DEV Community


Posted on

The Dreaded Imposter Syndrome

I've got imposter syndrome… and maybe you do too?

Alt Text

First of all… what even is Imposter Syndrome? Imposter Syndrome is loosely defined as the fear of being found out as a fraud, as somebody who is not qualified to be doing the work they are doing despite their talent and experience. This belief tends to be somewhat baseless, as people are often more qualified than they believe. However, our inner voices can be strong and the more we tell ourselves something, the more it tends to come to fruition. 

Alt Text

Anybody can experience imposter syndrome. What I've found interesting about Flatiron School is that people from all backgrounds come together all with the same end goal of becoming software developers. Everyone has a different story before starting the bootcamp which means it should be hard to compare or quantify our skills. However, it can be so easy to slip into a mindset of comparison as we move through the program. I believe that it's essential to think of our differences as strengths rather than weaknesses. Being exposed to different perspectives can spark new ideas and keep our current ideas fresh. 

I do feel like I've experienced imposer syndrome coming to Flatiron. My educational background isn't in tech; I have a bachelors degree in Sociology with a minor in Social Work. Even though I spent (too) much of my time growing up playing computer and video games, I didn't take the plunge into learning to code until around two years ago. Even though I zoomed through HTML and CSS, JavaScript took me good amount of time to get the hang of. I knew the pace of the bootcamp would be fast and I was worried I wouldn't be able to keep up. And true to imposter syndrome, I felt like I almost tricked my way into the course. Even though I had been studying programming for over a year and half, at times it didn't seem like enough. Did I just get into the program out of sheer luck? Another thing that came to mind was the pervasive gender gap in technology. Women are outnumbered to men, and in a way that made the stakes higher to me. I was afraid of failing and being seen as yet another woman who couldn't cut it in the field.

So what can we all do to combat imposter syndrome? Here are some strategies that I've come up with and been trying to practice so far.

  1. Reminding myself that learning anything takes time, and that's why maintaining a positive mindset and respecting where I'm at right now is so important.
  2. Appreciating the challenges that learning to code has presented me. Celebrating what I do know and claiming what I have learned so far
  3. Finding a mentor who you I relate to and be open with. Talk to them about how I'm contributing and what I do well and know well and what else I have to learn.

Remember that everyone is on a learning journey all of the time - and as long as you remain open and curious, you can quiet your inner imposter.

Alt Text

Top comments (0)