DEV Community

Cover image for The Intimidation Syndrome
Osinachi Chukwujama
Osinachi Chukwujama

Posted on

The Intimidation Syndrome

Thousands of articles have been written on Impostor Syndrome. How to overcome it. How to avoid it. But it will keep lingering because new people get into tech every day.

Now, there's another "syndrome" which is comparable to Impostor Syndrome. It's Intimidation. It may be seen as part of Impostor Syndrome. It occurs when a 'senior' devs does stuff like

  1. answer a difficult question on a forum/channel filled with juniors
  2. write a blog post about a complex concept, etc.

N.B: Senior here is relative. Someone with 9 months experience may be viewed as a senior by someone just starting out.

Some newbies and juniors get intimidated by seniors who do those things. Some grow to hate that senior if the senior isn't humble enough. A short term effect is complaining. It may also force the junior to say "what am I doing with my life?". I haven't seen the long term effects. Juniors can definitely see the bright side of it.

A personal experience

90% of the time, I prevent myself from building cool, functional projects due to

  1. laziness
  2. learning technologies I don't need to learn

When I see the functional and amazing project a senior built, I:

  1. get motivated,
  2. quit slacking and
  3. get building

I channel the intimidation to my personal growth. Juniors can use intimidation to prevent slacking off and foolish learning.

Wrong approach to intimidation

A wrong approach is to take intimidation to heart and always feel inadequate. Here are a few displays of the wrong approach

  • This dude keeps doing cool stuff
  • I can't even copy the stuff this dude builds, everyone would know I stole it
  • This guy has come again with his blog post on ...
  • Not this guy again, always intimidating everyone
  • Why am I always seeing this guy on every dev site?

Taking this approach is self-defeating. It's best to understand

  1. that experience matters
  2. only by pushing yourself would you reach attain the title, 'senior developer'

Also, note that all seniors were juniors sometime in the past. A few still feel intimidated. It goes all the way up. But it doesn't have a stronghold on them. If you're satisfied with your level, intimidation won't be a problem. You shouldn't stop at the basics if you want to be a senior someday. Aim to be better. Draw anger and inspiration from your intimidators and level up. The world hates mediocrity. Don't be the mediocre dev.

So, my dear reader, never take the wrong approach to intimidation. Instead, ask your seniors, heroes or intimidators how they do what they do. No one hires the mediocre dev. You have to stop slacking and being intimidated.

Push yourself to be better every day. We all can't have equal knowledge, but we can help each other, so long we aren't intimidated by each other.

Top comments (0)