#12 Imposter Syndrome and Software Development

#12 Imposter Syndrome and Software Development


3 min read


This is my first post of content based on an episode of my podcast you can see below! #shamelessPlug

To find more, check out workingunittests.com!

I would love to hear from you if this is helpful - feel free to leave a comment below or email me at !

Imposter Syndrome 101

Imposter syndrome is pretty awful. Essentially the feeling of waiting to be found out as not a "real" developer or "good enough" programmer.

"Imposter syndrome can be defined as a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success." Harvard Business Review

The fear of inadequacy and self-doubt is terrible. I've been there and I am currently in it as I write this post and record this podcast episode!

I have been working through imposter syndrome for a long time and feel like the more I try to fight it away - the more prevalent it becomes.

In software development this can lead to a hesitation to try out new tools, or the delay in submitting a code review or even the inability to apply for cool and exciting opportunities! #beenThere

The Dunning Kruger Effect

The Dunning Kruger effect is a cognitive bias where someone incorrectly assumes their level of knowledge of a topic, the less one knows the more they feel confident about the topic as a whole.

At first, the individual knows nothing about the topic but wants to learn. After some time they learn some of the topic and yet feel very confident about the topic as a whole - undoubtedly this changes as they quickly learn about the vast amount of knowledge they have yet to understand. This plummets down and over time they gain more knowledge and are comfortable with the amount of information they have yet to learn. Eventually they are quite knowledgeable on the subject at hand but are aware of how complex things can be and are content that there might be something new to learn around the corner.

Dunning Kruger Effect Visualized (1).png

How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

In my experience, the best way to overcome imposter syndrome is to be okay with knowing where you are at and understanding that the current feeling you have is simply being at the bottom valley of this journey. Don't treat imposter syndrome as a warning flag to fear but rather a way of knowing that you are growing and learning as a developer!

This only works if you move forward though - you can't sit at the bottom of the valley forever!

You can find the podcast that I talk more about this here! Can't wait to see you there!