It's normal to feel imposter syndrome in any career, but there are a few things developers can do to feel more confident!
No matter how long you’ve been working as a developer, there will always be someone to compare yourself to. With the world of coding and front to back-end development being so broad and varied, it’s no wonder that people end up with different sets of skills. As important as it is to have practical coding skills across a range of libraries, it’s also super important to know how to face challenges and adapt. It can be scary to start out as a junior developer, but don’t let that stop you. Sometimes a good challenge leads to excitement and makes for an interesting career!
Newly qualified developers may feel as though they are starting at the very bottom with tedious or basic tasks, depending on the company or project they are working for. Completing jobs on time and reporting effectively will place you as a valuable employee, and it won’t be long before more varied and difficult tasks come your way. Experience only comes with time, and being a consistent, reliable coworker that meets their deadlines is often as valuable as knowing 20 coding languages or being an expert in VR software - if not more so.
Building your experience is crucial to becoming a great developer and overcoming imposter syndrome. Perhaps more importantly than adding qualifications to your CV, simply gaining experience in the field is one of the best ways to make progress. Face new challenges head-on, and don’t be afraid to take on a new project or task however intimidating it might seem. Everyone had to start someone in the world of coding and programming, and sometimes the only way to acquire new skills is to simply put them into action from the get-go. Once you have acquired the basics, a lot of development is simply learning by doing.
Developing your skills and abilities is another sure fire way to defeat imposter syndrome. There are multiple courses varying in length available for those that wish to expand the coding languages they can work with, for instance. Ironhack's Web Development Bootcamp offers a solid grounding in web development for those wishing to dive into topics such as understanding databases, version control with GitHub, frameworks, and agile methodology.
You know that cliche “team work makes the dream work”? As a junior developer, you will most likely work as part of a team within an organization - that may be a large or a small team. Either way, it is often the case that each employee has a specific part to play and is crucial for the overall picture. Asking questions, learning what you can, and not dropping the ball will all go a long way in ensuring you are a great developer. Of course, it never hurts to learn new coding languages and processes on the side. Once you have the basics of web development under your belt, it is relatively easy to upskill and expand your knowledge in the field.
Have a niche? Great! Identifying your preferred area of web development is also a great way to find a route for progression and overcome imposter syndrome. If you are certain that you love developing apps, for example, then focus on that and upskill or teach yourself all you need to know to become a great app developer. Specializing in one specific area of web development means you are more likely to excel at the job rather than dividing your attention across multiple topics. Deciding early on what interests you and where you would like to focus is one way to quickly hone your skills and move up the ranks.
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Everyone loves a self-starter. Self-starting a project and building an app from scratch, for example, will give you valuable coding practice, plus, it will give you something to showcase to your existing or prospective employers. This can be instrumental in fighting imposter syndrome as it will clearly demonstrate where you are at in terms of skills, ability, and innovation.
It’s something we’ve been told since elementary school. Ask questions! It is the fastest way to learn and will make you look engaged, curious, and willing to learn. The most important factors in developing are often completing a task effectively and overcoming obstacles, all within a given time frame. Once those boxes are ticked, you literally could not be a better developer. That goes for simple things like testing a feature or adding a new section to a website, as well as larger projects like developing a world in a video game. Challenges will probably arise no matter what coding task you are working on. Learning how to find simple solutions to complex issues is a huge part of web development and the more experience you get with this, the better you will become.
Remember that imposter syndrome affects most people - it is not unique to a junior developer - and there are proactive ways to overcome it. Although those with years or even decades of experience may have a massive range of knowledge, coding languages, and skills, all viewpoints are invaluable when it comes to programming. It is an ever-evolving world that has a lot to offer. Start with small, achievable tasks or projects and let your experience build over time. If you are working as a freelance developer, for example, take on jobs you can confidently complete before accepting more advanced projects. Doing the small things well and within any deadlines will place you as a valuable, highly capable developer no matter how long you have been in the field. Experience plus ongoing training will ensure you are constantly acquiring new skills and always developing yourself.
During the Web development bootcamp and also during the Career Week, our Career Coaches help you to overcome the imposter syndrome and work closely with you to get the skills that will get you hired. Also, there are plenty of student stories that dared to become a Web Developers and changed their lives with it.
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