Impostor Syndrome in a New Programming Career

Photo by sydney Rae on Unsplash

We’re currently winding down Mod4 at the Flatiron school, which means that our job search will start in a little over three weeks. Many of us, myself included, only learned how to code this year by doing pre-work in the spring and starting bootcamp in the summer. The idea that I can go out into the world this fall and get paid for my new skills seems crazy to me — I feel far from an expert in my field.

Although it’s true that I know the basics for a career in software engineering, and I wonder if I’ll ever feel like an expert. The feeling I have is known as impostor syndrome. By definition, impostor syndrome is when an individual doubts accomplishments or talents and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a fraud. It’s estimated to have impacted 70% of the population at one point or another. There’s no single answer as to why it impacts some people and not others — reasons range from personality traits, to upbringing, to other outside circumstances.

It doesn’t look the same for everybody. Expert Dr. Valerie Young identified five patterns in people who experience this:

The patterns can bring on anxiety, depressive symptoms, and lack of self confidence, and can eventually lead to burnout. This is not to say that you should not work hard and avoid going above and beyond. Rather, it’s about recognizing when the patterns are becoming destructive and holding you back and impacting your health.

It’s not difficult to fall into these patterns while in a coding bootcamp. It’s important to manage before you end up living in a pit of despair and prevent yourself from succeeding.

Once you’ve recognized that you may be experiencing impostor syndrome, here are some suggestions to get yourself back on track:



Full stack developer based in Brooklyn, NY

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