Battling impostor syndrome as a software engineer

Tom Deneire
6 min readFeb 20, 2023
Photo by Matheus Farias on Unsplash

Impostor syndrome

Impostor syndrome or “impostorism” is a psychological phenomenon in which an individual doubts their skills, talents, or accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a fraud. Despite external evidence of their competence, people experiencing impostorism do not believe they deserve their success or luck.

It has been estimated that nearly 70% of us will experience symptoms of impostor phenomenon at least once in our lives. It is spread equally among men and women and occurs in various settings, such as a new living environment, academia, social interactions and relationships, and — perhaps most of all — the workplace.

Impostorism in IT

In my experience, impostor syndrome is exceptionally present in IT. Almost all of the people I have worked with — engineers, analysts and designers alike — have at one time confessed feelings of being a fraud or a fake, or of feeling inadequate for their jobs.

This is only logical because of the nature of the IT sector.

For one, it actively promotes perfectionism. In software, things are either right or wrong — hence the culture of testing. This is, of course, excellent development practice, but with insecure people, you can see how…