5 Ways to Fight the Impostor Syndrome

impostor syndromeThe impostor syndrome is on everyone’s lips recently, especially in the programming world. Ever had a terrible feeling that you aren’t good enough? That what you are doing is not sufficient? That everyone else know more than you do? You’re not alone. 

The impostor syndrome is a persistent feeling that it’s a matter of time till you will be exposed as a fraud. It usually affects high-achieving individuals who find it hard to be proud or happy about their accomplishments. They feel like they don’t deserve a success they achieved. What’s interesting, they attribute good timing, luck or ability to fool others, as reasons why they succeeded.

It happens that despite our knowledge, me and my teammates have such negative thoughts about our skills from time to time. The scale of the problem might be discouraging. Impostor syndrome has affected approximately almost 70% of population and we’re not talking about developers only! What’s more difficult though is actually fighting the impostor syndrome. That’s why we’ve gathered few tips which are working for us!

1. Cooperate

Contributing to a developers’ community is something that works wonders while coping with impostor syndrome. Our teammates mentioned that doing code reviews for other developers is their rubber duck for low self-esteem. What’s really important here is a positive attitude towards code review. Don’t be scared of doing it! It helps you and the community, what could be wrong with that?

Pair programming is another really helpful invention. Paired developers are less likely to make mistakes in their code, which results in a higher quality code. Not to mention that everyone can share their knowledge in a painless way. Pair programming can also increase morale, which is a relevant part of fighting impostor syndrome.

2. Work hard, train hard

Work hard! And we’re not talking about your gym achievements. Remember to constantly learn new things and broaden your horizons. You can attend supplementary trainings or tech talks. Reading insightful newsletters or watching tutorials on YouTube might help. Whatever works – possibilities are endless! Just don’t stay still. Evolve. If you have problems with being productive check out one of our previous posts about it 6 Tips How to Be More Productive Every Day.  You will see that constant self-development can help you believe in yourself. Of course, if you’re a perfectionist, you will never be 100% pleased with yourself. But you have to try, right?

3. Take your time

Junior developers in particular have problems with being content about their work. There are many questions that are troubling their thoughts. When do I stop being a junior? How much do I know? How much can I offer? We have to calm you down. It’s completely natural to have such doubts.

Impostor syndrome tends to hit junior developers, but it affects seniors as well. Is it possible that in the world full of professionals, everyone is a fraud? We don’t think so. It means that impostor syndrome can happen to anyone, but… it gets better with time. While it sounds like a Paulo Coelho quote, it’s true! Your experience as a developer and time spent on self-development matter a lot. Is it comforting that it won’t always be like that? We hope so!

4. Find a good place of work

Your workplace has a huge impact on your well-being. What projects are you working on? Is your team supportive and friendly? Does the atmosphere there suits you? Do you have work-life balance and possibilities to develop your skills? Answer those questions and try to look for a workplace which will help you have a fulfilling and happy life.

At Sunscrapers, we put a big emphasis on our team’s well-being. We know how much it means to work in a cheerful and enriching environment. That’s why even if one of our teammates is struggling with impostor syndrome, we are here to comfort them. Our support blended with a chunk of laughter helps with any low self-esteem issues!

5. Share your knowledge

We are sure that you’re thinking right now: “Yeah, right. How can I teach others if I lack knowledge?”. You couldn’t be more wrong. Obviously, if you take part in pair programming or code reviews, you already noticed that you don’t know everything. But you know SOMETHING. Try to recall situations where you knew a solution for your partner’s problem. It could be a small thing like a tiny bug that was hiding between the code lines. But you helped him. Teaching others might be a solution for overcoming the impostor syndrome. Go to Quora or Stackoverflow and look at other people’s questions. Try to answer them. You will be surprised how many issues you can solve! Maybe you’re not that inexperienced as you think?

impostor syndrome
Impostor syndrome vs. reality

We know that it’s not easy to overcome the impostor syndrome. There is no golden rule that will work for everyone, neither fast nor easy way to do this. Hopefully with our tips and some positive attitude you will be able to fight your low-esteem demons. Believe in yourself, take your time and remember – you are awesome!

Paulina Czajkowska Paulina Czajkowska


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