Hello fellow geeks! In this article I want to talk about something that I don't think is addressed enough - the serious problem with imposter syndrome in this industry.
Imposter syndrome is horrible. You feel inadequate, like you've got where you are because of chance, and eventually someone is going to find out you're an imposter.
And I don't know a single developer who doesn't feel this way on a weekly basis.
Imposter syndrome was initially thought to be seen in only women, and I can definitely say that a lot of my feelings of fraud stem from there. In every single job I've had I've been the first women hired in the engineering team. One time I was the first woman in the whole company. This comes with its own issues, but one of the most pressing ones is the imposter syndrome. Was I hired because I'm a woman?
However, nowadays we know that everyone, regardless of gender, feels like a fraud sometimes. There isn't enough research to really conclude where or how imposter syndrome came to be, so I like to use this diagram:
We have no way to understand the minds of our colleagues and peers. We don't know how much they know. It just seems like they are more skilled than us because we judge our skill in relation to other people. But what we're doing wrong here is we're judging our skill in relation to every person, not just one.
When we ask someone for help, we don't know what happens on their end. Oftentimes, we think they just know the answer. However, a lot of the time, they use the knowledge gained from our question, their own knowledge, and the knowledge of another person to answer our question. Knowledge is shared between these parties.
That's the way teams work. You have a particular skill you bring to the table. Sometimes it doesn't seem that way because everyone else has a skill they bring to the table that is different from yours.
Tackling imposter syndrome is a lot more difficult than it looks. Repeatedly telling yourself you're not an imposter doesn't work. The best way to overcome it is to talk to others about it, share your story, and realize that almost everybody feels the same way as you. Understand that those people who seem infinitely more skilled than you make mistakes too. You just don't see them.
So I'm creating a way to do that. On July 13th (Tuesday), I'll launch a blog called 'Errors Should Never Pass Silently', a place to share mistakes that we've made, how we've tackled our own imposter syndrome, and advice we can offer to others. The name is based on the Zen of Python. It'll be a place to submit your own articles that can be published anonymously or with your name and links to your social media.
Right now, a few awesome developers are writing articles to be published and featured when it's launched. This is what you have to look forward to:
- 5 Mistakes I Made as a Beginner
- 13 Years in the Industry and I've Never Overcome my Imposter Syndrome
- My Biggest Error was Never Leaving my Java Bubble
- Feelings of Inadequacy
If you're interested in joining in and writing an article for launch, leave a comment here or DM me on Twitter.
Let's tackle imposter syndrome together.