What is Imposter Syndrome

flaviocopes profile image flavio ⚡️🔥 Originally published at flaviocopes.com on ・2 min read

Every person, sooner or later, is going to suffer from this thing which we label “imposter syndrome”.

You might have this feeling now, but you don’t know that it has a name attached.

Let me describe some situations where you might find imposter syndrome in the wild.

  1. You are a developer, have no Computer Science degree, and you feel people that got the CS degree know a lot more than you, and you should get one too in order to be called a developer too
  2. You work on a project and you call it a little side project, not a real project, because - you know - it’s just a simple app
  3. You constantly belittle yourself, and have low confidence in your abilities
  4. You think other developers know a lot more than you do.
  5. You think some day someone will find out what you are not worth your job position, as you can’t solve the coding interview quiz #423 on a random book
  6. You think you don’t belong to the “coder’s club”
  7. You’d like to start blogging but you fear other’s opinions and even think that you can’t add anything new to the table, so you don’t even start

I know these examples because I have people emailing me those very specific issues.

Now sometimes I think the solution is to tell you

  • everyone’s winging it
  • no one really knows what they are doing
  • people you look up to like to show themselves as overconfident publicly, but under the hoods they’re not really like that
  • things will always be like this

But this is still very self-deprecating.

The real response to all this thinking is to realize how far you went from when you started.

Look back.

There was a day when you could not even figure out how to start the computer. What code even was. You didn’t know you could actually create programs and make the computer do what you want.

Look at you now.

You are the best version of yourself and yet you are perfectly sure that tomorrow you’ll be an even better version.

You are improving. Just like your code.

But you know you are not perfect at your craft, and I think that this is a feeling that might never go away. After all programming is such an enormous field.

And we all know that person that is very overconfident, and will deprecate others just because they don’t know that specific thing they happen to know a lot about… well, don’t be that person.

Find your sweet spot.

I’m sure you’ll even get better at your craft if you start believing more that you were made for it.

The hardest part of solving a bug is identifying that bug. The rest comes easier.


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Mike Lockhart

I have to remind myself regularly: I am 11-year-old-Michael's hero