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You're Better Than Your Impostor Syndrome

sarah_bean profile image Sarah Beecroft ・3 min read

Hi! My name is Sarah and I've only been seriously coding for a little over a year. I deal with Impostor syndrome, just as many other coding newbies do. I love to code. It's kind of taken over all my free time as of late. But despite this, I have this deep-seated anxiety over my coding abilities and I often look at everything I don't know, as opposed to what I do know.

I'm no expert on overcoming this by any means, I deal with it every day. BUT, I have picked up a few tips along the way that help me with the unease, and I'd like to share with others who might be feeling the same.

Code Every Single Day

Obviously life happens, but if you can, code every single day. Even just for an hour. This is why I started the #100DaysOfCode challenge. I needed to build the habit. Now that I'm almost done with my first round, I can safely say it's a cemented routine. In fact, I've been in kind of a "coding frenzy" as my husband so delicately put it yesterday.

See next post on learning to take a break ;)

I kind of look at my coding time as time to work on one of 3 categories: job prep (practicing interview algorithms, working on portfolio, etc.), course work (Udemy, Lynda, YouTube tutorials, etc.), and project work. I bounce between these categories depending on my mood but try to get some actual coding work in, rather than always just relying on tutorials to guide me through. I find I learn the most when I'm breaking things.

Support Fellow Developers

I might not be to the point where I can offer a lot of technical advice to my peers, but I can offer moral support and that's worth something. After joining the #100DaysOfCode, I was immediately blown away by how nice and supportive the coding community is. My follower numbers started to jump (much to my surprise) and I found that there were a lot of people in the same boat as me. So encourage others! You never know when you'll make someone's day by offering them some positive feedback or pushing them when discouraged.

Practice Interview Problems

I'm still on the hunt for my first dev job and have successfully made it through a few rounds of interviews, only to crash on the technical. I know a lot of you have been here. Sites like HackerRank and EdaBit have been an absolute lifesaver for me. Additionally, I picked up a whiteboard so I can practice problems at home. Like playing a game, if you don't practice it, you're probably gonna be pretty rusty.

Compare Your Journey To Your Own

Stop. comparing. yourself. to. other. people.

Those people had to start somewhere, just like you did. I often find myself looking at the feed of a developer whom I admire and noticing feelings of my own shortcomings starting to creep in. I think it's human nature to compare, but making yourself feel bad because you're not in the same place on your career path isn't helping anyone, especially you. If you sat down and wrote a list of everything you know compared to 1 year ago, I bet you'd be pretty amazed.

So work on telling your brain that you're awesome and are crushing it. This isn't a race and you're doing just fine.

Posted on by:

sarah_bean profile

Sarah Beecroft

@sarah_bean

Hi, I'm Sarah! I'm a digital marketer turned coder, looking for a job in web development. Graduated from the University of Washington Full Stack Coding Boot Camp (MERN) She/Her

Discussion

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Am with you on this. I am still new to coding but on the very first days were pretty hard on me. It took the support from my fellow coders at boot-camp to overcome my fears and shortcomings. Just as you have said it on the blog, you have to totally believe in yourself and your work and most importantly code everyday. Sites like CodeWars can also be of help with the Whiteboard problems. Write the BDD and Pseudocode before tackling the actual problem as it not only helps you understand the problem better but also coming up with the solution.

 

I need to go back to CodeWars! I checked it out when I first started and it was just a little daunting.. Pseudocoding is something I need to be better at too! Whiteboarding is great for that.

 

Personally I find HackerRank intimidating partly because I never understand my way around and have a hard time figuring how it works. Also CodeWars is much easy to understand and know your way around. A lot of Devs practice using CodeWars making it easy to get assistance when stuck. Crush on Pseudocode and it will be easy on the problem.

Their interface is a little confusing at first. I highly recommend going through their tutorials first. Once you adjust to it, it's not so bad. I'll be checking out CodeWars later today.

 

I still deal with this after 4-5 years of working as a developer in the same company,

I can assure you this is something also midlevel/senior developers suffer as well if not more because they are expected to perform in a certain way and offer a certain output.

Juniors are expected to not be experts in anything so you don't have to worry that much about doing it all perfectly :)

I recommend checking this article out, and many more that are available in dev.to:

 

I really appreciate your insight. I liked that you focused on not only what impostor syndrome is and how to start to conquer, but how it can damage reputation and mental health. I'm guilty of belittling my own achievements because of the thoughts in my head, so I need the reminder sometimes.

 

lol I totally responded to you as if you wrote this article. I blame early morning pre-coffee. Either way, your insight is appreciated. :)

 

Ohh, don't worry! I guessed that was the case :P

 

Honestly though, comparing myself to others has been doing a great job at making me confused as of thinking if I chose the right decision to stick with programming. I always doubt myself because of my lack of math skills and the fact that I want to learn game development which has some maths. It sucks, but I'm here still learning. Thanks for sharing the post, made me realise that I'm not the only one feeling this kind of thing.

 

I have a PhD in computer science and work as a senior developer at a startup, and the impostor syndrome hits me as well every now and then. That's normal, I guess. Reflecting on your position is good, but fear is not. Don't let it keep you from following your chosen path.

There's a proverb in my country: "Everybody is cooking with water". There is no super-special ingredient, it's discipline and diligence and hard honest work. You're certainly not an impostor if you're working to the best of your abilities and constantly learn more.

 
 
 

I totally agree! I've been in my job for 3 years now and I still feel like an impostor sometimes. I really like the steps you've mentioned!

 

It's comforting to know those with more years experience still feel this. Thanks!

 

Very well-written article. Best of luck on your journey. You're slaying it!

 

Thanks so much for your kind words!

 
 

I have 7+ years of experience and I still feel like I'm the real impostor. πŸ˜…

 

Seems impostor syndrome doesn't care about years of experience unfortunately πŸ˜…

 

This is helpful thanks for sharing your story 😊🀝