Zoning in on the Imposter Syndrome

There’s a rather curious case of how a self-taught programmer all the way from South Africa is extremely good at what he does, which is developing web applications as a full-stack developer, but he refuses to get a full-time job with companies that will undeniably pay him very well for his skills and services. The programming prodigy himself sees himself as more of an indi-developer, surviving on various freelance projects which in actual fact have nothing to do with his skills as a developer.

Imposter syndrome seems to be at play here, but just this once it appears as if the whole situation is headed in a positive direction, leading to one of the few instances I would imagine in which imposter syndrome actually pays off in a big way.

What is imposter syndrome?

For those of you who aren’t already in the know, imposter syndrome is a common self-doubting state of mind wherein someone who has acquired a skill in a certain field doesn’t feel as if they completely fit in. You feel as if you’re an imposter and that you shouldn’t be rubbing shoulders with all the other skilled individuals active in the same field you acquired your skills in and this usually develops among self-taught techies like hackers and self-taught developers.

Imposter syndrome is especially prevalent in the tech field, particularly in disciplines such as programming and even graphic design, usually induced by the knowledge that other skilled individuals in the same field perhaps acquired their skills from formal academic institutions. This would imply that they paid a lot for those official qualifications while you as the self-taught hacker might perhaps have simply learned through Googling and going through online tutorials.

Online entrepreneurship is reborn!

Going back to our South African self-taught programmer, in his case it’s all shaping up quite nicely since this bloke’s imposter syndrome has led him down a path of serially building online businesses from the ground up and then swiftly moving on to the next one of those online businesses in the pipeline as soon as the previous one is launched.

Personally I reckon it’s a great way to build one’s portfolio because should the day ever come when he becomes desperate for some full-time employment to make full use of his acquired skills, he’ll have so many different live examples to show his potential employers. The silver lining in all of this however, since it is indeed a by-product of imposter syndrome, would indeed be that one or more of these serially developed online businesses actually take off in a huge way.

What if all of them take off in a big way? It’s very much a possibility since history has shown that online businesses tend to take off and go big in the most unexpected of ways and at the most unexpected of times, particularly those for which their founder(s) didn’t have enough money to market them and take them to operation at their required critical mass.

Imposter syndrome is naturally generally a negative thing, but as is demonstrated in this instance, it could very well work out in the favor of whoever is suffering from its effects.