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How To Overcome IT Imposter Syndrome

At some point in your IT career, no matter how high-ranking you may be, you probably have been affected by Imposter Syndrome. It’s very common in the IT field and a feeling unlike any other. In fact it occurs in almost every profession. Imposter Syndrome tears you down and can make you feel unsure of your abilities. It can create such uncertainty that you question why you’re even in the role you’re in to begin with.

We’ve all probably experienced this self-doubt that has loomed over us, especially as IT professionals. Sometimes our mistakes are known company-wide. It can especially kick in when we’re on the verge of taking a step up. While Impostor Syndrome occurs in all levels of IT professionals, rest assured that sometimes even the ever-confident CIO or IT director may be affected as well. But like everything else there are ways to overcome it, ways to beat that uncertainty, excel in our projects, thrive in our day-to-day tasks and more. I’d love to share some of my tips with you in combating IT Imposter Syndrome.

Remind Yourself Who You Are

I would be lying if I said I’ve never experienced Imposter Syndrome, but years ago I faced it just like the rest of us. Even early in my career I faced it head-on. I was working as a Network Technician and IT was a huge move for me at the time. But more often than not, I found myself questioning my abilities. Did I belong here? The answer to all of it was yes. It took me a while but I knew as my skills grew, my confidence would also and after that first year or two it did. Early on I learned this and it’s something to this day that’s still applicable, and something that I’ll continue to pass onto today’s generation of upcoming IT professionals.

Defeat self-doubt before it even enters your head. I know it’s a lot easier said than done, but close your mind off to the negativity and self-doubt and only allow growth and confidence to consume you. In doing so you’ll become a stronger professional. That confidence will carry with you – not just into whatever task or project you’re working on – but whatever else may follow. Over time these skills and beliefs will grow as you grow. From completing tasks to reaching out and challenging yourself to harder problems to troubleshoot. Look for opportunities to take on new projects outside of your comfort zone, which can further strengthen your abilities in whatever role you’re in or advance to in the future.

Why You’re Here In The First Place

It’s very easy to face self-doubt. It’s another to question why an organization would even hire you in the first place. I’ll equate this to something my old boss told me years ago when working in retail. We weren’t selling products, cables, etc. We were selling our services to others. I’m worth 200 bucks, are you? The question was simple. Are you worth every penny that client is going to pay for your time, your knowledge, etc? The answer was even easier – absolutely. I carry that same mentality with me to this day. Your organization chose you out of everyone because they saw something in you. Be it the knowledge, experience, passion, drive or all of the above. They choose you because you were the best fit and have what it takes to get the job done.

Ask Questions No Matter What

Some may look at it as a matter of pride, others may just be afraid to ask what they may feel is a “dumb” question. But in reality, there’s no such a thing. We all face different tasks we may not have the answer too and there’s tons of different resources available for us to reference in those events. More often than not, asking the right questions and utilizing those resources can further us ahead and only help us in achieving our goals or something much greater.


Girard Kavelines lives in northeastern Pennsylvania with his beautiful wife and five amazing children. He has over 15 years of experience as an IT Professional. Working in many different areas and roles from IT Helpdesk, Network Technician, Network and System Administrator, and IT Administrator. He is currently working toward achieving his CCNA, and then pursuing this CCNP. For his endless work as a blogger, Girard has been recognized as a VMware vExpert and Cisco Champion. He blogs regularly at TechHouse570.

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