Episode 55 – Make The Most of Your Opportunities with Monica Beckwith

 In Podcasts

Monica Beckwith is an independent performance consultant and trainer optimizing customer applications and systems running the Java Virtual Machine. Monica is also a regular speaker at conferences and is co-author of the ‘Java Performance Companion’.

In this episode Monica Beckwith tells us why we need to be proactive when opportunities present themselves and how you can avoid getting lost in large organisations. Monica also talks about challenges in her own career and why you should never give up on yourself.


Time Stamped Show Notes

(01:39) – Phil introduces Monica Beckwith

(02:08) – Monica describes herself as a performance engineer, predominantly for systems running on the Java Virtual Machine

(02:55) – Monica says that she helps customer meet their Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and latency requirements

(03:20) – Monica helps people to optimise the performance of I.T. systems which could be changes to code, network configuration or the Java Virtual Machine


(04:04) – Unique Career Tip: Monica says that she is an introvert and talks about how she has previously expected opportunities to come to her

(04:38) – Monica has learnt that you need to be proactive in taking opportunities as soon as you see them

(04:46) – If you are an introvert, don’t let your shyness prevent you from taking opportunities

(05:00) – “You get an opportunity and you take it”


(05:24) – Worst Career Moment: Monica talks about having her first child while working in a nine to five job

(05:53) – Monica says that she wanted to agree more flexible working arrangements but her employer did not want to set a precedent

(06:17) – Monica felt let down and under appreciated by her employer after years of work

(06:29) – Monica thought her career was over because she wanted to be with her child and she quit her job


(06:59) – Career Highlight / Greatest Success: Monica says that every time she solves a problem that becomes a highlight

(07:42) – Monica says that she likes immersing herself into her work

(07:56) – “Any time I’m able to get to the bottom of an issue, that’s a highlight for me”


(08:17) – What Excites You About The Future of a Career in I.T.? Monica talks about the opportunities that exist within I.T.

(08:41) – Opportunities to learn, to develop products, to be independent and to market yourself

(09:05) – “What you need is passion”

(09:21) – Monica talks about her interest in improvements to dynamic compilations


(10:24) – The Reveal

(10:30) – What attracted you to an I.T. career in the first place? – “Being able to design solutions”

(11:29) – What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received? – “Make yourself more visible”

(12:37) – If you were to begin your I.T. career again, right now, what would you do? –”I would want to get into field which ties scientific advancement with engineering research”

(13:50) – What career objectives are you focusing on right now? – “I want to learn with an intention of giving back”

(14:55) – What’s the number one non-technical skill that has helped you in your career so far? – “Empathy”


(16:23) – A Parting Piece of Career Advice: Monica says, “Don’t give up on yourself”

(16:45) – You will find yourself trying to do too many things and you may change course

(17:23) – The field of I.T. is continually evolving so you have to keep up


3 Key Points:     

  1. Don’t expect opportunities to come to you just because you work hard
  2. Make yourself visible within your organisation so that you don’t get lost
  3. Persevere and don’t give up on yourself


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