Oh yes… I’m the great pretender

credits to: https://blog.valbonne-consulting.com/2014/08/16/the-imposter-syndrome-in-software-development/

Hi, this is my first medium story. Is it original? No… not really.

There are plenty of imposter syndrome stories around the internet and here on medium and they are surely better than mine, but let me tell you why mine is different. My story is different because…


Most of the articles I’ve read about this says that a good technique to help to overcome this problem is to make a list of accomplishments whether it be at a professional or personal level. I won’t make a list but I’ll put some of the accomplishments in bold. I’ll leave the personal level out (for now).

I started with a BSc in computer science — One month after finishing it, I started working full-time as QA Tester and Sys Admin of the demo server (Linux) for a company called WIT Software.

I would do system maintenance, application deployments, bash scripts that would auto-restart the web servers in case of a power outage.

The same month I started at WIT, I also started my MSc degree in computer Science and managed to complete it with a good grade. In the meantime I also went from being a QA Tester to Software Engineer.

In my first year as a Software Engineer I integrated a SyncML library written in C with an MS Outlook plugin that I wrote in C++. I did some work on the company’s SyncML server (Java) and on the front-end (HTML + CSS + JavaScript/jQuery).

One month after I completed my MSc degree I decided to do an MBA for executives at Business School — University of Coimbra (whilst working full-time as software engineer).

During that time I did a few more projects with Java (Struts) and again JSP with HTML + CSS + JavaScript/jQuery followed by a set of mobile web sites written in C# using the .NET MVC 2 and ASPx pages.

After 5 years at WIT Software I decided to move away from Portugal and moved to London.

I started at Sportingbet as a Senior Mobile Web developer. The stack was similar to what I was used to with the exception that now, I was working with SpringMVC instead of struts. Over the two and bit years there our team built from scratch a profitable and functional mobile web sports gambling platform with web casino games integration.

I’m currently at CHP Consulting since May 2014, a company with very smart people in it. A company that is the best at doing what it does. I started as a Consultant and I am now a Senior Consultant. The stack includes Java but now with Guice for the DI and Groovy for our view layer. In terms on JavaScript we have a bit of jQuery, Backbone, Bootstrap, Underscore (etc… etc… etc…).

Obviously I’m leaving many of the frameworks and concepts that I use and I have some knowledge about (testing frameworks, CI, LESS, build tools).

So far I have worked for the following industries: Mobile Telecommunications Operators, Banks, Online Sports Gambling and Asset Finance.

In every company that I have worked I have always progressed in my career, had positive performance reviews, promotions and pay rises.

A few months ago I decided to learn ReactJS. I got lost… <<fast forward to today>> all of a sudden I’ve learned Webpack, ES6, CSS Modules, Code Splitting, Jest and everything that comes with it. I’ll soon write a story about it.

Every time I left a company I always got the feeling that they were sorry to lose me, and I don’t understand why… They hadn’t lost a valuable asset. I’m not an expert in any of the technologies that I’ve worked with.

Do I know Java? A bit… but not the latest version. I’ve never done a lambda expression in my life.

Do I know JavaScript? Not really… especially with the absurd pace of the JavaScript ecosystem.

C/C++, C# .NET, Linux? It’s long forgotten now…

Do I know anything about finance? Nope…

My only expertise is to improvise… to pretend that I know my shit whilst feeling that I am shit. Of course I look a some code and I can extrapolate what it is doing, I can change it, hack it. I look at a balance sheet and I vaguely understand what I see. Every day I have the feeling that I know about enough to pass in between the rain drops, that tomorrow someone will uncover my lack of intelligence, my talent to bullshit my way through years of work.

Listing my accomplishments results in nothing but more frustration as I could have chosen something and become an expert at it. I’m now almost 33 years old… too young to be really senior, too old (and too many responsibilities) to start over…

I thought that with age this feeling would disappear. I’ve felt like this since day one at my very first job. I am today more lost than I was when I wrote my first line of code…

I’m hard working and someone once said:

“ Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”

It just seems that every day I’m up against talented hard working people.