I wish I knew imposter syndrome before joining Coding Bootcamp

Here we are, I am at fifth and final Module at Flatiron School’s software engineering precisely one week from graduation. In fact, last module or Mod5 is the period when students spend three weeks on a solo project (final project), no more code challenges, lectures or labs... Right now, I am at second week of fifth Module and I have been facing the so-called “Imposture Syndrome”.

What’s the imposture syndrome, according to Lindsay Kolowich Cox: ‘ People who suffer from this syndrome often feel like frauds — despite being smart, skilled, capable professionals who actually deserve whatever commendations and praise they’re given. Rather than celebrating their accomplishments, they worry that they’ve somehow tricked people into thinking they’re good enough. As a result, they live in fear of being “found out” or “exposed’’.’

I decided to write about this topic because I went through this syndrome, I know how difficult it is to cope with it. Mine starts at the beginning of Mod5 by questioning myself constantly: do I belong here? do I have enough skills to start and finish up my final project in solo? Should I retake everything from module 1 to 5 again in order to be more confident and more geared up? etc. Even though I knew I went through code challenge during each module (four in total), code challenges are like an exam to test how comfortable students are with materials they have exposed to during one module before they go to the next one. Therefore, a student could retake the same module if instructors or technical coaches judge that student did not embrace enough knowledge to step in to the next module.

Tips for Coping With Impostor Syndrome

Knowing the signs is the first step: According to Lindsay Kolowich Cox, you might suffer from impostor syndrome if:

  • You feel like you “got lucky” when you actually prepared well and worked hard.
  • You find it hard to accept praise.
  • You apologize for yourself when you didn’t actually do something wrong.
  • You hold yourself to incredibly — sometimes impossibly — high standards.
  • You find the fear of failure paralyzing.
  • You avoid expressing confidence because you think people will see it as overcompensating or obnoxious.
  • You’re convinced you’re not enough.

Be kind to yourself: take the pressure off your shoulders, programming is journey and you cannot in three months turn into that developer you have been dream of. Stop comparing to others, rather compare yourself to yourself how you were before joining the coding bootcamp and how you are the while you are facing the imposture syndrome. Stop negative self-talk such as :I am not smart enough, I am dumb, instead of practice positive self-talk.

Talk to your project manager, instructor or coach: You don’t want to suffer alone rather you do want to share your thoughts and experiences to your mentor, coach or instructor… because some of them have been in your shoes, they can help you to be better equipped to deal with your impostor syndrome.

Full Stack Software Engineer