How to overcome imposter syndrome as a junior developer

Ironhacker

No matter how long you are working as a developer, there will always be someone with more or different experience to you in one area or another. The world of coding and front to back -end development is so broad and varied that it is unlikely that two people will end up with the same set of skills and abilities. Knowing how to face challenges or handle updates and changes is as important as having practical coding skills across a range of libraries. Starting out as a junior developer can be daunting as there is so much to learn, but that’s what makes it an exciting and interesting career path to embark upon.

Everyone Has to Start Somewhere

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.

Take on Challenges and Gain Experience

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.

Upskilling

Developing your skills and abilities is another way to overcome imposter syndrome as a junior developer. There are many short and long courses 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 delve into topics such as understanding databases, version control with GitHub, frameworks, and agile methodology.

Team Work

As a junior developer, you will most likely work as part of a team within an organisation - 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. On the side, it never hurts to learn new coding languages and processes. Once you have the basics of web development under your belt, it is relatively easy to upskill and expand your knowledge in the field.

Find Your Area of Interest and Specialise

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. Specialising 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.

Show Initiative

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.

Ask Questions

Don’t be afraid to ask questions as a junior or newly-qualified developer, whether that's during a course or in the workplace. It is the fastest way to learn and, rather than make you appear clueless, 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.

Start Small

Remember that imposter syndrome affects most people in some way and at some time - 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.

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