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Janice Alecha
Janice Alecha

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How Do You Overcome Imposter Syndrome?

"**There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure".-Paulo Coelho



I am weeks away from completing phase 1 of Software Engineering Bootcamp at Flatiron School and I never heard of the term Imposter Syndrome before until now and kid you not, I am feeling all the symptoms.

What is Imposter Syndrome? According to google, Imposter syndrome is loosely defined as doubting your abilities and feeling like a fraud. It disproportionately affects high-achieving people, who find it difficult to accept their accomplishments. Many questions whether they're deserving of accolades.

Types Of Imposter Syndrome by Theresa Chiechi

I am used to getting praised at my current job for performing highly on my tasks, which include creating new materials for over 3000 projects and delivering them on time and efficiently.

Now, just a month into Bootcamp, I am already feeling like giving up at times. It is so easy to feel down and self-doubt yourself instead of keeping your energy and motivation high.

So How Do You Combat Imposter Syndrome? I found this article online https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/impostor-syndrome-tips which I have found to be very useful and have started using it as a guide.

Tips to cope with Imposter Syndrome

  • Know The Signs.

This is the first step and you must accept that it is not going to be an easy journey but know that the end result will be very rewarding. In coding, failing will be your second-best tool, aside from Google. When I start feeling that I don't belong or am not enough, I take breaks and reflect on some of the hardest obstacles I went through in my life and what I did to surpass them and come back up winning.

  • Know You're Not Alone.

-My favorite Software Engineer YouTubers that I look up to every time I am not feeling the mood to study. You should subscribe to them if you like their content:

livie the developer //

BABE ENGINEER

When Livie said in one of her video **"Yes! your feelings are extremely valid and coding is something difficult to do. I went through the same thing, but if I did it and be the first to get a job offer...so can you."** I know I needed to hear that one and have been a follower since. So, find a community with similar interests for support or join a group like https://dev.to/. There's a ton of valuable information on here for beginners that you may want to check out.

  • Distinguish Humility And Fear.

Humility is a sign of Strength. Accepting Fear is part of being alive. To gain confidence in coding, especially for newbies, you have to lay out a plan and identify your learning style. Also, stop comparing yourself to others. You have to stay consistent and dedicate a few hours a day to code. It can be challenging to adjust to not learning everything at once so be patient. Remember programming is hard.

  • Let Go Of Your Inner Perfectionist.

Get comfortable with getting uncomfortable. It is impossible to know everything about programming. Not everyone knows every programming language. Programming is an ever-evolving discipline that made it even more difficult even for developers that have been in the industry for years. If you have the zest, desire, and passion then you are set for success.

  • Be Kind To Yourself.

Take time to get enough rest and exercise. Spend quality time with your family when you can. I always remind myself from time to time, of my purpose. Sacrificing time, juggling between being a student, managing a full-time job, and maintaining a household. I dreamt of a better life. Likewise, I wanted to be an inspiration to others, most especially women in the same situation as me and that keeps me going because I know I have so much to offer and pure intentions.

  • Track Your Success.

Learning to code can be a really difficult process, so when you accomplish something, even if it's small, celebrate it! I was beyond ecstatic when I made my very first task-lister even though it took me hours to complete them. I then pour myself a glass of wine. Cheers!

  • Talk With Your Mentor.

I am so blessed to have a very kind and supportive cohort. I was able to communicate my emotions without the fear of being judged. It's so important to connect well with your mentor. My advice is to be open and don't be scared to ask. Even if you think it's a dumb question.

  • Say Yes To Opportunities.

When the opportunity comes I would gladly accept it with open arms. When I just barely started working at my current job. I have no knowledge of the SAP systems and I was not an expert in Microsoft Excel but less than a year later I am now one of the best on our Team that's because I was willing to learn and I worked my hardest to be better.

And Lastly...

  • Embrace The Feeling.

Don't let 'Imposter Syndrome' affect you and stop you from your goal to be one day a successful Software Engineer.

Discussion (32)

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mmuller88 profile image
Martin Muller

Super nice article thanks <3 . I would like to add that if you give your best every day as a developer you don't have to blame yourself! Giving your best also includes things like relaxing, detaching, time with your family, playing a game. Being a developer is about you! Embrace that as I do :) !

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nombrekeff profile image
Keff

Great addition, this is also what has helped me get over imposter syndrome, mostly :P

There are a couple quotes that I think encapsulate all of the above quite well. They went something like: "work is not your life, work is part of your life", and also "work to live, don't live to work"

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janicera2880 profile image
Janice Alecha Author

I will internalize the quote you shared. It is so true. I will try to enjoy the ride. Thank you!

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janicera2880 profile image
Janice Alecha Author

Thank You so much. I am learning every day...this symptom won't go away for sure, it's part of our journey. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger as they say.

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wrench1815 profile image
Hardeep Kumar

Nice article.

BTW I'm like hit by it everyday. But at this stage I'm used to it. I'd be like "can I do this?" "What if what I'm doing is wrong or will break or cause error? " etc etc. I'm thinking all that yet I'm doing my thing and I'm doing it all correct. Sooner or later it'll become part of daily life and it'd become just some random thoughts.
Also I noticed that the more things you know, the more hard it hits you.

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janicera2880 profile image
Janice Alecha Author

It is a daily struggle so when those ugly thoughts appear, I also try to fight back and look at what I have gone so far. So yeah being kind to yourself helps. Thank you. We keep fighting and winning!

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eljayadobe profile image
Eljay-Adobe

I found this bit of sage wisdom in a tutorial book that has always stuck with me.

Aaron used to have a boss named Rock. Rock had earned a degree in astrophysics from Cal Tech and had never had a job that used his knowledge of the heavens. He was once asked if he regretted getting the degree. “Actually, my degree in astrophysics has proved to be very valuable,” he said. “Some things in this world are just hard. When I am struggling with something, I sometimes think ‘Damn, this is hard for me. I wonder if I am stupid,’ and then I remember that I have a degree in astrophysics from Cal Tech; I must not be stupid.”
— Cocoa Programming for OS X, Big Nerd Ranch

Some things are hard. Learning to program is hard. Learning a programming language is hard. Learning a platform is hard. Learning software engineering is hard.

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janicera2880 profile image
Janice Alecha Author

It's hard and it's continuous learning. Thank you for sharing.

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michaelmangial1 profile image
Michael Mangialardi

I appreciate this article.

My practical suggestion, having gone through impostor syndrome myself, is to get your foot in the door with the job that you want.

If you get hired, then trust that your employer hired you for a reason, and if you were more junior in your skills, that won't be a surprise to them when you start--they can see that in the interview. That means that despite your lack of skills, they saw something valuable and hired you. Trust them.

From there, soak in as much information as possible from whoever is onboarding/mentoring you.

While you never learn all that you can, experience is the surest guide to feeling confident.

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janicera2880 profile image
Janice Alecha Author

Looking forward to graduating early next year. I will certainly take your advice with me. I appreciate it so much. I can't wait. Thank you!

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ryencode profile image
Ryan Brown

Remember your wins,
Take to heart the times your users/clients say GREAT WORK! You're a Star!
That project you did 2 years ago that hasn't needed maintenance but still provides value. (Big or small)
That script you did that shaved an hour off a task every 2 weeks. That's ~50hs a year. Put that into the mindset of $/H or Hours with Family/Friends Recovered + repeatability.

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janicera2880 profile image
Janice Alecha Author

Thank you. I am about to build my very first project for phase 1, nothing revolutionary but will celebrate after that for sure.

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josepedrolorenzini profile image
Jose_Lorenzini

This it’s real

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janicera2880 profile image
Janice Alecha Author

I guess most in the tech world are experiencing this symptom.

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josepedrolorenzini profile image
Jose_Lorenzini

i have been feeling like that since i started with photoshop then html then css javascript php etcetc, never goes.
but i have learn to live with that , i have learned to take my time , learn to take my time to rest , to sleep well and come back to code if I got stuck.
it is very nice to have a community here to talk about and who are experienced the same so we dont feel alone in pain or like an aliens no more , we are aliens definitely ahhaha but we are many :)
, regards janice

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janicera2880 profile image
Janice Alecha Author

Thank you. I am learning each day and trying not to let the ugly thoughts affect me and yes taking a break is good.

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josepedrolorenzini profile image
Jose_Lorenzini

That is the best attitude, I usually get frustrated and then have to do something else and then come back.
We need to be patient and kind with ourselves.
Saludos

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mayuriyami profile image
MayuriYami

Very well said, this reminds me of a quote I read in the book "The Art of Power" stating, "Don't practice everyday, just practice, and do it everyday." You don't have to wear yourself out trying to aim for perfection. Just go about your reutine and make it a daily habit until it's second nature.

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janicera2880 profile image
Janice Alecha Author

I'm gonna reflect on that quote. Thank you!

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sainig profile image
Gaurav Saini

I’d like to share some of my own experiences. Warning ⚠️: this is going to be long.

When I started out as a software developer 6+ years ago, I was totally shocked 🤯 by how bad I was at coding. Everyone around me was doing great, completing all the assignments, I had the worst reviews among all my batchmates, and so on. Every single day I would think if I was cut out for the job. I too didn’t know this was called imposter syndrome.

Looking at types above, I can safely say I was the perfectionist type even though I was struggling with the basic stuff 🥲, and the soloist because I didn’t want anyone touching my code thinking they could make it worse than it already is. BIIIIIIG MISTAKE!!! I should have reached out for help and communicated with someone more experienced.

A short story from a few years ago to set the context before jumping to the present. I had just started out with a green field full JavaScript project, I was the only one working on this(this will be important later), and I was doing just fine, I was happy with the work I was putting out, thinking finally I was over the problems I had in the past. But boy was I wrong 🤦‍♂️.
The client suggested that we present our journey for this project in Dreamforce since something like this was not very common, plus this might get us the much needed help we’ll need in the near future.
I was so happy that I finally got a great platform to share my work with others.
One more surprise the client had for me was that I was going to be the one presenting the whole talk. insert heavy breathing and sweating meme

As you might have guessed, this is where the imposter syndrome kicked me right in the face. And the fact that I was the only one working on it made it worse. Again, big mistake, I didn’t reach out for help.
Anyways I submitted the proposal, and even though I knew how great of an opportunity this was, every day I would just wish that Salesforce reject the proposal. And when they finally did, it crushed me knowing I had just missed a great opportunity.
That’s when I decided I was just going to ignore whatever bad thoughts come into my mind, ask for help as early as possible.

Well, fast forward to today, I still have some of those thoughts and I’m still kind of a soloist, but now I’ve somewhat learned how to deal with them and learned to be a better teammate. What works best for me is that I don’t think too much about the possible outcomes, I just take everything up like a chore that I have to do, like running an errand at home, no big deal, right 😅.
I’ve now found a partial solution that works for me, but I’m always on the lookout for better ways to deal with such negative thoughts.
Communication might be THE BEST solution IMO.

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Janice Alecha Author

Oh wow! Thank you for sharing your story. For you to recognize your flaw(a sign of humility and that you are winning), is already a big step in fighting IS. I can understand being a soloist as the fear of being judged, for me. Luckily, I found one classmate that I made a connection with... we both can relate to each other and support each other. It does help to know you are not alone in this and that your feelings are valid. I guess we just have to see the bright side of this syndrome... that we can know ourselves better and we are great fighters in our battle. Winners never quit and quitters never win! Thank you again!

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hseritt profile image
Harlin Seritt • Edited on

Get rid of the idea of making general comparisons ESPECIALLY when comparing people. I've found that humans are more or less as capable as any other human in this world.

Once you get rid of the idea of comparing people and buying into the idea that some people are just "better than", "smarter than" others, impostor syndrome disappears.

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Janice Alecha Author

I was struggling the first 3 weeks at Bootcamp because of this mistake. Thank you!

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brense profile image
Rense Bakker

Well shit, I just realized I'm an imposter :(

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andrewbaisden profile image
Andrew Baisden

What an amazing article thanks for writing it.

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Janice Alecha Author

We all can relate, we're not alone in this but we're winning and moving forward!!!

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keshavkhurana11 profile image
KeshavKhurana11

👏👏👏

One step to overcoming impostor feelings is to acknowledge the thoughts and put them in perspective :)

Nice article !! 😎

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Janice Alecha Author

I was taken aback at first and almost gave up. I started watching youTube videos and found Software Engineers discussing this and it did help a lot to know that you're not alone. Thank YOU!

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jamiepgood profile image
Jamie Good

Nice write and actionable advice! Thanks

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Janice Alecha Author

Thank you Jamie

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lorigoldman profile image
Lori Goldman

Love this! Thank you!

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Janice Alecha Author

<3