Imposter Syndrome is a feeling of being a fraud or not being good enough to get the job done. It's common among software engineers, developers and designers working in tech companies, especially those not coming from a traditional tech background.
People suffering from imposter syndrome have a sense of inadequacy and insecurity concerning their ability to make a contribution at the workplace. In reality, they may be perfectly capable of doing their work, and often contribute successfully to their tasks.
Imposter Syndrome is very common among people who are new to their role and lack the experience of some of their co-workers.
Throughout various industries, imposter syndrome is very common with highly successful people. Studies have found the two out of five ‘successful’ people consider themselves frauds/imposters. And other studies have shown that up to 70% of people experience imposter syndrome as one point in time or another.
If you suffer from imposter syndrome you may have a sense of inadequacy or insecurity about your ability to contribute. In reality, you may be perfectly capable of doing your tasks well.
These thoughts are fairly common if you struggle with imposter syndrome:
- “What am I doing here?”
- “I am not a developer. I am fooling myself and other people.” (feels fake)
- “My colleagues are much smarter than I am; I could never match up to them.” (undermines own achievements)
- “My coworkers have told me I’ve achieved a lot, but I feel like it’s never enough.” (discounts praise)
- “I have no idea how I got through the interview process.” (feels only luck dictates results)
- “I will be ridiculed and fired when people realize I am not as smart as I portrayed myself as being.” (fears failure)
- “My IQ is not high enough to work here.” (doubts inherent ability)
- “I need more training to feel like I deserve to be here.”
Imposter Syndrome may prevent you from reaching out when you need help, thus slowing your progression. You can always reach out on the freeCodeCamp forum or on Twitter if you want to chat or need some encouragement.
Overcoming Imposter Syndrome
The first step in overcoming imposter syndrome is to learn the difference between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset.
People with a growth mindset believe that their skills and talents can be developed through hard work, practice, conversations with others, etc. Alternately, those with a fixed mindset tend to believe their talents are set abilities that they were born with.
When you change your outlook to a growth mindset, you allow yourself to take on challenges that may seem out of reach. If you believe that your skills can be developed over time, it will matter less if you don’t know how to do something (as long as you are willing to put in the work).
Many talented, successful people deal with Imposter Syndrome. They even say that - counterintuitively - not only does success not eliminate Imposter Syndrome. Many times, success makes it worse. So, it isn’t something we conquer once. We conquer it every day, every time we take on a project, task, and so on.
More resources to help you tackle Imposter Syndrome
There are many great resources to help you know more about Imposter Syndrome and some tips to tackle it:
- How to overcome Imposter Syndrome
- Clobber Imposter Syndrome with your mental searchlight
- Imposter Syndrome: what it is and why it happens
- American Psychological Association - Feel Like a Fraud?
- TED Talks - Fighting Imposter Syndrome
- Quartz - Is imposter syndrome a sign of greatness?
- HTTP203 - Imposter Syndrome
- Ada Initiative - Is Impostor Syndrome keeping women out of open technology and culture?