Imposter syndrome, why is it dangerous on developers

Imposter syndrome is a state of mind where you think that you achieved a success by luck, timing or deceiving others into thinking that you’re intelligent. Basically, it’s when you say to yourself this thought: “I’m a fraud and everyone is about to find out“. A research conducted in 1980s suggested that two out of five successful people consider themselves frauds. Don’t think of it as a disorder, because it is not. Overcoming imposter syndrome is not hard but it may become a threat to your career, academy, or life paths.

Why it is dangerous

The syndrome can happen to any individual despite the level of their success. It happens to presidents, scientists, engineers, and any individual in any career or position. It happens as a result of self-doubt, and it becomes dangerous when you strangle your own progress by questioning whether you are worthy of certain achievements. It will hold you back from being the best you can be.

Why developers should be aware of it

Did you ever find yourself in this position? “You created this software, many people like and use it, but you’re afraid if other developers viewed your code, you will get scathing comments on your bad coding skills“ or when you struggle with a bug for days and you say to yourself “Ok, that’s it. I’m doomed. I’ll never solve this bug and everyone in the company will know that I’m a fraud“. Most of the times, you’re wrong. your code is fine and the bug is really hard to solve.

Any developer who doubts his skills should remember that it is natural that we all have doubts about our abilities. Developers should not only address the symptoms of this syndrome but also know how to overcome such a feeling. Here are some things to remember if you ever have these feelings in the future.

  • Accept that you have had a role in your successes.
  • Say it to yourself, “It’s just a syndrome” and get over the feeling on the spot.
  • Realise that nobody knows exactly what’s going on.
  • Realise that your skills are in constant development over time.
  • The most successful people on earth can experience the imposter syndrome.


The bottom line of this post is to not feel intimidating by other’s success and for you not to underestimate your powers and self-value. You must acquire a mindset of self-confidence and not to compare yourself to others. Be consistent and eliminate any doubtful thoughts inside of you. Remember, it’s a very common syndrome and overcoming it is very important to expand your possibilities.