If you feel like an impostor, welcome to the club. Practically everyone has had the feeling that they don’t belong. “Impostor Syndrome is very normal. It’s not something just Flatiron School students get,” Vicki says. “People from all walks of life, across all industries, experience Impostor Syndrome.”
Even Maya Angelou, world-renowned poet, experiences Impostor Syndrome. In an interview with The New York Times, she said, “I have written 11 books, but each time I think, ‘Uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.’” Doubt is very natural, especially when something is new to you. That’s doubly true for career transitioners and anyone who wasn’t worked in tech before. You’re making the leap to a new career and a new industry. That’s a lot of pressure. But it’s something everyone experiences, and there are ways to help you feel like you belong in the tech community.
Now that we know everybody can experience Impostor Syndrome, let’s look at the ways it can manifest and how to tackle those doubts.
Impostor syndrome comes in all shapes and sizes. “It’s different for each person based on individual experiences, assumptions, or difficult moments from the past,” Vicki says.
You might be afraid of people laughing at you, or you’re afraid you’ll look fake. It’s important to understand the root of Impostor Syndrome, where it’s coming from, and what you are afraid of.
At Flatiron School, our coaches work with students to help them realize that they belong as software engineers, data scientists, and UX/UI designers. If you don’t feel like a developer, for example, one of the best things you can do is spend more time coding. Putting in more time and energy will be recognized by others.
Put yourself in situations where you get to introduce yourself as a developer. The more you do it, the more natural it will become. At some point, it won’t feel weird anymore because you’ve said it a hundred times.
Another way we help our students is by acknowledging how far they’ve come. It’s easy to forget to celebrate the successes. That’s why we take the time to reflect on where they started and how much they know now.
Vicki also notes that our graduates have had to complete projects and assignments that show they belong. Our coaches also help students find actionable ways to manage their feelings.
Nobody ever feels truly ready. That’s true if you’re attending Flatiron School to become a software engineer, data scientist, or UX/UI designer, and in life. Sometimes it’s about taking that leap of faith. At Flatiron School, you’re never alone. You have your coach there for you and the support of the whole community.
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