anthony ramella

Feeling Like a Fraud Without Becoming One

June 19, 2016 Reading time - 2 minutes

It seems that more and more every day I am faced with this impending doom that I will never know enough to be a good programmer. Perhaps its the fact that every time I go to learn something new, I find that there are seemingly thousands of other things to understand in order to learn that one new thing. There is a constant feeling of “theres not enough time in my existence to learn all the things” which makes it difficult to know what is important enough to spend my precious time learning.

actual photo of me

I am aware that dealing with imposter syndrome is a normal feeling, but lately I have convinced myself that I have contracted a rare form of it and soon the ugly truth will be revealed that I, in fact, have no idea what I’m doing. When thinking about how this feeling has developed, I have come to a simple conclusion. I have trained myself to gain more programming skills than the average person, but after being exposed to and taught by extremely talented programmers, I realize that I actually suck at it.

Sucking at something is the first step to being sorta good at something.

It’s a really cliche but true saying that success doesn’t come without failure. I think Jake the Dog (above) said it better and his version especially applies to programming. This is why we run tests and refactor code. You have to fail at something first to learn the right way to do it. In case you are getting bummed out at this point, let me assure you that there is a solution to this way of thinking.

Just ‘cause You Feel It Doesn’t Mean It’s There

It is important to note that imposter syndrome is just your feeling and not based on anyone else’s perception of you. It’s important to break the habitual thoughts of being an imposter so you don’t actually become an imposter. Nobody expects you to be brilliant so don’t bother trying to fool anyone because people who have been in this business for some time can detect bullshit quite well. Communication is the key to working together with your team so don’t be afraid to say “I’m not sure” or the dreaded “I don’t know”. The fact is, nobody knows everything even though it might appear to you as if they do.

The Cure for Imposter Syndrome is Within You

Be mindful of your knowledge and abilities, don’t downplay what you do know and don’t be afraid of what you don’t know. Recognize when you don’t know something and realize that anything can be learned. You are a valuable asset because of your ability to learn and problem solve, so if there is something you don’t know, you will figure out a way to get it done!