As a developer, a buzzword I hear quite often is Imposter syndrome and it seems like quite a lot of folks out there experience this at various times. As it turns out, this is not unique to the software development world. I have spoken to those who are not software engineers or not associated with the IT world and they too have experienced it.
What is imposter syndrome?
As per Wikipedia, Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon, impostorism, fraud syndrome, or the impostor experience) is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubt their skills, talents, or accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a "fraud".
As I hang out often in the company of fellow developers online on LinkedIn or slack or discord, I realize, everyone is so brilliant and I am forever a newbie. It is often discouraging to see others solving problems effortlessly as I sit wondering what I did wrong slowly slipping into believing I am not good at it. But this had to be fixed or I will get nowhere.
What was I doing wrong?
I was looking at people talking about the new framework that was making a buzz in the market or a new library or a programming language that was supposedly going to take over from what I was learning. I was trying to get a hang of all that and going nowhere. I wanted to be up to date in the market and want to learn what was trending. I was not focusing on the skills I had to build, but wondering at the skill of an experienced developer.
How did I fix it?
I realized, that new frameworks and libraries will keep hitting the market, but what I wanted to learn was the fundamentals, the system, and go as deep as I can into the core skills I am building.
- I started focusing on the foundational skills behind all these frameworks and libraries
- Started focusing on knowing the internal workings of it
- I would also revisit a concept I learned a few months ago and I started to realize, those concepts have become effortless to understand for me now while I am learning bigger concepts. This gives a lot of confidence.
- Consider that those who are effortlessly solving problems have invested a lot of time before they got there. All these led me to get over imposter syndrome and start focusing on building and solidifying my skills than looking at how a pro developer is solving problems. I know I will get there eventually if I dedicate as much time and effort.