There is a fear in the tech industry of looking like you don’t know what you are doing. This is so pervasive that people will not take risks to deliver something that doesn’t threaten their own perceived competence.
This is all well and good until you consider that doing so hampers creativity, innovation, and leaves us constantly feeling like we are on the brink of failure. Imposter syndrome is a real thing, and the best way you can fight it is by breaking a few things and learning.
When you push code, you risk going into unexplored territory. Trying to do something new may result in some failures and even break what is there. People usually don’t try to take the risk because they don’t feel as if they are providing the right kind of value to the rest of their team. They do not see what they are doing as solving a problem, and they don’t want to be seen as if they are unsure of what they are doing. It is not uncommon to feel that making a mistake is a failure. In fact, it is one of the best ways to grow.
So how do you build up the courage to fight feeling like a fraud and instead accept your ability as it stands? One of the scariest and most direct ways is to take more risks in coding. Also, consider asking questions if and when you become stuck. Asking questions will result in you wasting less of your time and having more time to work on the more important problems at hand.
Another important hint is not to be a perfectionist with code that you are uncertain will work or not. Get it to do what you need and then clean it up. Last but not least, don’t be afraid to push your code. The mistakes you make as a developer will result in you becoming more confident both in finding the right solution eventually and fixing issues at the moment.
Some Final Considerations
Ask yourself the following two questions the next time something goes wrong and you will ensure that your mistake is a valuable learning experience.
First, why is what you did wrong for your current problem? Second, what course of action will you have to take to make it work.
Being a great developer doesn’t happen overnight. It requires being passionate and unafraid of your subject material and career. You will need to be confident in your ability and understand that failure is a part of the job for people at all levels.
Perfection is required to become better. Rather, understanding why problems develop and how you can resolve them is a route you can take to be the coder you know you can be.