Imposter Syndrome: How to Conquer Self-Doubt in Tech Jobs

Person frustrated, experiencing imposter syndrome.Have you ever wondered if you have what it takes to make a career change? Do you fear you might not have the talent and skills you need?

What you’re experiencing is called imposter syndrome, and you’re not alone; many job seekers and career changers feel it. It’s especially common among tech workers. According to one study, 58% of tech employees report experiencing these fears.

Imposter syndrome can amplify during a career change, like when you’re getting technology training for a new career or applying for jobs in a new field. In this post, we’ll address ways to face your imposter syndrome and find success in your new career.

Why is imposter syndrome so common in tech jobs?

Tech jobs often trigger imposter syndrome because of the nature of the field.

  • Technology is constantly changing, so you need to keep learning. You can’t complete tech training and then go on autopilot.
  • Tech jobs come in a wide variety – all with different needed skills – so it might feel difficult to know if you’re prepared for your chosen path or keeping up with changes on the job.
  • Tech attracts smart, ambitious people (like yourself), so you may be tempted to compare yourself to others.

Tech jobs can provide the perfect scenario for self-doubt, and if you don’t recognize and manage imposter syndrome, it can even limit what you might otherwise achieve. But there are ways to overcome imposter syndrome.

6 Tips for Overcoming Imposter Syndrome in Tech Jobs

Imposter syndrome is real, but if you’ve invested in yourself and technology training, you’re likely to find success. Here are some tips for getting past the self-doubt that can hold you back:

  1. Make an objective assessment of your strengths and weaknesses.
    Take a good look at your talents and abilities. Recognize your accomplishments. Take stock of what you have learned and your capabilities. You might be biased against yourself, so ask a teacher, mentor, or trusted friend to help you make an objective self-assessment.
  1. Be aware of your symptoms.
    If you have fears that are affecting your self-confidence, don’t ignore them. Work through them so you don’t miss out on the satisfaction a tech career can provide.
  1. Understand that learning in tech jobs is ongoing – for everybody.
    In tech, it isn’t just you that has to stay on top of change. Your peers and supervisors are also always learning. You might be a newbie, but your perspective might enlighten seasoned pros. Ask questions when you discover gaps in your knowledge. You won’t be seen as inadequate but as someone eager to learn.
  1. Be open to feedback.
    When someone points out a mistake, don’t take it personally. Resist the impulse to defend yourself or to pull back and stop trying. Feedback contributes to learning and growth, so be open to the lessons. Ask follow-up questions. People will remember your eagerness to improve, building your reputation for being collaborative and easy to work with.
  1. Get a mentor and connect to support.
    Nothing beats having a trusted advisor with whom you can share your anxiety and who can answer your questions. You’ll also find support in online forums for programmers who share their challenges and get input from others. Attend tech events and build a network of peers for more support. The wisest people recognize they don’t know everything and ask for help.
  1. Adopt a growth mindset and practice self-compassion.
    Recognize that life in tech will be a series of challenges and opportunities for self-betterment. Focus on your growth, not your deficiencies. Take on new projects that expand your skills without worrying about failing.

Tech Elevator Graduates Talk About Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

We often interview graduates after they’ve landed their first tech roles. We ask about imposter syndrome because we know it’s prevalent but manageable with practice and dedication. Hear what some Tech Elevator grads have to say on the topic:

“Be prepared to feel like you’re not the smartest person in the room because you will feel lost, but the important part is that you’re not alone. Just keep in mind that even senior developers feel imposter syndrome and don’t give up. One of the things that helped me the most during the bootcamp and even now in my current role was that I asked questions and learned how to ask better questions.” – Jessica Gorrell

“It’s going to feel like a very long time before you feel comfortable and before you know what you should know. I still learn new things every day and still have to ask questions. I can’t stress enough how important it is to work on a team where you feel supported and can ask questions when you need to.” – Abigail (Abby) Clery

“Tech Elevator is very understanding of our individual journeys. The program is very good at taking your background and skills from your previous career and helping you showcase them for your new career. You might not feel like you’re good enough – imposter syndrome is normal – but the Pathway directors will help you through that, too. There’s so much support in the community of students, instructors, and staff.”- Melissa Ferguson

“I always thought I wasn’t smart enough to make [coding] a career. I saw my friends doing it, and they were all super smart, so I felt like it was out of my reach. Also, I always had this sort of naive notion that my occupation needed to be expressive and hands-on, but now I feel that my primary form of expression is actually programming because you can build anything!” – Patrick Dolan

Related read >> How to Navigate Imposter Syndrome as a Career Changer

Turn your imposter syndrome into a good thing.

The driver of imposter syndrome is a deep desire to perform well and to succeed. That’s a good thing if you remove the self-doubt that can come with it. You can turn your imposter syndrome into motivation that keeps you on the path to success.

If you’re just starting your career change journey, consider Tech Elevator coding bootcamps for software development training. Start with our Aptitude Test!

Career Coach



Written by Vinny Sanfillipo,
Senior Director, Career Development