by PDX Code Guild - June 7, 2017
Imposter Syndrome

"Dearest Fear: Creativity and I are about to go on a road trip together. I understand you’ll be joining us because you always do. I acknowledge that you believe you have an important job to do in my life and that you take your job seriously. Apparently, your job is to induce complete panic whenever I’m about to do anything interesting—and, may I say, you are superb at your job. So by all means, keep doing your job, if you feel you must. But I will also be doing my job on this road trip, which is to work hard and stay focused."

-Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear Imposter syndrome is the feeling that one doesn’t deserve to be where they are in life.

Imposter syndrome can manifest as the sense that you fooled someone into giving you the opportunity they did. It can appear as the deep sense that your success is more to do with luck than skill. It’s estimated that 70% of people have imposter syndrome. People are more likely to experience imposter syndrome when they are feeling stretched. For example, when they are hustling a career change or learning something new. Attending a coding bootcamp can be a stretching experience. The experience of going from knowing very little about coding to knowing quite a bit about coding in a short period of time can be stretching. The experience of shifting one self-image to include developer can be stretching – especially if our cultural narrative suggested you might be better suited elsewhere.

Code Guild is designed to support students in overcoming imposter syndrome. Being a classroom environment is helpful because knowing we’re not alone can be key to overcoming imposter syndrome. Code Guild specifically hires for teachers and TAs who are encouraging – who serve as cheerleaders as well as teachers. Code Guild promotes a diverse student body which helps me remember that people from any background – including mine – can be developers. I studied on my own for a few months before entering Code Guild. It is possible that I might have been able to teach myself everything I needed to know to be a developer. But I wouldn’t have gotten over the imposter syndrome.

Code Guild has helped me be confident that I can be a developer.