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7 Steps to Beating Imposter Syndrome in the Tech Industry

Is imposter syndrome taking a toll on your confidence?

Imposter syndrome is a psychological phenomenon defined by feelings of unwarranted self-doubt. Individuals experiencing imposter syndrome cannot internalize and accept their successes, believing their accomplishments are due to luck rather than competence.

The experience of feeling like a fraud, especially for high-achievers, has been around for ages. However, it wasn't until 1978 that psychologists Pauline Rose Clance and Suzanne Imes put a name to it.

As awareness for imposter syndrome has grown, so has the number of people who identify with it. Research shows that an estimated 70% of the population suffers from imposter syndrome, and almost everyone can admit to a time when they've felt like a fraud.

Imposter syndrome doesn't discriminate. People in all industries and at all career levels can fall victim. But, there's one industry where it permeates deeper than others: Tech. The tech industry is highly competitive, ever-evolving, and consists of many specialized fields, so it's no wonder many IT employees are plagued with self-doubt.

Take a look at our tech industry tips for boosting confidence and overcoming imposter syndrome.

1. Track Your Accomplishments

It's easy to feel like a fraud when you're not consciously thinking about your successes. Keep track of your wins. Did your boss give you positive feedback on a project? Write it down. Have you accomplished a career-oriented goal recently? What's something you've done that made you proud? Take note.

Victories don't need to be as big as receiving a promotion or earning a raise to be noteworthy either. Small wins can lead to big successes. Keep track of your victories in an easily accessible spot, like a journal or Google sheet. When in doubt, review the list. In fact, it's best to review it regularly. 

2. Befriend Failure

As much as we hate to admit it, we can't be amazing at everything we do. Mistakes are inevitable in the learning process. If you're not failing,interview-anxiety-overcome you're not trying. So when failure happens, embrace it.

Embracing failure may feel counterintuitive to conquering imposter syndrome, but lack of experience often contributes to heightened feelings of inadequacy and doubt. Practice altering the way you view failure and start growing from it instead.

When you begin thinking of failures as growth opportunities, you can use them to your advantage, pinpointing pitfalls and avoiding future mistakes.

3. Build Your Knowledge Bank

Another way to boost your confidence is by learning. The tech industry is quickly evolving, and it's easy to feel doubtful if you're not up-to-date on the industry's latest trends. Consider building your knowledge through certifications specific to your position or industry. Does a program or software you regularly use offer additional coursework or skills assessments?

You can also build your knowledge bank in ways that fit into your daily schedule, like spending a few intentional minutes on social media. Follow tech thought leaders who tweet out industry happenings and tips. Look for brands releasing information on software changes. Hop over to YouTube and see what kind of content industry experts are creating. Incorporate a video into your daily routine.

The information is boundless. It's up to you to seek out and consume the content that will help you develop in your field.

4. Be Aware of Your Doubts

Are you mindful of your thoughts? Your thoughts are the most powerful tool for building (or breaking) your confidence. Be aware of negative thoughts you have about yourself, and be quick to disprove any false narratives. Build yourself up. If you need help, refer to step one and review your accomplishments. 

5. Quit Comparing

The quickest way to feel inadequate is by comparing yourself to others, measuring yourself against coworkers at different skill levels or other tech employees with different experiences than you. If you find yourself comparing, don't beat yourself up. Self-evaluation is natural, and we often look to others as a point of reference.

Notice when you compare yourself to others and stop these thoughts in their tracks by shifting the focus back to yourself. Strive to become better than yesterday, and instead of competing against others, start to uplift and congratulate them.

6. Understand the Path Isn't Linear

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Many factors can contribute to imposter syndrome, especially a change in career. Are you starting a new role? Did you earn a promotion? Do you have a new boss or coworkers? Accept that feeling like an imposter can develop at any stage in your career and that the path to confidence may not be linear. Take relief knowing that the onset of imposter syndrome often occurs with change, a stepping stone toward growth.  

7. Realize We're All in the Same Boat

An estimated 58% of tech-industry employees have admitted to feeling like imposters at some point in their careers. Having a common understanding that most of us are "faking it 'till we make it" can help reduce the pressure we put on ourselves. Extend grace to your coworkers who are learning and growing every day. And be sure to extend the same amount of grace to yourself, too.

 

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