A Blog about my journey as as web developer

Imposter Syndrome

Imposter Syndrome is real guys.  I am an Instructor at Coding Dojo.  I have been teaching there for over 2 years now.  Been teaching Coding for over 4 years.  Teaching any type of class for over 20 years.  It doesn’t mater what the topic is or how long I have been teaching that topic I am still going to find times that I feel like I am not worthy.  You know what?  I am worthy! I don’t need to know everything.  Not even about the topic I am teaching.  Whats worse is at educators we are often part of the reason our students feel imposter syndrome.

I know your saying hey wait now not me.  Yes you!  When we are teaching we make the topic look easy.  Even when we feel like we don’t know anything we do and we make it look easy.  As an educator I often catch myself saying that XYZ is easy.  This is such a bad statement.  It’s easy to us because we do it every day.  But to the student it’s not.  That is why there are in our classroom.  Sure learning HTML is quick to learn in many cases or compaired to say building a Python application.  In the grand scheme of things sure HTML is easier.

Have you ever heard of the phrase if it was easy everyone would do it?  Is everyone a programmer?  No! Are you the Family Geek?  Does everyone come to you to ask about how to fix something?  There you go….to you it might be easy but to them they need help.  However when you go get a job doing XYZ that your family asked  you for help in you are now surounded by others that maybe get the job done faster.  Or they know more about it than you.  Now your thinking do I really know what I am doing?  Should I even be here?  Did you get hired? Do you still have the job?    If you answered yes then guess what?  Imposter Syndrome just tried to kick your butt.

Now I can’t tell you that there is a cool 12 step program to kicking Imposter Syndrome back in the butt or getting rid of it cause well…… there isn’t one.  Nor should there be.  Let me tell you a little story and explain why.


At the end of 2022 I was asked if I would like to teach a unique class.  15 women who would like to become programmers.  It would be for 14 weeks and teaching 5 days a week for 8 hours going from the basics of Web Fundamentals to learning 2 full Stacks C# and Java. My 1st thought.  Heck yes please let me do this.  Help more women break into the developing community?  Be a mentor of sorts to them?  Bring it on.  2nd thought.  Oh crap I don’t know C# and haven’t taught Java as a full stack yet.  Guess I better learn and watch some recordings.

3rd thought?  You guessed it. Why did they pick me?  There are other female instructors that already know and teach these languages.  I can’t do this. I went through this whole cycle.  Not just before the class started but during too.  In fact while teaching.  Even worse 1 day I had to dismiss the class early for lunch because they started asking questions and I suddenly forgot everything about C#.  Does that mean that someone else should have been teaching the class?  That I was not worthy?  No it means I am a programmer.  It means I am human.  After a heart to heart with my amazing Teachers Assistant and a few tears I came back from lunch and started the content over.  Did I post the recording from the morning session?  You bet I did.  I had to.  Not because of rules, but because I needed to. ME.  In a small way it was my way of proving to myself that I am not an imposter.  That I am a good instructor.  That I am human.  It is and was how I proved to myself that I can over come it.  Those 15 amazing ladies have since finished their 14 weeks with me and have moved on to their next chapter.  But I can confidently say that they are better programmers because of my imposter syndrome.  I owned up to it, I showed my human side.  We had fun learned a lot together even and formed bonds that can last a lifetime.  But I showed them something else too.  How to move beyond.  Those 12 steps that don’t exist for Imposter Syndrome?  It’s because for everyone it’s different.  For me I have to be honest.  I have to show that hey yes I don’t know everything.  I am far from perfect.  I also need to go through those feelings often. Programming came easy to me.  TO ME!  Not to everyone but TO ME. But I am one person, I am me.  I am  not those 15 ladies and they are not me nor are they like the other ladies in the group.  There are no concrete steps to getting beyond this feeling.  Some can just push through it.  Some have to fight it.  Some have to do both.  I am sure there are other things that folks have to do.  Me I have to break down.  I have to be reminded that hey, you were there, you were chosen, you can do this.  Then take a deep breath own up to it and keep going.


So why the story and the long post?  Because like these images show we will all feel this way at some point.  And it’s ok.  Don’t get discouraged because one day you wake up and feel like your not worthyor you can’t do it.  Yesterday you did it.  Yesterday you were worthy. Today you are and tomorrow you will be again as well.  Use today’s feelings to grow.  To remind yourself of where you have been.  Find an old project like from the begining of your programming life.  Then find a more recent one.  Look at them.  How does the code look?  How so the web page look?  Do you see growth?  Do you see anything that is the same?  Remind yourself that at one time you were the student in awe of your instructor.  How they could just look at an error and be like oh I know whats wrong.  Maybe you are reading this as a student in awe of your instructor.  We have all been there done that and we all be there and do it again.  For me it’s my way of knocking me off this invisible pedistal.  I am so not perfect.  Pretty sure there is a few spelling mistakes in this post.  But one of the joys and annoyances of programming is that we never stop learning.  Never stop growing.  One day the error that a Teachers Assistance saw before me I will see before someone else.  I take it as I just hadn’t come accross that error before and they did.  Now I have.  I hadn’t thought to ask that question before.  That student did.

In the end we have to remind ourselves that we are where we are because we are ment to be.  (Cliche I know, but true)  I am an instructor at Coding Dojo because I was chosen to be there.  I showed skills that ment I was capable and qualified to do that job.  I wasn’t promoted to a team lead not beause I wasn’t qualified, but because someone else was better suited, or better yet, because my job as an instrutor is not yet done.  I am still needed whereI am.  Or maybe I still have somethings I need to learn myself.  Either way I am where I am because I am capable of doing the job.

So next time you start feeling like the imposter remember, YOU are there because YOU showed the skills needed.  YOU are there because YOU are supposed to be.  YOU did the job yesterday YOU can do it again today.  Take a min or  30 breathe.  Look at some old code compaired to new code.  Remind yourself of where you were vs where you are.  Talk to the duck.  Pretty sure he will tell you the same thing..

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