Well, I can’t say if this text is about Imposter Syndrome or not. Most of what I read about it, explains the definition and try to give some advice to the others as a way to help them out. But my words here are just about some thoughts and feelings from my perspective as a developer. I’m 30 years old and started programming about 8 years ago. I have worked with a bunch of different technologies in a few companies in different teams, here in my country and also remotely with international teams, which is my current format of work.
Throughout my career, since the beginning, I’ve always felt like I was a step behind the others. Even today, when I have an opportunity to have a conversation with another developer, there is a big change I’ll assume that the other person is a level higher than me, so I try to speak the less I as can. I feel like I’m surrounded by lots of fingers pointing at me judging my lack of knowledge. Even though I know that it’s all in my head, I can’t get rid of it so easily.
I know that nobody knows everything, but without realizing it I catch myself having thoughts like “Damn, I’m doing this for years so I should know how to use Docker yet”, “I should clearly know why to use the JS framework X over Y framework in that situation”, “Am I able to speak with confidence about why Object-Oriented Programming is better than Functional Programming and vice versa?”. After all of these years programming, I also blame myself because:
- I don’t have vast knowledge in the current technology I’m currently working, when I think I should because “I’m an experienced developer”
- I have some difficulties to keep some basic concepts in my brain and discuss them (I’m actually embarrassed to write some of them down here)
- I’ve never worked with unit tests for real (I guess tiny projects on GitHub doesn’t count, does it?)
- I’ve never used any design patterns (or at least I wasn’t aware of using them)
- I don’t feel confident enough to do a code review properly (every time my pull request get some suggestions I think “OMG, how couldn’t I think this way? It’s so much simpler)
- I have difficulties to think about a project architecture from scratch
After reading this list you may be thinking “so all you have to do is to study and then you’ll get better on those points”. But, as every day there is a new technology coming up, the more stuff you have to study. Personally, I can start doing something on React, for example, but I end up losing the interest quickly and I just can’t keep going on. I have plenty of courses on my Udemy account but never watched the most or haven’t finished them. The same happens with tons of PDFs with tutorials and courses I used to keep and I’ve never read them.
Nowadays I see some job positions like “Senior Developer”, “Senior Dev Engineer” and “Tech Lead” and I think to myself “After 8 years, do I feel like a Senior?”, “Do I really have 8 years of experience or did I repeat 1 year 8 times?”, “The HR interview seems to be fine, as well as the coding challenges, but could I pass the technical interview?”, and I end up not applying to those ones. I’m more interested in positions like “Software Developer”, “Frontend Developer” or “Fullstack Developer”.
Another thing that bothers me a little, is: as 30 years old person, I cringe when I see those kids in their 20’s having hot discussions with other developers, giving good suggestions in the Scrum meetings or creating amazing stuff, like Dan Abramov who created Redux in their 20’s (I guess). Damn, they seem to be so perfect. Yes, I know that everyone is different and each one of us has different experiences, different background histories, and different personalities, but this pill is still hard to swallow for me when it shouldn’t. And please, I’m not mentioning this as a bad thing, it’s the opposite, I would like to be like them and whenever I can, I try to learn from them.
Well, these are just some confessions, and though it may look negative, maybe every developer felt, or will feel, some of those points I’ve mentioned here at some time of his/her career. We’re not perfect and every day there is a new chance to learn and improve ourselves. Sometimes I think that it’s more about self-confidence and less about technical knowledge because self-confidence will help you to bring more technical knowledge.
And that’s all folks.
Be curious, and don’t forget to drink water.