"There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure".-Paulo Coelho
I am just a few weeks away from finishing the first phase of my Software Engineering Bootcamp at Flatiron School. Surprisingly, I recently became aware of the term "Imposter Syndrome" and can confirm that I am experiencing all the related symptoms.
What is Imposter Syndrome? Imposter syndrome is a psychological phenomenon where individuals doubt their abilities and feel like a fraud. It disproportionately affects high-achieving people, who find it difficult to accept their accomplishments. Many questions whether they're deserving of accolades. Conquering Imposter Syndrome can be daunting, but it's crucial to acknowledge that these negative thoughts and emotions don't mirror your skills. Let's explore the ways to tackle it head-on.
In my current role, I am accustomed to receiving accolades for consistently delivering and always meeting deadlines with efficiency.
However, with only a month into my Bootcamp journey, I've already experienced moments of self-doubt and a lack of motivation that make it tempting to throw in the towel. It's all too easy to fall into a negative headspace instead of maintaining a positive and focused mindset.
So How Do You Combat Imposter Syndrome? I found this article online https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/impostor-syndrome-tips which I have found to be very useful and have started using it as a guide.
Know The Signs.
The initial phase of this endeavor requires a mindset that acknowledges the challenges ahead, and accepts that the journey will be a demanding one. However, the outcome promises to be well worth the effort. In coding, failure serves as an invaluable tool, aside from Google. When feelings of inadequacy or impostor syndrome begin to surface, taking a step back and reflecting on past struggles and triumphs can help build resilience and inspire a winning attitude.
Know You're Not Alone.
-Whenever I lack motivation to study, I turn to my favorite Software Engineer YouTubers for inspiration. I highly recommend subscribing to their channels if you enjoy their content:
Livie the developer //
Livie's words in one of her videos really resonated with me: "Yes! Your feelings are completely valid and coding is undeniably challenging. I experienced the same struggles, but I persevered and became the first to receive a job offer. You can do it too." Since then, I've been a dedicated follower of hers. I recommend seeking out a community of like-minded individuals for support, or joining a group such as https://dev.to/. There's a wealth of valuable information on this platform for beginners that is definitely worth exploring.
Distinguish Humility And Fear.
Humility is a sign of Strength. Accepting Fear is part of being alive. Recognizing and accepting fear is a natural part of the human experience, and humility is a sign of true strength. For those new to coding, building confidence requires developing a personalized learning plan that takes into account individual learning styles. It's crucial to avoid comparing oneself to others and instead focus on consistency, dedicating several hours each day to coding. Adjusting to the pace of learning can be a challenge, so it's important to be patient and keep in mind that programming is a difficult undertaking.
Let Go Of Your Inner Perfectionist.
To succeed in programming, it's essential to become comfortable with stepping out of your comfort zone. It's simply not possible to know everything about this constantly evolving discipline, and even seasoned developers are challenged to keep pace with new developments. Mastery of every programming language is neither expected nor required. Success in programming comes down to having the passion, desire, and dedication to pursue it, and with these traits, one can overcome any obstacle.
Be Kind To Yourself.
It's crucial to prioritize rest and exercise to maintain one's well-being. Equally important is spending quality time with loved ones whenever possible. For those juggling the demands of being a student, working full-time, and managing a household, it's essential to keep one's purpose in mind. In my case, I dream of a better life and strive to inspire others, particularly women in similar situations. These aspirations provide me with the motivation to keep going, knowing that I have much to offer and am driven by pure intentions.
Track Your Success.
Learning to code is undoubtedly challenging, so it's important to celebrate every achievement, no matter how small. I was overjoyed when I created my first task-lister, even though it took me hours to complete. Afterwards, I would often pour myself a glass of wine to mark the occasion. Cheers!
Talk With Your Mentor.
I feel incredibly fortunate to have a cohort that is both kind and supportive. Within this community, I've been able to freely express my emotions without any fear of judgement. It's essential to establish a strong connection with your mentor. My advice to anyone starting out in a similar program is to be open and never hesitate to ask questions, even if you worry they may be perceived as "dumb."
Say Yes To Opportunities.
If an opportunity arises, I'm eager to seize it with open arms. When I first began my current job, I had no prior experience with SAP systems and my proficiency in Microsoft Excel was limited. However, less than a year later, I've become one of the top performers on our team. This is because I was willing to put in the effort to learn and improve.
Embrace The Feeling.
DO NOT allow feelings of 'Imposter Syndrome' to hinder your progress in achieving your goals. Remember that self-doubt is a common experience among many individuals, including those who are highly skilled in their respective fields. Instead of letting these negative thoughts consume you, try to acknowledge them, and focus on the progress you've made so far. It's also helpful to surround yourself with a supportive community of individuals who can relate to your experience and provide guidance when needed. With dedication, perseverance, and the right mindset, you can overcome any obstacle and reach your aspirations and as for me to one day become Software Engineer.
Top comments (33)
Super nice article thanks <3 . I would like to add that if you give your best every day as a developer you don't have to blame yourself! Giving your best also includes things like relaxing, detaching, time with your family, playing a game. Being a developer is about you! Embrace that as I do :) !
Great addition, this is also what has helped me get over imposter syndrome, mostly :P
There are a couple quotes that I think encapsulate all of the above quite well. They went something like: "work is not your life, work is part of your life", and also "work to live, don't live to work"
I will internalize the quote you shared. It is so true. I will try to enjoy the ride. Thank you!
Thank You so much. I am learning every day...this symptom won't go away for sure, it's part of our journey. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger as they say.
BTW I'm like hit by it everyday. But at this stage I'm used to it. I'd be like "can I do this?" "What if what I'm doing is wrong or will break or cause error? " etc etc. I'm thinking all that yet I'm doing my thing and I'm doing it all correct. Sooner or later it'll become part of daily life and it'd become just some random thoughts.
Also I noticed that the more things you know, the more hard it hits you.
It is a daily struggle so when those ugly thoughts appear, I also try to fight back and look at what I have gone so far. So yeah being kind to yourself helps. Thank you. We keep fighting and winning!
Very well said, this reminds me of a quote I read in the book "The Art of Power" stating, "Don't practice everyday, just practice, and do it everyday." You don't have to wear yourself out trying to aim for perfection. Just go about your reutine and make it a daily habit until it's second nature.
I'm gonna reflect on that quote. Thank you!
it is a great articles, I think that disting between fear and humilty is too difficult because the fear carry to the pride, have pride is not bad but when you have so much it is dangerous, is difficult think in humility when the fear is behind of you.
thanks again I need a lot of reflexion. :) and I goingo to keep this articles for help me when I have impostor sindrome.
This it’s real
I guess most in the tech world are experiencing this symptom.
but i have learn to live with that , i have learned to take my time , learn to take my time to rest , to sleep well and come back to code if I got stuck.
it is very nice to have a community here to talk about and who are experienced the same so we dont feel alone in pain or like an aliens no more , we are aliens definitely ahhaha but we are many :)
, regards janice
Thank you. I am learning each day and trying not to let the ugly thoughts affect me and yes taking a break is good.
That is the best attitude, I usually get frustrated and then have to do something else and then come back.
We need to be patient and kind with ourselves.
I found this bit of sage wisdom in a tutorial book that has always stuck with me.
Some things are hard. Learning to program is hard. Learning a programming language is hard. Learning a platform is hard. Learning software engineering is hard.
It's hard and it's continuous learning. Thank you for sharing.
Remember your wins,
Take to heart the times your users/clients say GREAT WORK! You're a Star!
That project you did 2 years ago that hasn't needed maintenance but still provides value. (Big or small)
That script you did that shaved an hour off a task every 2 weeks. That's ~50hs a year. Put that into the mindset of $/H or Hours with Family/Friends Recovered + repeatability.
Thank you. I am about to build my very first project for phase 1, nothing revolutionary but will celebrate after that for sure.
I appreciate this article.
My practical suggestion, having gone through impostor syndrome myself, is to get your foot in the door with the job that you want.
If you get hired, then trust that your employer hired you for a reason, and if you were more junior in your skills, that won't be a surprise to them when you start--they can see that in the interview. That means that despite your lack of skills, they saw something valuable and hired you. Trust them.
From there, soak in as much information as possible from whoever is onboarding/mentoring you.
While you never learn all that you can, experience is the surest guide to feeling confident.
Looking forward to graduating early next year. I will certainly take your advice with me. I appreciate it so much. I can't wait. Thank you!
I’d like to share some of my own experiences. Warning ⚠️: this is going to be long.
When I started out as a software developer 6+ years ago, I was totally shocked 🤯 by how bad I was at coding. Everyone around me was doing great, completing all the assignments, I had the worst reviews among all my batchmates, and so on. Every single day I would think if I was cut out for the job. I too didn’t know this was called imposter syndrome.
Looking at types above, I can safely say I was the perfectionist type even though I was struggling with the basic stuff 🥲, and the soloist because I didn’t want anyone touching my code thinking they could make it worse than it already is. BIIIIIIG MISTAKE!!! I should have reached out for help and communicated with someone more experienced.
The client suggested that we present our journey for this project in Dreamforce since something like this was not very common, plus this might get us the much needed help we’ll need in the near future.
I was so happy that I finally got a great platform to share my work with others.
One more surprise the client had for me was that I was going to be the one presenting the whole talk. insert heavy breathing and sweating meme
As you might have guessed, this is where the imposter syndrome kicked me right in the face. And the fact that I was the only one working on it made it worse. Again, big mistake, I didn’t reach out for help.
Anyways I submitted the proposal, and even though I knew how great of an opportunity this was, every day I would just wish that Salesforce reject the proposal. And when they finally did, it crushed me knowing I had just missed a great opportunity.
That’s when I decided I was just going to ignore whatever bad thoughts come into my mind, ask for help as early as possible.
Well, fast forward to today, I still have some of those thoughts and I’m still kind of a soloist, but now I’ve somewhat learned how to deal with them and learned to be a better teammate. What works best for me is that I don’t think too much about the possible outcomes, I just take everything up like a chore that I have to do, like running an errand at home, no big deal, right 😅.
I’ve now found a partial solution that works for me, but I’m always on the lookout for better ways to deal with such negative thoughts.
Communication might be THE BEST solution IMO.
Oh wow! Thank you for sharing your story. For you to recognize your flaw(a sign of humility and that you are winning), is already a big step in fighting IS. I can understand being a soloist as the fear of being judged, for me. Luckily, I found one classmate that I made a connection with... we both can relate to each other and support each other. It does help to know you are not alone in this and that your feelings are valid. I guess we just have to see the bright side of this syndrome... that we can know ourselves better and we are great fighters in our battle. Winners never quit and quitters never win! Thank you again!
I was struggling the first 3 weeks at Bootcamp because of this mistake. Thank you!
Well shit, I just realized I'm an imposter :(
What an amazing article thanks for writing it.
We all can relate, we're not alone in this but we're winning and moving forward!!!
One step to overcoming impostor feelings is to acknowledge the thoughts and put them in perspective :)
Nice article !! 😎
I was taken aback at first and almost gave up. I started watching youTube videos and found Software Engineers discussing this and it did help a lot to know that you're not alone. Thank YOU!
Nice write and actionable advice! Thanks
Thank you Jamie
Love this! Thank you!