Derek Stegelman

A Touch of Imposter Syndrome

Or why I feel behind all the time

From Wikipedia

Impostor syndrome is a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments. Despite external evidence of their competence, those with the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be.

Recently...

I've been feeling a lot like the above.

I'm not sure why as I've recently had a good amount of success in releasing new features and applications at work. Perhaps due in part from having recently became a father again, (stress) or other issues, I'm starting to lack confidence in what I do and don't see as much value in myself as I used to.

Maybe part of it is I'm getting older, the technologies I've grown up mastering are starting to fade and new latest and greatest trends are emerging that I'm not 100% up to speed on.

A good example is the apparent change in web app development towards the single page app. While I've been exposed to it in the past, I always assumed it was just another fad that was going to pass us by. Unfortunately for me that doesn't seem to have happened, and I feel far and away behind learning these new things.

Web Apps are Complex

Modern web applications today are starting to become so complex that building great ones requires expertise in multiple areas. This used to be fairly easy in the days of the LAMP stack, but as web apps have become more complex, this is no longer the case.

I think because there is so much to learn and so much to be an expert in I lose track of the things I really am good at, and discount them; hence, the imposter syndrome.

How It Might be Good

While I was giving some thought as to why I was feeling this way I realized that to some small degree imposter syndrome might actually be somewhat of a good thing. In large part to my recent imposter syndrome I've taken more time to learn new things like AngularJS and other new technologies. The sudden feeling of being behind in large part to thinking of myself as a fraud probably encouraged me to learn a few new things.