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MongoDB vs MySQL: Which Should You Learn?

Databases can be broadly categorized under two headings – SQL and NoSQL databases. SQL databases are those that define and manipulate data based on structured query language (SQL). MySQL is one of the most popular types of SQL database management systems.

Unlike SQL databases, NoSQL databases are non-relational databases that allow people to store and retrieve unstructured data using a dynamic schema. They are generally used to handle structured data that organizes elements of data and standardizes how they relate to one another as well as to different properties. MongoDB is an example of a NoSQL database.


To understand MySQL, we first need to understand relational databases. In relational databases, the data related to each object belongs to a specific category and is associated with multiple tags. Data is modelled in the form of tables, and each table consists of rows and columns. Each table relates to other tables through relationships such as one-to-one, one-to-many, etc.

Database Schema

This is where MySQL comes in. It is a database management system that is used to manage relational databases. Backed by Oracle, it is open-source software and is available at no cost. It can be used for developing various web-based software applications.


A cross-platform database, MongoDB works on the concept of collection and document. The database serves as a physical container for collections, and each collection is a group of MongoDB documents. Documents are sets of key-value pairs. What makes this database different is that documents have a dynamic schema. This means that the documents in the same collection need not have the same set of fields or structures, and the common fields may hold different types of data.

MongoDB vs MySQL: Which One Should You Learn?

While MySQL has been the most popular database in 2019, MongoDB is only a close second. MongoDB’s growing polarity can be attributed to its speed, scalability, and dynamic and flexible schema. When comparing MongoDB vs MySQL, MongoDB offers several advantages:

  • MongoDB works well with the cloud and therefore offers high scalability.
  • It’s easy to get started with since a large amount of clear documentation is available.
  • It offers great flexibility as there are no restrictions on schema design, while MySQL doesn’t provide much room for flexibility. This affects the development and deployment process, which is quicker in MongoDB but gets slowed down in MySQL because even a little modification in the data model requires a change in schema design.
  • MongoDB has a $lookup operator, making it possible to combine data from multiple documents into a single query. Therefore, it is easier to code with quality. However, MySQL also has an operator called JOIN, which can link two or more tables together using a single query.
  • MongoDB has also begun to support full-text search as well as phrase search and terms search. MySQL also supports full-text search but not full-text indexing in clustered databases.
  • When it comes to speed, MongoDB outperforms MySQL due to its ability to handle large unstructured data.
  • MongoDB has a better sharding ability as it can break up a collection into subsets of data and store them across multiple shards. Therefore, the application can exceed the resource limits of a server.

However, there are many areas where MySQL performs better.

  • MySQL is more suited for users dealing with small data volumes because it is not good at dealing with large and unstructured data.
  • MySQL database opts for consistency and availability, which means that the data will be consistent across all nodes as long as the nodes are online. Therefore, users can read or write from any node, and the data would be consistent. But if an unresolved partition develops between a node, then the data will go out of sync. MongoDB, however, opts for consistency and tolerance. This means that the database would be consistent to view, but the users of one node would have to wait for the users of another node to agree before reading or writing to the database.
  • Being open-source, MySQL is available free of cost.
  • MySQL has an active community as compared to the relatively new NoSQL databases like MongoDB.

MongoDB vs MySQL: Conclusion

Since both MongoDB and MySQL offer specific advantages, you should choose to depend on the purpose. You need to consider the volume of data you will deal with, the type of database infrastructure, and other requirements before you make that choice. For example, if someone wants to build legacy applications, then MySQL would be the better choice because they are built for relational databases. However, for building real-time analytics or content management apps, MongoDB would be the better choice.

Building and managing databases is a high-demand skill required in many fields, and many people often learn both to perfect their skills. Guvi offers comprehensive MongoDB courses and MySQL courses. With exclusive lessons from industry experts, it provides online learning along with a gamified practice platform. It also has a dedicated chat and support forum for students to ask doubts. Online courses are a great way to make the first step towards learning any new skill and keeping oneself updated.


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