Programming Confidence: How To Become A Confident Programmer

Written By Jason Humphrey

In programming, we hear so much about what tech stack we need to learn or what the new hot technology is. What we do not talk about much is the mental health aspect behind how you can be a better programmer.

There are basically one main thing developers can do in order to improve their confidence as a developer and basically tackle the imposter syndrome: fake it till you make.

HOWEVER… This is not always the best choice for most developers. Developers feel afraid of faking someone they are not and something they will NEVER be able to become.

Whether or not you realize it, confidence level affects you each and every day. Heck, each and every millisecond. The thoughts you have vary based on your confidence level. The actions you decide to take are completely different depending on your confidence level.

So… What is a better option than the “fake it till you make it?”… The “Act As If…” technique.

Wanna know more about the “Act As If…” technique to transform your confidence as a programmer for real? Watch this video and find out.

Transcript Of The Video

Jason Humphrey: In this video we're going to be talking all about the fake it until you make it first impostor syndrome. Let's be real, the impostor syndrome is something we all have to face. No matter who you are, no matter how good of a developer you are, we all face it. We all know the fake it until you make it is something we've all heard before. The concept is if you don't know what you're doing you've got to fake it and figure it out. So fake it, do it as best you can, figure it out along the way. Fake it until you make it to the top.

We're kind of looking at these two things to fake it until you make it, the imposter syndrome?

Hi, my name is Jason Humphrey and welcome to this video. Now my story here for this video is about a student that I was helping out and they couldn't really get behind the idea, I was telling them, “Hey look, I know you don't get this, but we just got to fake it until you make it. That's what we got to embrace. You got to go in there and do these interviews and fake it until you make it. I know you don't feel like you don't belong, but let's just do that.”

We both agreed and both were onboard and embraced it for them and was like, “Yeah, we're just going to do this.” Something that they brought up to me was like, “Hey, look, Jason, you know I'm going to do this. I'm a try, but I'm having a really hard time getting behind this idea of fake it until you make it.” They couldn't fully embrace it because they felt like a fraud behind it all because even though they were giving it their all and they were faking as best they could, putting a smile on, doing what they could, they still said they felt like a fraud at the end of the day and that it just wasn't them and they were having a really tough time with it.

When I heard that I was like, “Oh damn.” I've always embraced the fake until you make it. I've actually talked about this with before. It's like, “Damn, they're right.” Now that I take a step back to think about it, I myself at times have felt like a fraud when I'm doing the fake until I make it. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but I started thinking to myself like, “Okay there's got to be another way,” because it's crucial for what it does because it will put you out there. But at the same time it can hinder you if you let it get inside your head of like, “No, I'm really a fraud even though I'm doing this,” because you might not be at the top level. You might not be putting out the best stuff you can because at the same time you're holding yourself back because you have the feeling of fraud.

So what happened? Well, I learned a different style and the concept is this, and I want to share it with you. The concept is this. It's act as if. You are to act as your ideal thought. If we get in an interview and we get asked a question and it's a tough one, what we're going to be saying to ourselves is, “How would I act as if I was the best developer in the room?” How would you act as if the best developer was just asked what's most important to them in their development career? What would they care about?

You portray this ideal thought you have of what the best developer looks like. Now to do that you have to sit down and think about that ahead of time. I know a lot of us have, so I love asking this question to students, especially when it comes to confidence issues. Instead of fake it until you make it, we act as if we're confident developer. What does a confident developer look like to you? Do they stand up straight? Do they stick their chest out? Do they look confident? Do they smile? Do they wait for other people to talk? Do they listen? What do they do that makes them the best developer in your mind?

I also like asking this question because when it comes down to what does a confident developer look like, I get tons of answers, always different, always unique because truth be told here what really matters is what in your eyes is that ideal developer? What does confidence look like for you? It doesn't matter what it looks like to me, and that's why I feel like this is so powerful for people is everyone has a thought to this. Everyone has an opinion to what the ideal developer looks like. When you've developed that opinion, it becomes that much easier to say, “Hey, I'm going to act as if I'm the best developer in the room. The best of the developer would do this, this and this every time. They'd always speak clearly. They'd always give direct answers and they would always give it their all. What is this all doing for us? Why? Why does this work? Why does it work for me? Why will this work for you?

I believe that this works for people better than fake it until you make it because of how you are mentally priming yourself. Instead of a space of faking it you're priming your brain from a space of the ideal thought that will carry you to success award of where you're trying to go. What happens if I can't think of any? I can't think of the ideal.

What I've seen happen is the nerves will come rushing in and you're going to feel this and potentially the first couple interviews maybe, and I'm just going to use interviews as the example here, maybe you messed those up. But what you need to do is you write down what you're feeling when these nerves come in and you can't figure out what you need to act as if or you can't even fake to make it's not working, write down what those nerves felt like or write down what you were trying to accomplish but couldn't so you can come back to it, think about it later.

The worst part is when you get stuck and you're repeating the same thing over and over and not doing anything different about it it's the definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and expect a different results. We need to understand what you're feeling, what nerves are going through your mind, and then write down so we can later think about, “Okay, well that didn't work. What is the ideal thing about this?” Maybe you got ask the question you didn't know and we come back and visit that later so at some point you have a full picture of what that ideal developer looks like to you.

Overall, fake it until you make it is great and it's helped me a ton out. But now I use the act as if, which is extremely powerful for me mentally, and I believe it can be mentally powerful for you too. That's because it will allow you to release yourself from the idea of faking it and allow you to enter the idea of the ideal developer.

If you're interested in more implementing the act as if, if you're interested in helping that, I've created a service called The Coding Career Fast Lane where I help you accelerate your tech career. A part of that is the impostor syndrome. I have about two hours of content all on the imposter syndrome to help you out, including the act as if framework and how to fully implement it and how to prepare yourself for it. Overall, to answer this video's question, I think the imposter syndrome might win some time. So for you, I challenge you to use act as if so that you can be imposter syndrome.