Skip to content
April 4, 2019

The impostor syndrome

The irrational fear of being exposed as a fraud

When can I say that I'm proficient in React or JavaScript as a whole?

How much TypeScript should I have written over the past months to consider it an 'active' skill?

Am I good because I can get those daily tasks done? - what's the definition of a good developer? Would I be rubbish for Amazon?

For a part of my career, I was a coding monkey for Greek startups with zero guidance. None of my colleagues had more than 2 years worth of solid experience in the field. My deadlines were, well, the evening and testing was something the client did on production.

Under these circumstances, it's very hard to pick up good practices along the way. You either work your ass off on your own time, or you're stuck. It was very hard to change my mindset from "adding this quick fix, and maybe one day...", to "let's tackle the root cause, and do a nice refactoring". I'm still guilty of doing the first at times.

And yet here I am. I'm working with brilliant people all across the globe, having learned a ton and still feel like a fraud.

This feeling isn't uncommon, but knowing that doesn't make it any less real. When receiving criticism, people tend to be either defensive or just accept it. In this case, it stops being about that thing and it gets personal. "Oh, boy do I suck."

To the day, I haven't found a solution for this. But I do enjoy this quote I heard lately "Only rats win the rat race".

So what if I suck a little bit?


Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon, impostorism, fraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a "fraud".

Despite external evidence of their competence, those experiencing this phenomenon remain convinced that they are frauds, and do not deserve all they have achieved.

Individuals with impostorism incorrectly attribute their success to luck, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent than they perceive themselves to be.