5 year journey, imposter syndrome, and pushing through

I wanted to share my story in hopes that another aspiring developer would be able to push through their imposter syndrome or hesitancy to being learning.

I graduated college in 2013 with a degree in Biotech, then after a few years of working at laboratories, I decided it wasn’t for me.

Coding creates a unique fusion of creativity and logic, and I was hooked after creating my first program.

My friend was a senior programmer and helped get me started with JavaScript in 2015. I found FCC shortly thereafter and started going through the curriculum, working through the algorithm challenges and projects with a friend.
In 2016, I got a strong sense of imposter syndrome after I asked an experienced programmer to critique my code, and did a few mock interviews at meetups. Feeling like a total idiot, I deleted all my repos and projects and got a job at a temp agency, thinking I couldn’t ever get a job as a developer.

In 2017 I decided to give it another go, so I started back up on FCC, and signed up for a semester of programming classes at my local university, things like Python, Algorithms, Front End development, and Mobile development. I wanted to see what college CS grads were learning, and honestly, I felt like I could compete with them for jobs because of the FCC challenges I had completed.
I distinctly remember going to a JavaScript meetup and working through a coding challenge with a college CS grad who didn’t have any idea how to go about solving the algorithm. FCC had prepared me for the moment, and I came up with a solution and found a few edge cases. The imposter syndrome melted away and I felt confident with my ability to solve problems with code.
I then started working on bigger projects, pushing myself to code nearly every day, and started going to as many coding meetups as I could, asking for mock interviews when I found someone who was willing to give one.

In 2019 I got a job as a TA at a coding bootcamp, landed an internship at a small software company, and then was hired on as a software engineer a few months later.

I’m currently working on a devops/platform team that is setting up a release pipeline, and I’m still learning lots!

The biggest helps aside from the FCC curriculum were:

  1. Writing down the steps to solve an algorithm in pseudo code and taking my time when approaching a new problem.
  2. ‘Think Like a Programmer’ by Anton Spraul
  3. ‘How to Solve It’ by Polya
  4. Going to lots of coding meetups and making new friends, asking how I could help them, and seeing if they would be willing to do mock interviews. Some of those turned out to be real interviews where I could have gotten the job