NoSQL Workshop at Goa University

“In vain have you acquired knowledge if you have not imparted it to others.”

With this philosophy in mind, on a bright, sunny December morning (14th December, 2013) a couple of us from ThoughtWorks, Pune  visited the Goa university premises to conduct a NoSQL workshop. We were invited there by Prof. Ramrao Wagh who is associated with the Computer Science Department. The Goa University is located in Panjim and feels very much unlike Goa, away from the beaches and the bustling crowd of tourists.

Our audience was a group of MTech( Master of Technology), MCA ( Master of Computer Application) and  SE (second year engineering) students who had studied relational databases and were eager to hear about NoSQL data stores. There were around 30 students who had signed up to attend the workshop which was on a Saturday, a non-working day for the university and to our great satisfaction all the 30 odd students turned up for the workshop.

The workshop kicked off with Pramod Sadalage giving a brief overview of the need of NoSQL databases in today’s world where data analysis is of utmost importance. Pramod being an authority on NoSQL databases captivated the students with his talk and it formed the perfect launchpad for the remaining sessions.

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The first session was conducted by Sandeep Jagtap and Amar Potghan on Riak, a key-value datastore.  Sandeep and Amar gave an extensive and detailed understanding of Riak and its applications. They also did a hands-on session in which all the students set up a cluster on their machines and performed CRUD operations. It was a brilliant session and both of them got some amazing feedback.

Next came Nikita Gupta with a session on MongoDB. A couple of the students had heard about it and had also worked with it. Nikita went through the basics in such a detailed manner that all the students could understand everything that was been told. Once the installation of MongoDB  was successful we broke for lunch.

And after lunch came the crazy part!!! Lunch would surely have had a toll and the students would feel sleepy. So to make them fresh again, what did we do?? We did the CHICKEN DANCE!! All the students and even the professors participated in it and the sessions resumed with everyone in bursts of laughter at the craziness!!

Nikita then continued with her session and gave the students a hands-on demo of the different operations with MongoDB. She also explained about replica sets and sharding. The students continued working with the sample data even after Nikita had finished with the session, such was the impact !!

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After a short break, Mahesh Lal and myself started with the last session on Graph Databases, primarily focussing on Neo4j. We started with a brief history and use of graph databases and then installed Neo4j on each of the student’s machines. By this time they were so hooked on that when we asked them to take a break they did not want to take one and asked us to continue!! We then continued with the sample data we had prepared and showed the operations and simplicity of Neo4j. The students had a lot of questions and were very interactive. They wanted to continue but since it was getting late we had to end the session with a few use cases and applications.

Although it was 6pm, all the students stayed back and had a lot of questions to ask us in the open session. Such was the nature of the entire workshop; that the students really appreciated it and asked us to come back to conduct more of such workshops. Prof. Ramrao appreciated Pramod and our team for doing a very good job and also thanked the students for showing so much enthusiasm.

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Overall, it was a brilliant experience for me. It was my first such workshop and with the tremendous response we got and the amount of things I have learned during the preparation for this workshop, truly, I would love to do more such interactive sessions. A special thanks to Pramod and Prof. Ramrao for giving me this opportunity!!

And indeed  The Dalai Lama has adequately said :

“Share your knowledge. It’s a way to achieve immortality.”

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