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Phylis Jepchumba
Phylis Jepchumba

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Overcoming Imposter Syndrome in the Tech Industry: Strategies and Communities to Build Confidence

As a woman in tech with a background in software engineering and currently pursuing a Master of Science in Data Science and Data Analytics, I know firsthand how it feels to experience imposter syndrome. Despite my technical skills and educational background, I've often felt like I'm not good enough, like I don't belong in this industry. But over the years, I've learned to combat these feelings and build my confidence, and I want to share what has worked for me.

In this blog post, I'll share with you some of the signs and symptoms of imposter syndrome in the tech field and provide you with 5 strategies that have helped me overcome these feelings. But before we dive into that, let me tell you a bit more about myself and my background.

I'm Phylis Jepchumba, a passionate woman in tech who has been in the field for 5 years and is now pursuing a Master of Science in Data Science and Data Analytics. Throughout my career, I've faced many challenges, from navigating male-dominated workplaces to feeling like I'm not qualified enough for certain roles. However, I have a strong technical background and am skilled in using programming languages like Python and R for data science and machine learning projects.

If you're interested in learning more about my journey in tech, you can connect with me on Linkedin and Twitter.

So let's get started on this journey of self-discovery and empowerment. Together, we can overcome imposter syndrome and achieve our dreams in the tech industry.

What is Imposter syndrome?

Have you ever had the nagging feeling that you're not good enough, or that you don't really belong in your job or career? Perhaps you worry that you're an outlier, and that your successes are just a stroke of luck or a result of someone else's work. If you can relate to these feelings, you're not alone. Imposter syndrome is a common experience, affecting people across all fields and backgrounds, including women in male-dominated industries like tech.

Imposter syndrome can be a significant barrier to success, as it can cause individuals to doubt their skills and abilities, downplay their accomplishments, and fear failure. Women in tech may be particularly susceptible to imposter syndrome, as they may face additional barriers and biases in the industry.

imposter syndrome

However, it's important to know that these feelings are not a reflection of your worth or competence. Let's explore some signs of imposter syndrome.

Pauline Clance and Dr. Suzanne Imes first coined the term “impostor syndrome” when they published “The Impostor Phenomenon in High Achieving Women: Dynamics and Therapeutic Intervention” in 1978.

What are signs of imposter syndrome?

As someone with a background in software engineering, I've experienced imposter syndrome firsthand. The feeling of not being good enough or not belonging can be all-consuming, and it can hold you back from reaching your full potential.

Fear of failure
In the tech industry, which is often dominated by men, it's not uncommon to experience a sense of inadequacy or doubt regarding your qualifications and achievements. This can give rise to self-doubt and a fear of failure, which in turn may prevent you from taking necessary risks or exploring new opportunities that could lead to personal or professional growth

Downplaying achievements:

It's easy to brush off compliments or feel like your accomplishments aren't significant enough, leading to a lack of confidence in your abilities. Comparing yourself to others is also common in tech, where it's easy to feel like you're not as smart or talented as your colleagues, leading to feelings of inadequacy.


Another sign of imposter syndrome in the tech field is perfectionism. Many individuals who experience this phenomenon may set unrealistic expectations for themselves, obsess over small mistakes or flaws, or feel like they're never doing enough or working hard enough. This can be especially challenging in a fast-paced industry like tech, where the pressure to innovate and perform at a high level can be intense.

Comparison to others

Comparison to others is another sign of imposter syndrome that can be prevalent in the tech field. With the rapid pace of technological innovation, it can be easy to feel like you don't measure up to your peers, especially if you're constantly comparing yourself to others in your field. Fixating on their accomplishments and feeling inferior as a result can be a major roadblock to success.


Finally, overworking can be another sign of imposter syndrome in the tech industry. Individuals who struggle with this phenomenon may feel like they need to work long hours or take on too much work to prove their worth, or may feel like they need to be constantly productive to validate their position. However, this can lead to burnout and other negative outcomes, making it important to recognize and address imposter syndrome when it arises.

Overcoming imposter syndrome is not an easy task, and it requires consistent effort and self-reflection. Fortunately, there are strategies you can use to combat these feelings and build your confidence in the tech industry. Here are five strategies that have worked for me as a woman in tech.

Celebrate your successes

Instead of focusing on what you don't know or what you haven't accomplished yet, focus on what you have achieved. Celebrate your successes, no matter how small they may seem. For example, if you successfully completed a difficult project, take some time to acknowledge your hard work and the positive outcomes you achieved.


Network and connect with others

Building relationships with other women in tech can help you gain perspective and support. Attend events and join organizations to connect with like-minded individuals. You can also seek out online communities such as Women Who Code, Girl Develop It, and Black Girls Code to find a supportive network of women in tech.

Seek out mentors

Finding a mentor who has experience in your field can be invaluable. They can provide guidance, support, and advice when you need it most. Look for mentors who you admire and who have achieved the success that you aspire to. This can be someone at your current job, a former colleague, or even someone you meet at a networking event.

Keep learning and growing

Technology is constantly evolving, and it's important to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and techniques. Make time for professional development and continuous learning. Attend conferences, take online courses, and read industry publications to keep your skills sharp and your knowledge current.

Practice self-care

Taking care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally is important for combating imposter syndrome. Make time for activities you enjoy and prioritize your well-being. This can include things like exercise, meditation, spending time with friends and family, and taking breaks when you need them. Remember that self-care is not selfish, it's necessary for your overall health and success.

Online Communities
If you're looking for communities to join and connect with other people in the field, here are a few options to consider.

Women Who Code

Women Who Code is a global nonprofit organization that provides resources, support, and community for women in technology. They offer events, career development resources, and networking opportunities to help women in tech advance their careers and achieve their goals.

Women in Technology International (WITI)

Women in Technology International is a global organization that provides resources, networking opportunities, and educational programs for women in technology. They offer webinars, conferences, mentorship programs, and career development resources to help women in tech achieve their goals and advance their careers.

Women Techmakers

This program by Google offers resources, community, and events to women in technology around the world. They also have a global network of chapters and ambassadors who organize local events and meetups.

This nonprofit organization aims to advance women in technology and promote gender equity in the field. They offer various programs, conferences, and initiatives to support women in tech and encourage more diversity and inclusion in the industry.

Online Courses to Boost Confidence and Gain Skills.
Taking online courses can be a great way to build your skills, gain knowledge, and increase your confidence in your abilities.

Here are some examples of online courses that can help you combat imposter syndrome and succeed in your tech career:

The Impostor Syndrome: From Doubt to ResilienceUdemy Course

This course helps you understand what imposter syndrome is, how it affects you, and provides strategies to overcome it. It covers the history and psychology behind imposter syndrome and provides practical tips to develop resilience and confidence.

Coursera offers a wide range of online courses in tech and data science, including courses on Python, R, machine learning, data visualization, and more. Some courses are free, while others require a fee for a certificate upon completion.

edX is another platform that offers online courses in tech and data science. They offer courses from top universities like MIT, Harvard, and Berkeley, covering topics such as data science, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and more.

Udacityoffers courses and nanodegrees in tech and data science, with a focus on practical skills and hands-on experience. Some popular courses include Introduction to Machine Learning, Data Analyst Nanodegree, and Full Stack Web Developer Nanodegree.

DataCamp is an online learning platform specifically for data science. They offer courses on Python, R, SQL, and other data science tools and techniques. Users can practice their skills through interactive coding challenges and projects.

I hope you found this article useful and informative, and I wish you all the best in your journey towards greater confidence and success.

Top comments (3)

mistval profile image

I wouldn't say I have imposter syndrome, but perfectionism does get to me a bit sometimes, and I feel like I've done bad work because it has some flaws, sometimes major ones.

When I feel this way I like to look back at all the times in the past when I released a feature I knew was flawed in some way, and no one cared about the flaw at all!

Just this morning I was using a certain very popular app and it got stuck in a modal loop. Whenever I tried to exit the modal, it just popped up again. Eventually I had to kill the app.

People encounter issues in software every day, and usually just forget about them. Even apps that are used by hundreds of millions of people have obvious flaws and bugs that need to get fixed. Reflecting on that helps me feel better about my own work.

ruannawrites profile image

Nice article. I recently attended an event for Latinas in Tech and one of the speakers was talking about how she doesn't like the term imposter "syndrome" because it implies that it's an abnormal condition when really everyone experiences some form of it.
I like the reminders to celebrate your successes and to keep learning and growing – it's easy to get bogged down with work, but important to always stay in that learning/growth mindset!

phylis profile image
Phylis Jepchumba

Thanks for your feedback!