WHAT AM I DOING HERE?

What am i doing here?
My Journey as a Young Coder

Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes (1978) coined the term Imposter Syndrome which refers to the feeling that you are unworthy of the success you have achieved, despite evidence to the contrary. It is the fear that you will be ‘found out’ and exposed as a fraud. For me, it was the feeling that I will be ‘found out’ that I don’t belong in the world of IT.

“So, what made you switch from psychology to software development?”

I got that question a lot, so much that I have a well-crafted standard response for it. But to be honest, I am not quite sure if I believed my own answer.

Fresh off the Young Coders boot camp, with a false sense of confidence, I started my placement at Trifork earlier this year. I was fortunate to be placed at a company with an easy and supportive working environment. The senior developers are always available to help and answer all of my “stupid” questions. But even with all the support from our coach at Young coders and the developers at Trifork, I inevitably fell into the “desert of despair” as I encountered technologies and code that I had never seen before. It is easy to get overwhelmed with all the different libraries and dependencies when you just learning the ABC’s of a language. Combine that with a feeling that I didn’t truly belong here because I don’t have a background in computer science, led to a whole cocktail of feelings.

Now, eight months into my placement, I am coding new functionalities, writing tests and debugging like a pro. A code base that felt like a foreign language just a few months ago, now reads like a story book. I am slowly climbing up that ladder of confidence and competence and it’s getting better every day.

Instead of doubting myself because I don’t have a degree in computer science, I am proud of myself for being able to do this despite not having the background. It helps knowing that most of millennials experience Imposter Syndrome and the number is even higher among women in STEM fields. It is a feeling that I have to actively work on combating, and I remind myself every day that I do belong in this world.

My advice to the new trainees about to be placed: just stick with it. Even if you are confused and you don’t understand something yet, you will one day. There will always be something new to learn. You will cycle through feelings of knowing everything and knowing nothing in the same day. That is what makes this line of work so exciting, challenging and rewarding.