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Impostor

Girl Thinking Sketch

Impostor syndrome, a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their skills, talent, or accomplishments. Despite external evidence of their competence, this phenomenon tricks you into thinking you do not deserve all you have achieved.

Earlier in my career, I experienced this same psychological pattern and I’ll constantly beat myself, talk down on myself while comparing myself to Software Engineers I follow on Twitter and Instagram, even colleagues that were way ahead of me. It wasn’t easy and now looking back I understand better.

I have mentored quite a number of Junior - Mid Engineers that were struggling with this same phenomenon and anytime a conversation around impostor syndrome came up during our session, I’d tell them it’s normal to feel this way; you need to trust in your abilities and you are doing the best you can; you’ll get better with time and only compare yourself with your past self.

Even though I know talking them out of this phenomenon might be ineffective, I only hoped they got over it with time. However, I was recently decluttering my external hard drive and I came across a feedback screenshot I took from a speaker after a session with him.

NOTE:

  • I asterisked folks’ names since I don’t have clear permission to publish their names, except John Resig, everyone knows him. :smile:

March 23, 2017 - 9:17 PM, the speaker shared a story that he uses whenever he is feeling “impostor syndrome” or struggling to learn a new codebase:

****,

I keep thinking about what one of the devs said about not feeling like a real programmer because they’ve only done web development.

I wanted to share a story - and ***** can back me up on this because it happened at Artsicle.

I had the opportunity to work next to the inventor of JQuery, John Resig, and he said he felt like he wasn’t a real programmer because he’d never done a full stack web application (he was just starting his first one at the time).

Impostor syndrome is real! Don’t listen to it!

Best,

The story above made it easy for me, knowing even the best struggle with this same phenomenon, I just thought sharing this will make things easier for Software Engineers going through this phase and I advise you stay off social media if you’re still struggling with this phenomenon.

I really hope this article helps and makes you go easy on yourself. Please feel free to mail me with any question – I would like to know your journey and help out if or wherever I can.