Nida, thank you for sharing your experience. I can tell by your writing that you are NOT an imposter and that you are a bonafide coder / tech guru!
I myself have felt the deep and sometimes crippling effects of the imposter syndrome.
It’s great that the judge called you out on that “crap” statement, because that kind of honesty and guidance can be hard to come by.
You may think that you only have a few years of experience, but already you have a story and a voice that can inspire others. Some day, very soon, you’ll be the one giving out the advice and other young women will be so grateful to hear those shared experiences.
One thing I do for myself before big presentations and meetings to get myself out of that negative head space, was what I’ve heard called “state priming”. I got this technique from the hugely popular TED Talk by Amy Cuddy. Honestly, it works. I go into the bathroom and do a power pose for a few minutes to get myself pumped up and feeling powerful. It’s one of the most popular TED Talks ever, and I can’t recommend it enough. I rewatch it often.
Another thing I’ve vowed to do when I go into networking events or big meetings, is to really “advertise” the skills of other women I work with. My thinking goes, if I talk them up to people that don’t know us, I’ll at least look good by association (ie — look how smart and talented my coworkers are!).
It’s (emotionally) easier than talking about myself, and often gets a little banter going like “oh, yes — did you know that Jasmine has done….” Social proof goes a long way in earning and cultivating that feeling of authority.