Imposter Syndrome Continues to Plague Tech but Mentors Can Help

If you are a tech pro with a robust skill set, a long list of successful projects and a history of creating excellent work but you still think you’re not good enough for your role, you’re not alone. Imposter syndrome – the inability to believe that your success is well-deserved based on your effort and skill – is a common problem in tech.

How Pervasive Is Imposter Syndrome in Tech?

According to data from, imposter syndrome runs rampant among tech professionals. They have created scenarios in which candidates self-rate their performance after a technical interview with software engineers. At the same time, those engineers rate the candidates and compare results. They have found that candidates tend to under-rate themselves when compared to an engineer’s judgments.

The setup was designed to determine whether female candidates were more likely to rate themselves lower than male candidates, but they found that imposter syndrome is equally distributed among males and females.  Imposter syndrome seems to impact people at all skill levels, at all career levels, regardless of their age, gender, race, ethnicity or geographic location.

Imposter syndrome extends beyond the interview. Once a new hire is onboarded into an organization, they can suffer from ongoing feelings that they are not “as good as” their peers. This belief can impact not only impact performance, but also an employees’ willingness to ask for more responsibility or throw their hat into the ring for a promotion.

How Mentoring Can Ease Imposter Syndrome in Tech

While imposter syndrome can carry on for years, data from Stack Overflow suggests that over time, those feelings do ease. Typically, after the ten-year mark, people start showing signs that they believe in their skills and talent far more than people with less experience in the field. The lesson employers can take from this data is that young tech pros can benefit from empathy from superiors and elders, investment in new hires and mentoring programs to help new talent build confidence in their abilities.

Positive self-talk helps, but it is always better for a person to hear someone else address their strengths. Mentors can help younger employees learn how to accept both positive and constructive feedback and use it to improve. They have someone to discuss their insecurities with, and they have the opportunity to hear how a successful superior overcame his or her own imposter syndrome over time.

Mentoring can help tech pros identify and accept skills they may have taken for granted or mistook for dumb luck. Advice, reassurance and feedback can boost confidence and reduce paralyzing feelings of inadequacy.

Looking For More Advice On Building Your Tech Team?

For more advice on strengthening your current tech team and recruiting talented new pros, reach out to the award-winning team at Talon. Contact us today to learn about our proven track record of success and to discover the ways we can help you achieve your tech recruiting and retention goals.


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