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Vernon Richards | Quality Coach

Vernon Richards | Quality Coach

October 29, 2022

How Neo Helped Me Overcome My Technical Imposter Syndrome - 5 Tips All Testers Can Use To Do The Same.

My name is Vernon, and I'm technical.

That feels good to say! Usually, I'd describe myself as "kinda technical", "sort of technical", or "I have a hand-wavy understanding of x". Imposter syndrome feeds off self-doubt, and it was having a feast! I've noticed other testers say similar things, and it's not good. It doesn't help when teammates do the same thing.

A vicious negative cycle.

I know Kung Fu! ๐Ÿฅ‹

Realising what knowledge I had was step 1.

After 20 years working in all kinds of software teams, I already know something about databases, programming, design patterns, tools, processes, failure modes, OOP, code smells, etc etc etc! I just had to realise I possessed this, like Neo in The Matrix, after downloading allTheFightingStyles into his brain.

Step 2 was realising "being technical" had nothing to do with what I knew.

You think that's air you're breathing now? Hm ๐Ÿคจ

It had everything to do with how I felt about what I knew.

Like Neo when he fought Morpheus, I realised that "my speed had nothing to do with my muscles in this place". I already had the know-how, but I didn't believe it! Developing that self-belief was vital, and many testers have the same problem I did. The question is how to build it up.

I have some suggestions!

#1: Reflect on what you already know ๐Ÿ’ญ. What projects have you worked on? What problems have you solved? What courses have you taken?

#2: Practice regularly and often ๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿพโ€๐Ÿ’ป. Small chunks of deliberate, consistent effort compound!

#3: Pair with a mentor(s) ๐Ÿซฑ๐Ÿพโ€๐Ÿซฒ๐Ÿผ. Short-cut your learning by collaborating with more experienced folks. Bonus, the learning is often two-way!

#4: Join a code reading club ๐Ÿ“–. Seeing how other people think and approach unknown technical situations is invaluable! You also get used to sharing your own insights and observations.

#5 Repeat ๐Ÿ”. Loop through these steps regularly.

Once you start hearing yourself explain things to other knowledgeable people, they'll be no going back!