Supporting development by designing NoSQL DB for developers to work comfortably: Interview with Cynthia from Taiwan

Hi, this is R-Hack editorial office. There are a variety of people working here at Rakuten Commerce & Marketing Company Development Department. Today, we interviewed Cynthia, who joined Rakuten Group in November 2019 as a new graduate engineer and is currently working as a Database Administrator (DBA)!



Joined Rakuten Group in November 2019 as a new graduate

Department…Travel Development Department (TDD)

Post…Database Administrator (DBA)


Hobby…Traveling, volleyball, badminton, snowboarding, watching dramas


Cynthia specializes in providing stable NoSQL DB operation and optimal architecture.

Providing stable DB design and optimal architecture: The roles of a DBA

――Can you start by introducing yourself?

Hi, everyone! I’m Cynthia. I joined Rakuten Group in November 2019 as a new graduate.
I studied information engineering at a graduate school in Taiwan, where I got my master’s degree. Taiwan, where I come from, has beautiful seaside scenery and rural landscapes. My hobbies are traveling and watching dramas, and I also like to play sports such as volleyball, badminton, and snowboarding.

――Please tell us about your work and tasks within the team.

I maintain and manage the NoSQL products as a DBA for Rakuten Travel.
My main role is to identify the cause when an incident such as a NoSQL DB failure or equipment malfunction happens as quickly as possible and develop countermeasures. Rakuten Travel uses several types of databases (DBs) to store hotel-related information, user reservation information, and search results. We monitor these DBs using monitoring tools to ensure that the system can operate without stopping even when unexpected events such as a sudden spike in traffic or power outage occur.

We also do Life Cycle Management and regularly update DBs to newer versions to avoid security risks. Our team manages more than several hundred DB servers used by many e-commerce services. I work with a sense of responsibility every day to ensure the stable operation of our services.

――How did you start your career as a DBA?

After being offered a job in Rakuten Group, I was notified that I was assigned to a DBA. I think they saw that I had aptitude for the position. I had learned basic DB usage and data management theory as a student, so I looked forward to using the knowledge I had learned in an actual business environment working with a team.


――Please tell us about the challenges of being a DBA.

The role of a DBA is to protect DBs. We should always keep DBs running stably and be prepared to quickly solve any unforeseen problems that may arise.

We also specialize in providing an optimal architecture that meets the requirements of the development side. We fulfill requests such as DB construction, sizing, encryption, and backups, as well as creating monitoring environments and determining when to scale up NoSQL DB resources.


――What are your strengths and specialties?

I can troubleshoot DB related issues quickly and accurately. I believe this is because the system resource analysis skill I learned facilitates me to identify the cause of the trouble.

Understanding the process and architecture of both development and infrastructure is essential for projects to smoothly progress


――What kind of work were you involved in during your first year at Rakuten Group?

In my first year, I was able to learn hands-on basic but very important knowledge such as how to construct, back up, and restore a NoSQL DB.
I also experienced troubleshooting. When a problem occurs, the first thing to do is to get an overall picture of the trouble: "Is the system resource or DB usage too high?" “Is there something wrong with the configuration?” “In the first place, maybe it’s a false alarm?" I try to identify as many possible causes as possible. From there, I narrow down the problem and get to the root cause. At first, it took a lot of time to identify and locate the cause of the problem, but as I gained experience, I was able to gradually reduce the time required to solve the problem.


――What kind of work were you involved in during your second and third years?

In the second year, I joined the DB related Life Cycle Management project. In this project, I worked with the development and infrastructure teams. For the project to run smoothly, we must understand each other’s process and architecture, and work efficiently to meet the schedule. So, I did my best to understand the process and architecture of the development side and make the best proposals from our side. Through this project, I learned the importance of communicating smoothly with members of different roles outside the team and their skills.

My career plan: Expertise in both IT infrastructure and application

――The global environment is one of Rakuten Group’s attractions. How do you feel actually working here?

I was surprised when I went to the company cafeteria for the first time after joining the company! In addition to Japanese food, the menu includes the food cultures of non-Japanese employees, such as vegetarian and Indian food. Sometimes, dishes from my homeland Taiwan are on the menu!
I think food is very important to maintain a healthy mind and body while working abroad. I am very happy to see this kind of consideration for non-Japanese employees.


――Please tell us about your future career plans and what you would like to achieve at Rakuten.

I hope to become familiar with not only DB but the whole system, including server monitoring design and security management. Society's awareness of security is increasing year by year, and I feel that DBAs will be in even greater demand in the future. That is why, considering what will be essentially required in the future, I feel that knowledge and skills in the peripheral areas of security management and application development related to DBs will also become indispensable.

By becoming familiar with both IT infrastructure and application, I would like to support development by designing systems that enable service developers to work comfortably.

――I look forward to your future success! Thank you for the interview.