Imposter syndrome is your superpower
October 16, 2020
Almost everyone at some point in their career suffers from the dreaded Imposter Syndrome for a variable length of time, some even never break free of it. Our industry thinks of Imposter Syndrome as a dreaded thing around our necks holding us down but it doesn't have to be that way. It can be the fuel that keeps your flame burning bright and motivate you to become a better developer than you were yesterday. You can take control of your Imposter Syndrome and make it your strength. Note: I am writing this from the perspective and experince of a white cis male, it may not help or apply to those of marginalized communities.
"I'm not a real developer" "Everyone else here is so much better than me" "I'm a fake and soon everyone will find out," if any of these quotes sound familiar then you have dealt with imposter syndrome at one time or another. It is the little voice in the back of your head that compares your knowledge with that of your team member's or even worse the entire developer community. We assume that knowledge is a linear path, that we learn X then Y then Z. Knowledge is not a linear railroad track that you follow along where you develop your skills in a sequential order where someone like Stacy the Senior Engineer on your team is further along the knowledge track and must have so much knowledge than I do. She has already been where I am on the knowledge track so she must know everything I know right? WRONG!
Knowledge is not a linear path we follow, but instead a jigsaw puzzle where through our experinces we piece together a part of the puzzle that no one else has. No one else on your team has your exact lived experiences so you bring a unique perspective that more experienced developers on your team might not consider. Just being a beginner or junior brings a unique perspective to the table with the zen concept of "beginner's mind" or Shoshin, because we don't have preconceived notions of about what will or wont work we are much more eager and open to a world of possibilities in solving a problem that a senior on the team might never even think of or consider.
Think of that for a moment. You as a junior can see problems from a perspective that isn't clouded in ways that a senior's might be. That is one of your strongest contributions to the team and you need to utilize it to its fullest. Your questions and considerations that may come from a place of inexperience enable the team to see things in a light they wouldn't otherwise without you there.