The two things that help me combat Imposter Syndrome
What kind of developer would I be if I didn’t have a post on Imposter Syndrome?
I wouldn’t say that I’ve conquered it completely. It usually flares up during job interviews or code challenges mostly. I think that Imposter Syndrome is a life long war, and getting through it is really about winning the little battles throughout. I’m going to share the two things that help me with winning my battles.
1. Find comfort in the idea that you don’t know something.
One huge aspect of Imposter Syndrome is feeling like you’re not knowledgable enough, or you shouldn’t be allowing people to see that you don’t know certain things. This is probably because everyone on the Internet seems to know everything ever in everness. It can definitely feel uncomfortable when it looks like you’re the only one in the room who doesn’t understand something.
Everyone had to start somewhere. At one point, whoever you see as the most knowledgable on a topic didn’t know any of what they do. They started in the same exact position as you did and probably felt the things you’ve felt as well regarding Imposter Syndrome. Most people are totally aware of this aspect of learning, you probably judge yourself for not knowing stuff more than other people do. Another thing that’s pretty important is being able confident in the idea that you don’t know something. It’s okay to tell people you don’t know instead of going through hoops to try to hide what you don’t know. Being comfortable with not knowing something isn’t useful by itself, though.
Oh yeah, and before I go into the next half of this post, keep in mind:
Anyone that judges you for not knowing something is an asshole.
2. Find comfort in the idea that you can and will figure it out
This goes in hand with being comfortable with not knowing something. How many times in your life have you not known something and then figured it out later? Probably way too many times to keep track of. It’s also very likely you’re not doing something other people haven’t done either. The Internet is a fountain of knowledge. If you don’t know how to accomplish something, you can look it up and get it done. This might be as simple as Googling it and coming across the answer almost immediately, finding posts from people with a similar problem and seeing how they solved it or maybe joining discords or slack channels to talk to people who might know what to do.
Of course, dealing with Imposter Syndrome is a long and personal journey. I believe everyone has their own, unique, twist on it. I’m only sharing what helps me with my own, I hope this was helpful for you.