Imposter Syndrome Among Junior Developers.
Welcome to my blog. This is my first article on Hashnode and I wanted to share and let the many experiencing the same condition as I was know they aren't alone and there's always a way around it and you shouldn't give up on that dream.
What is the Imposter Syndrome?
This is a psychological overwhelming feeling that you aren't good or smart enough as you may seem and tend to attribute your past success to just mere luck. This feeling is very normal as research indicates at least 70% will suffer from this syndrome. So you shouldn't be worried or feel alone. It really sucks in a way that it will have you feeling like a fraud most of the time, constantly faking it to get around which isn't comfortable to be honest. This is because in the back of your mind your worried that you could be exposed by someone which isn't that lovely.
In the programming world, in particular the junior developers this condition has taken a toll on their progress up to the extent of forcing some out of industry before they can even get their hands dirty. Time and time again they will have self-doubt lots of anxiety and contemplating whether development may not be for them making the entire starting process way more difficult than they imagined.
As a junior developer who suffered from this syndrome I want to use my experiences to illustrate how this condition crept into my thinking and impacted on me and my journey;
Just last year late October I started writing code with the help of my brother. It was my first time running the (#hello world) in the browser using HTML. I was really excited about the whole thing and began to dream just like many of you. My dream actually was to grace the pentagon in one way or the other. So I started writing more code but on a self-taught level as my brother wasn't so available but always provided me with all the possible resources I could use to kick start my journey. I was a very confident person and simply saw this as just a golden opportunity to grow. I don't mean to brag but I never really had issues understanding concepts in my high school and implementing them in that regard so in my mind I thought this will be a walkover.
Unfortunately, It was around this point that some of my actions gave way to the syndrome with some being:
Setting unrealistic goals
When you start something, in your mind your always looking for to achieve certain goals. In my case I set the bar way too high in a way that I focused more on completing tasks in the shortest time possible than understanding what I was working with. Moving ahead with this mindset I literally rushed through the technologies I was learning at that time with an aim of advancing as fast as I can. This all came crushing down when I realized I couldn't even build anything despite all the knowledge I thought I had accumulated. It put a dent in my confidence but I tried to shrug it off at that time but little did I know the Syndrome had started to lurk.
I found myself stagnating for a period of over two months. This was because I had no clear strategy for moving forward. I would simply Google certain technologies and attempt to learn. I remember at a certain point I started learning React because it used to pop up in almost all my search results. This is the time I felt maybe I wasn't as good as I thought because I couldn't simply put anything together minus a tutorial. As many refer to it, yes I was being held captive in tutorial hell.
With the many good developers around, I constantly compared myself to them and this made me further realize maybe am a fraud after all. Because looking at their well written portfolios and comparing with my work where am even failing to position simple html elements. I seemed a really long way off and my enthusiasm greatly reduced. This saw me taking long breaks close to 3 weeks and you know how damaging this is to a developer because the more you write the more you learn and I wasn't learning at all.
Allowing in fear and intimidation
This was the last straw. Moving low on confidence just even the sight of complex names of technologies like AngularJS scared me as I knew I wasn't up for the task. Here the fear of failure crept in because the burden of what I didn't know was a lot and it crushed the little I knew. During this period I constantly focused on the mistakes forgetting the small wins. This never allowed me to grow at all.
Ways to Overcome the Imposter Syndrome
Overcoming the Syndrome all comes down to a change in habits and realizing your ability and taking charge of the situation. If you think you have Impostor Syndrome, some of the following tips can help you to overcome it:
1.Make the syndrome work for you.
With this remember ambitious, smart, high-achieving people most often deal with imposter syndrome. So all you have to do is simply own your success. Let that be the motivation you need to continue pushing forward.
“True imposters don’t have this feeling,” Dr. Albers.
2.Avoid Isolation, Reach out to those better than you.
The development world is blessed with tons of good people who are willing to help out. You may even be surprised by the number of people experiencing your very same challenges. Try joining tech communities you find comfortable. Personally I would recommend the twitter community lots of great people there itching to help one another grow. Why joining a community is important is because there will be a lot of people willing to listen, guide, share their experiences and a lot more surrounding tech.
Your journey is different from others. Take charge of your journey and enjoy it all the way through. Emphasis should be on personal growth more than anything because measuring your achievements against those of others will just rob you of the happiness you would have got from your own.
Create a clear path for your journey that will simultaneously work with the learning techniques that suit you best. This will make sure your growing and learning at the same time. In your plan I would advice you:
- Make records that acknowledge the small wins you have achieved throughout just to keep track of your achievements so as they align with the set goals as a way of self evaluation.
- Try as much as you can to obtain feedback concerning your projects. This way you can know your mistakes and work upon them so as to improve.
On a personal level, the imposter syndrome set me back for quite some months. By the time am writing this am in my second month of active learning and development at free code camp but still even in small moments I can feel the syndrome trying to whisper in my ear but the effect is very minimal for I now know its totally okay to feel mediocre. But as long as your completing tasks and recording the small wins your definitely growing.
In Conclusion, lots of people who are trying to get into the Tech industry often fail at the starting point due to the imposter syndrome. So this is why I wrote this article to spread awareness and belief that you can deal with this syndrome in the best possible ways as well us using it as a driving force to achieve.