Dealing with Imposter Syndrome as a Programmer

That feeling of uncertainty..

Feeling down because you think project is too difficult.. beyond your understanding.

As if you won’t be able to finish it on time..

Often lost and confused..

Feeling as though you don’t know enough despite having enough experience.

Almost as if someone else could do a better job than you!

If you’ve thought about or felt any of these then you’ve been a victim of Imposter Syndrome.

Exactly how I eliminated it!

I’ve been writing code for almost 8 years now.. back when I started I learned HTML/forms basics.

I was progressing slowly but still moving in the right direction, despite having another full time non-tech job I managed to make decent progress.. I practiced whenever I could and in a couple of months I was able to create a decent pages.

I went from learning HTML to writing decent amount of CSS. I knew I was making the progress..

But somewhere in my mind I felt like I didn’t know enough, or if someone asked me to create a simple site I’d probably fail. No confidence at all.

If someone paid me to do it.. I’d still fail, that’s what I thought.

Fast forward to now I still felt this.

No matter if I managed to write a really complex SQL query to retrieving and cleaning up most confusing data.. the next complex issue still made me nervous!

This is what worked!

Last year I started to document the projects I’d worked on. THIS DID MIRACLE!

I started to write project’s overview.. the idea/bigger picture..

The next time I was working on a project I read what I’d done in past and I’d feel better.. After all I’d done some amazing work in past too, this wasn’t the first time so….

But then it didn’t work..

Whenever I was facing a new problem or something complicated I would go back to my previous projects (document) to see what I’d accomplished in past and all the complexity I’d faced and won. It kind of worked..


I was assigned a large greenfield project about which I had no knowledge! I wasn’t briefed properly. I had to work with what I had. Simple as that. Classic.

Suddenly I went into panic mode again! Apparently everything I’d documented wasn’t of much use.

Then I realized there was something missing.

That was..

Writing down about the emotions as-well..

For example:

  • I’m feeling totally confused, even though I’ve been explained the requirements there’s still so many missing information..
  • I don’t know if I’ll finish this one time.. It’s already late I’ve already spend 12 hours on this.. not much progress..
  • Oh today I manged to make some progress..
  • Looks like there’s some new moving parts but I got the foundation ready.. I’m still kind behind schedule..
  • Today’s been stressful. This slow query won’t speed up. I’ve tried everything.. I’ll carry on tomorrow..
  • Oh I figured the query.. all I had to do is join.. why did I even put this query inside the loop..
  • I haven’t worked with JS in past 5 years and now I have to write all this code… lets see..

I started to log the project aswell as the feeling & small wins/losses..

This is what stopped my imposter syndrome all together!

I might feel stressed about a project sometimes but my confidence is always there now. When I look at my document of projects I know what I’m capable of.

I hope this help y’all!

Update June 1st 2023.

I realized that it’s not so easy to keep track of everything. Sometimes I skipped documenting for weeks.. ultimately I put this in my weekly schedule and since then I’ve been able to document way more than before.

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