Imposter syndrome is a phenomenon that can make any person anywhere feel like a fraud. It incurs a feeling of self-doubt inside a person leading them to fear of being found out as fake or a fraud. With people everywhere getting affected by the imposter syndrome, programmers and software developers are no exception to this rule. As it can have impact on mental health as well.
When it comes to developer imposter syndrome, both junior and seasoned developers can get affected by it. But what is developer imposter syndrome?
Developer imposter syndrome is software developers and programmers who believe that they are fit enough for their job. They suffer from the self-doubt of not being good enough despite their achievements and recognition earned. They undervalue their accomplishments and intelligence and are more fixated on their shortcomings and failures even though they are irrelevant.
Software developers can suffer from imposter syndrome, particularly due to the nature of the tech industry of which they are a part. With the constant developments and innovation in technology, no software developer can know about everything. However, instead of understanding the task's impossibility, they become stressed and confused over technology or coding new to them. As a result, rather than acknowledging that it can happen with anyone, they develop a feeling of self-doubt and fear. It leads them to believe that their boss and colleagues will eventually find out they are not good enough.
What further adds to the misery of the developer imposter syndrome is that sooner or later, understandably, some of the technologies will continue to become obsolete. For example, mobile software gets an upgrade almost every year. But instead of understanding that software development is a vast and constant learning place where new ideas replace the previous ones, developers take it otherwise and suffer from imposter syndrome. Another reason that leads to impostor syndrome in software developers is the unrealistic perception caused by the media around the tech industry. Software developers become prone to such anticipation and expectation and eventually start suffering from impostor syndrome when they fail to meet those demands and expectations.
There is no permanent cure for impostor syndrome. However, here are some tips that can help you ease your impostor syndrome.
The first thing you know about impostor syndrome is that people constantly compare their thoughts to know what others are thinking. You must understand that no one is perfect, and everyone has their flaws. Just because you may not see others struggling doesn't mean they don't have their problems. Everyone does have a problem, and so do you. Most importantly, it is okay to have problems. You just have to ensure the problem doesn't become bigger than you. Also, it is okay to ask others for help when needed. So, don't get scared of uncomfortable situations; instead, embrace them, and you will find your solution.
The second thing about impostor syndrome you must understand is that no person can know everything about anything. For example, even an excellent manager will have more to learn about managing the team or company. Learning is a constant process, some of which comes from experience. So, just because you don't know something about your software development doesn't mean you are no longer fit for your role. It only means you have more to learn and grow. Also, the only way to do so is to have an open and adaptive mindset.
Accomplishments are a great reminder of one ability and worthiness. It is natural that as you grow as a software developer, you will learn and achieve new heights. Ensure that you keep them somewhere nearby or write about them in a journal or notebook. As a result, whenever you may have self-doubt or lose confidence, you can just have a look at them to get your confidence back instantly.
Managers are the ones who have the most awareness and control over your position and progress. So, instead of constantly wondering what the manager thinks, you must try to find it out yourself. Take regular feedback from your manager and keep working on parts that need improvement. Sometimes, ask for one-on-one meetings to seek further advice and mentorship required to improve as a software developer. By doing so, you will automatically stop wondering about what the manager thinks about you. Furthermore, a good manager will always care about the employees' mental health.
The last and another excellent way to overcome your impostor syndrome is career planning. If you have a well-laid-out career plan, you can constantly work towards it. When you work towards your career, you will stay more motivated to fill gaps that can bridge your ultimate career goals. One of the great ways to work towards your career plans is to set small and long-term goals. Likewise, there are several ways where you can learn about how to deal with imposter syndrome?
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A lone wolf by definition, a writer by heart, and a lost star with ambitions to light up the dark both inside and around me, sometimes by immersing myself into books or video games or traveling with a backpack to an uncertain destination believing that life is all about the choices we make and we don't.