I’m a senior developer and have the impostor syndrome

3 minute read

I have been programming since childhood, I work at a large company surrounded by extraordinary people that recognizes me as a Senior Developer, I have deployed applications for thousands of customers, I know algorithms, SOLID principles, Design Patterns, despite that sometimes I feel that I am not good enough; there is a little voice in my head telling me that someone at my current role should know: Docker, Kubernetes, DevOps, and a very large list of things that I don’t know. This feeling of “faking it” it’s better known as the Imposter Syndrome, and it’s time to talk about it.

Among Us

What is impostor syndrome?

Impostor syndrome describes high-achieving individuals who, despite their objective successes, fail to internalize their accomplishments and have persistent self-doubt and fear of being exposed as a fraud or impostor. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7174434/

I refused to internalize this but it’s true, we may deny it but I think that most developers go through this at some point in their career. In my case, it’s not about the fear of being exposed as a fraud, but a constant voice telling me that I’m not good enough, that many of my colleagues are working in Amazon or any other big company and that’s the proof that I am just an average developer and never will be able to achieve such goals.

A senior developer with impostor syndrome?

Now that I think about it I can list setbacks that my imposter syndrome has directly caused.

  • Declined Microsoft, Amazon, and Google interviews.
  • Keep growing in my professional career.
  • Panicking when I’m in a job interview.
  • Trying to learn everything (In order to shut up the little voice).
  • Be very hard on me.

So I guess admitting it is the first step, so here are the things that I will try to fight this:

Talk to my career manager

We have like a coach in the company I work for, this person helps his mentees to reach their full potential, so I guess this is a good starting point. If your company does not have a career manager you can contact a personal coach or a therapist.

Make a list of my accomplishments

I will make a list of all my accomplishments in my whole career, every time I feel like I don’t deserve anything I’ll review it and hopefully feel proud about it.

Stop comparing me to others

It’s hard for me to not do this although I am aware that each person has their own rate of growth and learning. It’s like when I am in a job interview and the interviewer asks me: on a scale of 1 to 10 how good are you at C#? I think that the question itself is wrong given that for instance for me a 10 is Anders Hejlsberg and compared to him I’m just a 2 (Here is again the little voice).

Don’t dispair on what I don’t know and make a study plan instead

Focus on my areas of interest and learn only what is necessary. And make this my mantra, let’s repeat together:

I DON’T NEED TO KNOW EVERYTHING.

I DON’T NEED TO KNOW EVERYTHING.

I DON’T NEED TO KNOW EVERYTHING.

I DON’T NEED TO KNOW EVERYTHING.

I DON’T NEED TO KNOW EVERYTHING.

I am not an impostor

I wrote my first line of code at the age of 12 and since I haven’t stopped. Many others could have written their first line at the age of 10 or 5 it doesn’t matter. I need to focus on what I know, what I’m good at, and focus on that, even if it’s just a drop in an ocean of knowledge.