Imposter syndrome is defined as anxiety or self-doubt that results from persistently undervaluing one’s competence and active role in achieving success, while falsely attributing one's accomplishments to luck or other external forces – and it's really common.
Almost everyone, regardless of status or accomplishments, has felt like their success may be a fluke at one time or another. Many people describe imposter syndrome as a nagging feat that someone is going to "discover" that they're not actually qualified, and that everything they've worked for will be gone. Here at Lambda School, we know how hard it is to break into the tech industry, whether this is your first career or your fifth. You've spent months honing your code and practicing your interview skills, and now it's time to shine.
As you head into the job search remember this: you're qualified, prepared, and deserve every bit of success that comes your way. If you need more inspiration to kick your imposter syndrome for good, here are 10 Lambda School alumni on what helps them in moments of self-doubt:
Megan has found that relying on the community she has built around her has been a huge help getting her through her fears. She gets strength from her family, women and moms on Twitter, and small groups she's a part of in Lambda.
Christina is a front-end developer and a web dev/React instructor at Lambda School. Christina taught herself to code after having children as a way to build a remote career, and worried that changing careers would be too overwhelming. For her, finding a community learn with has been crucial, in addition to celebrating the “little wins.”
Kent graduated in 2014 with a degree in Information Technology and began a career as a product manager. His first experience with imposter syndrome came during the age of MySpace – he enjoyed building pages using HTML, but felt discouraged that he wasn’t a “technical” developer. He finally realized that his own mindset was keeping him from pursuing his interests, and has begun to explore his own curiosity again.
Amberley is a software developer based in Austin, Texas. Due to early family experiences, she became interested in how technology can make the world more accessible. She felt like she had to fight to call herself a developer for a long time, but she says her “big pivot” was doing a bootcamp, which helped her feel more confident.
Amarachi is a full stack web development student at Lambda School. As a woman of color, she doesn’t see a lot of other students who look like her. She has struggled with feeling like she didn’t belong and couldn’t relate to others in her cohort, so to combat that, she takes every opportunity to get to know people to build more personal connections – and it’s paying off.
Amanda is a full stack web development student at Lambda School. The first week she felt confident, but once the instructors began covering new material, her confidence began to wane. She struggled to accept help from others because of her imposter syndrome, and the more she listened to that negative voice, the worse it got. She uses her insecurity to fuel her motivation, and it’s helped her excel in her program.
Katie is a web development student at Lambda School. After failing a sprint, her feelings of self-doubt snowballed and she worried she didn’t belong at Lambda. After reaching out to her instructor for help, she identified the error in her project and was able to troubleshoot it successfully. Katie welcomes those moments of doubt, because they allow her to dig into her WHY and push through.
Megan is a Lambda School and a Team Lead. While she was working through the program, her imposter syndrome would kick in and her brain would “blank,” causing her to spiral into self-doubt. She says that she’s glad she pushed through those really difficult periods, and that her fighting spirit helped her remember that learning to code is hard for a reason, but she has what it takes to succeed.
Vante is a web developer in Raleigh, North Carolina. He started teaching himself to code 6 years ago and later did a 3-month bootcamp. Because he doesn’t have a “traditional” computer science degree and is the only person of color on his team, he sometimes worried that he was missing something compared to other developers he met. When he’s feeling imposter syndrome, he reminds himself that other people look up to him, and that he has a responsibility to not let his fears hold him back.
When you feel moments of imposter syndrome, reach out to your community for help, and remember your own "why" for being at Lambda School. You have all the tools you need to succeed – now's the time to go for it.
For even more help defeating imposter syndrome, here are a few resources we love:
Hi, I'm an Imposter by Lambda alum Alexis J. Carr