It has been a long time since I wrote my last post. Most of the time I was working on a few projects for customers and side projects of mine. While doing that there were some questions which regularly appeared inside my head: Why are you doing this? or Are you good enough to charge money for what you do?
Imposter syndrome started its fight against my productivity and self esteem and as time passed I became more and more discouraged about my skills as a programmer. Though I was building more and more complex projects for my customers and myself, still there was this feeling inside of beeing miserable. The dark thoughts came more often the more time passed. Although my growth as a programmer still progressed, my growth as a service provider has been frozen.
Perhaps it is my nature of beeing a selftaught web developer. Maybe knowing I have no university degree in computer science kills my self-confidence when working client projects? But to be honest I refuse believing that my confidence depends on a degree. Rather I suppose that the routine of doing a job makes yourself satisfy the profession. Doesn't this makes more sense? The professional identity emerges from the act of thinking within this context.
It manifests in us what we think particularly often
The neuronal plasticity of the brain makes it evolve in the form it is used. That means that it gets better and better in all the thinking processes it is used to do quite often. While those it doesn't had to run for a longer time get slower. The neuronal links are getting geared up when needed and disarmed in the opposite case.
Related to web development I grew my skillset, performing the tasks to build and design decent web applications. At the same time I disregarded the problems of beeing a service provider in the web development industry. This are the neuronal links that grow on social interaction. When you fulfill this specific professional role. The thinking within this role internalizes a selfreflection in the strength of the links in the brain.
For me it makes me feel sadness to get to this enlightenment, because I hardly am able to get into this role. As mentioned above I am a selftaught web developer and my main profession is occupational therapist. Beeing a therapist most of the day, perform this role, makes me really happy and this I won't change soon. But still I love designs and building websites. Maybe the routine of doing it in my free time won't suffice for growing a (second) professional identity.
What to do against imposter syndrome and negative thoughts?
Does that mean I have to accept imposter syndrome? My answer to this question is No. By thinking positively you fight against it. Every time you face it the competition is to reveal and convert those anxieties and shattering convictions. By questioning those beliefs you can find the truth behind them. You are not what you think — you can ask yourself if your thoughts truly represent reality and you will find out they are fake.
It is really hard not the feel like an imposter in the tech industry. When the knowledge you can gain is limited, but the industry is growing faster every day. To face this I elaborated a personal quality management strategy for my own freelance business. I try to learn something new every week. If a framework, feature or service sounds promising I try to get it tested in one of my side projects. Meanwhile I try to elaborate if it will save my time when working for clients. In this case it will save my clients money. If it does, there is no excuse for me not learning it.
Other people thoughts on the imposter syndrome
Over the last years I listened to a lot of talks about this topic. Here is a collection of videos about the imposter syndrome by some famous Youtube channels.
Brad actually uploaded multiple videos about this and related topics. He talks a lot about staying motivated in web development.
Stefan also recorded multiple videos on the imposter syndrome. Beeing a very experienced senior in this field he has a sound opinion on mental problems within a development carrier.
Surma and Jake Archibald work at Google and are hosting the show HTTP203 on Google Chrome Developers Channel on Youtube. In this episode they discuss their experience on the imposter syndrome.
What do you think?
I shared my experience on the imposter syndrome. I am eager to read about yours. Please leave a comment below and share your thoughts with me.