If there has been a nagging voice in the back of your mind whispering, “You’re not good enough” every time you try to code, you are not alone
Imposter Syndrome is the fear of being not skilled enough or being caught as a fraud at work. This is a very common phenomenon that most people face, especially in the software development field.
Why Imposter Syndrome?
The feeling of professional inadequacy is not new, but Imposter Syndrome takes it a notch higher. It brings in the lack of ability to take due credit for oneself, and also makes oneself engage in self-doubt and feelings of guilt for setbacks.
Why this occurs is simply due to the lack of awareness as well as due to the assumption that everyone else has their path worked out for them. In reality, there are a number of experienced programmers and developers who still feel like they are not good enough in their work.
It’s very common!
Yes it is. Different people just have different ways of expressing their uncertainties. When you are a software developer, chances of encountering new challenges every day are very common. As such, the recursive feeling of feeling (pun unintended 😄) as if you are not at all good enough to work as a developer, is totally relatable with other developers as well.
Do not let it affect your learning
Having recurring instances of Imposter Syndrome can turn out to be problematic if you let it affect your learning journey. As an aspiring software developer, you learn new concepts and get your hands dirty by building and shipping projects very often. But in order to get better at this process and progress with each milestone, you have to learn to identify how and when Imposter Syndrome is present within you.
- Are you afraid of asking questions?
- Do you feel intimidated to participate in online discussions or doubt clearing sessions among your peers?
- Are you afraid to answer a question even though you know the answer?
- Do you find yourself watching others’ progress and feel a sense of guilt that you are not intelligent enough to be the same as them?
If the above questions feel like your everyday thoughts, then you are in the majority of software developers.
Overcoming Imposter Syndrome
The rules of programming are never set in stone. Every few years, technology changes rapidly and there are newer ways to solve problems and develop softwares. This means that by design, the journey of a developer is filled with challenges and learnings. This in turn increases the chances of going through Imposter Syndrome, which is why knowing how to overcome it can be a huge asset. It can save time, energy, and even increase productivity.
1. Keep your focus locked
It is tempting to always see others’ progress and compare your worth with them, but in the long run, it will adversely affect your learning. Everyone has a different pace and everyone works at their own capacity.
Keep your focus where it is most needed - your own journey and learning. Learn from your own past mistakes and produce better results than those. This way, you are ensuring that you win against yourself and this is the healthiest progress you can make. This will also help you improve your workflow, and write better optimised code.
2. Never stop being a student
The best part about software development is that it is changing, and that it always has multiple paths to grow. This means endless opportunities to choose what you want to do in this field.
Being committed and open to learning new things is a great way to also overcome Imposter Syndrome. This reiterates the fact that nobody can be a 100% expert on anything as well.
Being a student means to let go of any reservations you have in mind, and to be open to asking questions and sharing your learning journey with peers. This way you create an environment where nobody judges you, and where others are available to guide you as well.
3. Find a mentor
Finding peers is easy when there are a large number of learners on the same path. However, you truly grow and overcome your feelings of uncertainty by finding a mentor who can guide you throughout your journey. Bootcamps that have personalized mentorship to help you become a successful developer, can be a great starting point.
When you create the environment you need, your confidence increases tenfold.
4. Learn to ask questions
Asking doubts can seem quite straightforward, and they are. But learning to ask well-crafted questions is a small but useful skill. By being more clear on what you need help for, you are making it easier for others to help you better.
Learning to search for answers online is also in line with this point. There are endless websites and forums to give you all sorts of answers, but learning how to correctly query on Google can give you more direct results.
This is called being articulate, and it takes some time to learn how to be articulate in your approach to asking questions, approaching problem-solving, etc. It’s all about practice, practice, practice.
5. Keep building and shipping
There is no better way to become good at something than through consistency. The more you build apps, however small, the better your confidence levels will be. This will drive Imposter Syndrome to the side, or maybe even completely away at one point.
Find your place where the culture of continuous learning is encouraged. There are lots of places out there to learn programming. Find the best place to do so, and inculcate the habit of consistency.
6. It’s okay to not know it all
Find comfort in the fact that you need not know it all. Nobody can know everything. Being comfortable with this fact will make you much better at tackling challenges. Being a software developer is always a learning in progress. Rather than cramming all the knowledge in the mind and being stressed about it, it is better to know how and where to look for solutions at any given time. This is an underrated yet useful skill when you are a professional developer.
The stigma associated with having Imposter Syndrome is being addressed more and more nowadays, with more inclusivity in the developer community. If you are one among those who feels intellectually inadequate to learn programming, do not feel so! Understand that the journey of an aspiring software developer is always filled with challenges, but those challenges are meant to help you grow in your career.
If you are curious to learn more about becoming a software developer, AltCampus is here to boost your career with a solid online bootcamp 🚀.
See you in the next post! Until then, keep shipping 🙌