Do you beat yourself up for making simple mistakes? Or maybe you get completely lost in a meeting about a new project because you don’t know half the technologies the other developers are talking about or you feel like you don’t know where to start when given a new task or project?
Do you feel like you don't fit into a job role when you see the job description or you can't understand some syntax, words or patterns used in the code and even worse you constantly feel like you’re falling farther and farther behind the next framework or language?
The constant feeling of not being good enough or not knowing enough to do your job well is very common and it's called impostor syndrome. Every Human has felt that way before and the ability to reduce the occurrence is a much-needed skill.
You most likely feel this way because you are doing something outside of your comfort zone. While this is a good sign because it means you are growing and trying to stretch yourself, you are entering a zone where you are not the smartest or most talented person this causes some kind of uncomfortable feeling. The pressure that comes with the tech industry can be overwhelming because programmers always have to be in a constant learning phase staying updated with the latest technology, frameworks, language, tools, practices and a lot of things. This pressure to learn something new and unknown can cause you to start doubting your accomplishments, feeling insecure, comparing yourself with others and then suffer from this problem. You need to understand that no developer can know everything and that each point you learn as much as you need.
The problem with impostor syndrome is that it can affect your productivity and self-worth and reduce your delivery as well as affect every member of your team. You will tend to be more stressed, you may feel depressed or anxious and you can burn out trying to stretch yourself all the time to achieve the goal.
How to deal with the impostor syndrome
Make Your Fundamentals Clear
Having a strong foundation will help you to pick up any framework or library-related to it. So don’t ignore basic concepts before rushing to any new technology.
New language, new frameworks, new tools all these things are shiny and attractive for developers but you need to understand that if your foundations aren’t solid and your fundamentals are not clear then whatever new things you will try to pick up it won’t help you for a long time.
Keep Track of Your Achievements
Learn to Keep track of how far you have come. How you solved your first programming problem, how you dealt with the bugs, how you learned new technology or tools when you had to add some features to a product. How you became an expert in some language and how you took the challenge to solve some complex problems in difficult situations. These things will make you optimistic and it will also help you to overcome impostor syndrome.
Plan a learning path
You can plan a career goal for yourself and decide what you want to learn every month. You can move towards your goal and keep adding skills in your brain cart. Make a calendar for every month, learn the skill and keep track of all the accomplishments. Check your past accomplishments, take inspiration from there and feel positive for everything you have achieved. This will not only help you to overcome impostor but also it will help you to boost your resume.
Make a Habit of Being Uncomfortable
Software development is a field where nobody knows everything. Everyone in this field loves to share and talk about the technology they are working on or they have explored. Everybody wants to learn some sort of technology they are lacking because nobody wants to become a bad developer. Understand that technology is a never-ending thing so there will be always something to learn and you can’t learn all the technology, frameworks, tools which are coming out every day.
Accept the truth that you can not be an expert in software development, you will always find someone better than you, so instead of seeing someone’s intelligence and getting depressed focus on your learning and getting better every day in the right direction. There is no endpoint of being completely knowledgeable and comfortable in software development. Accept the real truth of software development that nobody can learn everything all the time so you need to make a habit of being uncomfortable.
Get Support from Seniors
Talk to your seniors and ask the question when you feel like you don’t know something. Whenever you get stuck in your code or need help in understanding some algorithm or design choice, get help from your seniors. It doesn’t make you a smaller person and it’s pretty normal to feel like a dumb person when you ask something you don’t know, especially working on a new project. Remember It’s okay to ask for help.
A lot of developers suffer from impostor syndrome but all they need to understand that it’s normal and they aren’t alone. Doubting your accomplishment and feeling like a bad programmer when you don’t know something is completely normal. Understand that it’s impossible to know everything all the time.
You don’t need to run away from impostor syndrome, embrace it and just consider this as an opportunity to learn something new.