nitty-gritty details of MongoDB.

My Recommendation

I would recommend someone new to MongoDB and who wants to prepare for the developer certification to follow this route. Of course, this has worked for me and may not work for everyone but based on my experience, this route had given me the solid knowledge required to pass. Ensure that you follow through the course including the hands-on sections as getting some practice under your belt definitely helps you to better visualise how MongoDB works.

Foundation Building

  1. MongoDB- The Complete Developer’s Guide (Udemy)

2. MongoDB university courses — M001, M121, M103, M201, M220JS, and M320.

3. Practice exams

Deep Dive and Solidify Concepts

4. MongoDB Definitive Guide + MongoDB Documentation

5. Practice exams again.

6. Exam Attempt

Final Thoughts

Attaining the certification was certainly a remarkable journey for me. It helped me learn so much more about MongoDB and its capabilities, allowing me to optimise the way i use it in my applications and projects.

I would definitely recommend anyone who’s learning MongoDB to try and go for the certification not just because it’s a pretty awesome credential to have, but also because it pushes you to learn more about the capabilities of MongoDB and make you a better developer.

Keep in mind that the examination is tough. You are forced to go through the examination with zero reference materials and essentially you are being tested on how well you understand the different technologies on MongoDB in a short frame of time. Don’t beat yourself up if you couldn’t pass the first attempt. Keep at it and you’ll definitely be able to pass the next time round.

Software Developer. Cybersecurity Student. Diver