Last year when I participated in #SheCoded, I wrote a bit about my past (negative) experiences. You can read the post from here, if you are interested.
This time I want to take a more positive and encouraging view, and I'm concentrating on my achievements. It's so easy to feel unworthy and incompetent when having to constantly prove yourself and one way I have been able to fight my impostor syndrome is by keeping a list of my achievements.
Remember to celebrate even the small achievements and remember that you are competent and worthy! Let's not let the (un)conscious bias to stop us doing what we want!
... because I was brave enough to apply to Bachelor of Engineering education, even though I had always thought I was stupid, bad at math and hadn't really done much programming before.
... because I got my first job as an AR/VR developer after 1,5 years of studying.
... because I had no idea what I was doing and I didn't have any experience developing AR/VR solutions but still got every task done.
... because I did part of my studies while being a teacher at my own University of Applied Sciences (UAS), teaching Virtual Reality course.
... because I was the first engineer to graduate from Game Applications at my UAS 6 months in advance.
... because I have been able to work with an amazing team researching and prototyping new tech.
... because I participated in a hackathon with a team where I was the only developer. I had only done one mobile application before, but I managed to get the hackathon application to work (and we won the whole thing).
... because I have worked with robots, Augmented Reality glasses, Virtual Reality headsets and voice and face recognition without prior experience and have been able to solve any problem and learn quickly something that's compeletely new to me.
... because I've gotten many messages from women in Instagram saying they have applied to technical fields because I have inspired them.
... because I have been mentoring students and been attending student events (career forums etc) doing my part of making it more normal to have women visible in technical fields.
... because I know I am capable, caring person who will do everything I can to make sure everyone will feel welcome working in tech.
All this sounds great when I write it down, but I still feel like an impostor from time to time. How can we make sure girls, women or other minorities who are starting a career in tech will feel encouraged and can have faith in their own capabilities?
What I have done and still continue to do is to make sure junior developers know they don't need to know everything, their work is to learn and get support from someone more senior.
I give feedback, praise and celebrate achievements, because even a small achievement is worth celebrating!
I publicly voice my own insecurities, so it can help someone else who struggles with same feelings.
I educate myself about unconscious bias and actively work on recognizing it and trying my best to avoid it.
What will you do?