How to Navigate Imposter Syndrome as a Career Changer

Have you ever felt you didn’t deserve your success or that at any given moment your co-workers and managers will discover you’re a fraud?Imposter Syndrome

Whether you’re just starting or a veteran in your field, we’ve all experienced doubt and unworthiness at some point in our career journey. What is comforting to know is you’re not alone–one in three Americans suffer from imposter syndrome.

In a recent episode of the TOP5 Podcast, Tech Elevator’s former New York & New Jersey Market Leader Catherine Tsavalas sat down with show hosts Tara Thurber and Ellie Bright to discuss the trending career topic of imposter syndrome.

If you didn’t tune into the show, keep reading for a few highlights from their conversation. Or click below to listen to the full episode!

[Show Highlights] Types of Imposter Syndrome + How to Overcome Them

Haven’t listened to the show? Catch up on what you missed in a few key takeaways below.

What is Imposter Syndrome?

Catherine said: “Imposter syndrome is the feeling that you’re a fraud and everyone will find out. It’s when you feel, despite all of your accomplishments and successes, that you don’t belong where you are and don’t deserve the things you have in your career. It’s the feeling that you’ve managed to scam everyone, and any minute they’re going to realize you’re a fraud.”

These thoughts and feelings can manifest in people downplaying their abilities and accomplishments to the point of negatively impacting their careers. Imposter syndrome can leave a person feeling that “anyone can do this” and setting unrealistic expectations of success that do more harm than good.

These thoughts are common with career changers who are no longer established in their respective fields and not yet subject matter experts. At Tech Elevator, we have devoted entire presentations to preparing and instructing our students about these topics, as they can significantly impact a student’s experience and job search. We never want our career changers to suffer with these thoughts and feelings in silence.

The 5 Types of Imposters

Developed by Dr. Valarie Young in Rethinking Impostor Syndrome™, Catherine discusses the various types of imposters that people become as they hold themselves to unrealistic, unattainable standards of competence.

  1. The Perfectionist – One minor flaw from an otherwise incredible performance equals failure.
  2. The Expert – This is the knowledge version of the perfectionist. Not knowing everything or a minor lack of knowledge brings this person feelings of shame and failure.
  3. The Superhuman – Very common in women and entrepreneurs, this is the person that if they fall short in any of their roles, often taking on far too many, it invokes shame. They measure competence by how many roles they can juggle.
  4. The Soloist – Similar to the Superhuman, they believe they must do everything independently. They don’t want to ask for help and care more about who is completing tasks.
  5. The Natural Genius – Their sense of competence is measured by ease and speed. When things don’t come quickly, they feel like failures.

5 Ways to Beat Imposter Syndrome 

  1. Find your community. This will allow you to talk to people who know what you’re going through and talk you out of your shame spiral.
  2. Fake it until you make it. Visualize your success and banish negative thoughts. Let your feelings follow your actions instead of dictating them.
  3. Go on a fact-finding mission. Help yourself differentiate facts from opinions. Make expectations clear, and establish what you are doing instead of what you aren’t.
  4. Identify what you can and can’t control. Focus on what you can control instead of dwelling on what happened outside your locus of control.
  5. Document how awesome you are. Take stock of your wins and review them when you feel imposter syndrome. It’ll help you internalize your successes and be kinder to yourself.

Ready to conquer imposter syndrome and become a software developer? 

It is easy to talk yourself into feelings of doubt and shame, especially when taking yourself out of your comfort zone and trying something new. We know and understand this all too well. That is why Tech Elevator created the Pathway Program to help our students navigate their career change and become career ready.

Transform your career in 14 or 30 weeks at Tech Elevator. If you’re looking to take the next step in your career and think being a software developer is the path for you, then take our Aptitude Test to get started.

Imposter Syndrome - Katie SchraderWritten by Katie Schrader, Tech Elevator’s Former Pathway Director Development Lead