How I dealt with Imposter Syndrome(IS) as a Developer

Yes, Imposter Syndrome is REAL!!! Therefore, you ought to be aware of it in order to fight it.

Have you ever felt like you don’t belong? You don't actually deserve your job or accomplishments, you’ve just been lucky so far? Like your friends and colleagues are going to discover that you're a fraud? If your answer is YES, then you're at the right place.

This article has many purposes to serve, therefore, it will help you in the following ways:

  • Spread Awareness About Imposter Syndrome

  • How to deal with Imposter Syndrome

  • How to benefit from Imposter Syndrome

What is imposter syndrome?

It's like this voice inside your head that keeps telling you that you're not good enough and no matter how hard you try to push it down. It keeps coming back to tell you that you're a fraud, and you've only succeeded so far due to luck and not because of your talent and/or qualifications, but someday someone's gonna call you out!

Now, like most people, Impostor Syndrome has been the story of my life, but when I first felt it, I wasn't strongly aware of it(just as most people aren't!) However, I really took it seriously when I first started working especially being the only girl in my team, to be precise, the only girl in the entire web department, and the fact that I was the only
immigrant at my office didn't help much either.

For the first few months, I realized that the more I know, the more I know that I don't know and I couldn’t shake the feeling that there is so much more to learn out there, it was overwhelming and caused anxiety.

As months passed and I started working with people closely on the same project(as part of a team), I came to understand that everyone's pretty much in the same boat. Nobody has it all figured out. I realized that it's okay to not always know the answer. It's really okay, to raise your hand and ask questions without thinking that they're stupid, and many other people had the very same question in their mind, but they were just as afraid to speak up. So, in a sense, I am not just helping myself, but a lot of other people as well.

“When you start a new job/business, the first two weeks you kind of get this free pass where you feel like you can ask any question and you don't have to be ashamed of not knowing the answer. It's almost like freedom where you can not worry about being ashamed of something you don't know, and so what I recommend to all people is to try to take that mindset from the first two weeks and bottle it up and hold on to it forever. 
Keep that beginner mindset as you enter a new problem and be willing to ask for help.” 
- Sid Palas from DevOps Directive YouTube Channel

How to benefit from Imposter Syndrome?

Now, thanks to my extensive research on Imposter Syndrome(at the time), one fine day, I came across an eye-opening TED talk from Mike Cannon on how to leverage Imposter Syndrome. Watching this ted talk made me ponder upon the true power of Imposter Syndrome and how it can create wonders for you if you leverage it the right way.

To sum up my learning from this talk I’d say,

People like you and myself think that successful people don't feel like fraud. They don't go through this fear of getting caught, BUT that's not true! Instead of questioning themselves, they heavily question their ideas and their knowledge, and they're not afraid to seek advice whenever they feel stuck and to use this advice to hone their ideas, to improve their knowledge, to improve themselves, and to learn. 

If you feel like you don't know something that people around you are so much better at, so what?! Just take action!! Learn, Practice, and Get better! The choice is really yours. If you’re going to just sit and feel anxious about it, or if you're going to really do something about it, huh?

How to deal with Imposter Syndrome?

Finally, I'd like to share with you the mantra I use whenever I’m in a battle with such negative thoughts.

Yes, there's still so much to learn and trust me there will always be, but I am NOT a fraud. I've worked really hard all these years to get where I am today, and I can proudly say that I'm a Computer Science Engineer / A programmer / A creator; and I create these wonderful, amazing things because I can do it, but if I don't know how to do it, I'll learn and then I'll know how to do it. 

But if you don't trust me take it from her,

“You may think that you shouldn't be in the room or you don't know enough, but that's just not true.” - Melinda Gates (More Resources)

Thank you so much for making it till the end of this article. It has been a real roller coaster journey for me as well, but I'm really happy to talk about it with you. If you've felt Impostor Syndrome in the past or if you're still dealing with it, I really hope this article helps you fight it, even better it might inspire you to use it to your benefit.