Main image of article This Flowchart Helps You Identify Imposter Syndrome

Every tech professional, at one point or another, has likely had an overwhelming feeling of imposter syndrome. For many, this feeling never quite goes away. But if you’re wondering if you actually have imposter syndrome, the flowchart below may help.

There are plenty of reasons for imposter syndrome to pop up. Whiteboards may be your trigger. Reading an article about a technology or language you thought you knew inside and out can contribute to the feeling you really don’t know much, and don’t belong in the industry. Studies show about 70 percent of all people report having imposter syndrome at one point or another.

Dice recently polled its readers via Facebook and found that a slight majority felt they had imposter syndrome. In other words, you're not alone!

But you may be surprised to know there are different types of “imposters.” In 1982, Dr. Valerie Young identified five unique types:

  • The Expert (Expects to know everything.)
  • The Soloist (Feels they must work alone.)
  • The Natural Genius (Thinks everything should be easy.)
  • The Superman/Superwoman (Feels they should excel at everything.)
  • The Perfectionist (Sets almost impossibly high standards.)

The flowchart below helps categorize what type of imposter syndrome you may have, and starts (naturally) with one simple question: do you worry you will be “found out”? Even a ‘no’ answer to that question can lead to at least one type of imposter syndrome.

A series of questions gets you to your final destination, sometimes with surprising results. You may think you’re a perfectionist... but maybe you’re really more of a soloist!

Gaining experience and knowledge can (naturally) help your anxiety about being ‘found out’ decrease, but for many of us, it never actually vanishes. It can be a daily occurrence, or a feeling that pops up situationally. (Interviews are another major trigger for tech professionals who just don’t feel ‘good enough’ to be in the field, so if you're looking for a new gig, be prepared to wrestle with this.)

One tool that can be helpful is visiting this flowchart each time you experience a sense of imposter syndrome. It’s possible the feelings you have in a given moment are unique to the circumstances; one day you’re a ‘natural genius’; and the next time, the chart might show you’re an ‘expert.’ Beyond simply understanding how you’re feeling, understanding the type of imposter syndrome you’re experiencing can help you navigate it. If you’re a soloist, for instance, maybe accepting help from others is the right move to help you get over crushing doubt about your skillset.

Are you suffering from impostor syndrome?

Are you suffering from impostor syndrome? , courtesy of