Imposter or Student

  • Comments posted to this topic are about the item Imposter or Student

  • I wouldn't say imposter exactly. I think a certain level of anxiety is present.  Having worked hard to acquire expertise in one area I want to perform at that level in another and there are few shortcuts.

    I know someone who picks things up phenomenally quickly and gets highly productive in whatever he has learned. I asked him how he approached learning. I think there's a lot to be learned from his response.

    Learn the fundamental principles. Many of those principles are not specific to a particular technology.  Many technologies are underpinned by clusters of those principles. Learn to identify the principles to which the technology adheres.  That's your jump start

  • Both!  I'd describe myself as a student but feel like an imposter just like "fake it until you make it".  I didn't use SQL until I was over 50 years old and I seem to be ok at it.

    Your advice David.Poole is spot on - Learn the Fundamentals.  IT technologies come and go but fundamentals remain.

  • Imposter syndrome is characterised by feelings of anxiety. Imposter Syndrome is a common feeling among students and can be incredibly isolating. We don't know exactly what causes it, but the pressures of perfectionism, ever increasing social comparisons and a fear of failure all contribute. mybkexperience mcdvoice

  • I think of myself primarily as a student. I put in the time and money to learn new things. For my career and because simply put, I love doing so.

    But at the end of the day, I still feel like an impostor.


  • Great video and food for thought ... I always considered myself a student even after working for over 3 decades in my technical field. However I never thought about the imposter angle. What you say is valid and perhaps all of us are both ... students and imposters!

  • I've related this experience before, but will comment again.  I think honesty and being up-front is the best route.

    Just last month I was going through several boxes of 3.5" floppy discs disposing of old stuff.  Part of the lot were two sets of disks for ancient Microsoft compilers from over 30 years ago.

    I got that software when applying for a position as a DBA/developer and was asked if I knew a certain programming language.  My honest response was 'No, but I will by the time I start working for you'.  Three weeks later I was on the job and began supporting numerous application programs with my new 'skill'.

    As an aside, I had no idea that there were even drives available for  floppy discs any more, but sure enough, I found a USB version for twenty bucks.

    Further, what I found is that after 30 years of storage, many of the hundreds of discs are no longer readable.  Many had to first be run through a 'quick format' followed by a full format, and probably 10-15% failed completely.

    New problem:  Now what the heck do I do with all of them?

    This also raises the question of how reliable our digital storage media might be for long term archiving.  My solution has for some time been NAS bulk storage because of the pretty limited capacity of CD/DVD devices.  I've been digitizing old family photos that are approaching 100 years in age, and 35mm slides that are 50 years old,  but one wonders how long these might last for future generations.   In TIFF format, the files are 'UGE'.


    Disaster Recovery = Backup ( Backup ( Your Backup ) )

  • Check out Milleniata's M-Disc if you're interested in archival media (claims of 1000 years) for photos. Still only a maximum of 100GB/disc, and obviously no guarantees of the technology to play them generations later. But the medium seems to be pretty durable/reliable.

    There was a company called Syylex that was promoting a glass DVD technology, but they don't seem to be around.

  • Skeleton567, for interviews I like the answer "no, but I will be".  It's honest, and shows ambition.  Some employers don't buy it, though.  I think it's their loss.

    There is so much new technology to learn these days that your answer will probably become more acceptable.  A company that tries to find a candidate who exactly matches a reasonably complex stack will find the pickings pretty slim.  Students rule!

  • Larry, I agree.  When I used to interview candidates, I think maybe I would have appreciated the ambition more than the existing skill.  I think it shows a good attitude toward the potential job and toward learning in general.  As far as companies trying to find ideal candidates, it often appears that they throw out a very optimistic and even unrealistic wish list.  I didn't want an 'expert' at this or that, just an expert at learning.

    And just my opinion here:  When talking about ourselves we should NEVER use the term 'expert'.  That was the quickest way to terminate your interview with me.

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 6 months ago by  skeleton567.

    Disaster Recovery = Backup ( Backup ( Your Backup ) )

  • I am always looking to say "I don't know" in an interview, but then explain how I'd learn. I can do to the docs, or use Google to search these terms, or maybe "call Rick" because he knows this stuff and I can ask him.


  • rob.kaye wrote:

    Both!  I'd describe myself as a student but feel like an imposter just like "fake it until you make it".  I didn't use SQL until I was over 50 years old and I seem to be ok at it.

    Rob, I like that outlook.  I'm with you, thinking I'm OK with it.  Problem now is that I just turned 78 years old, and my SQL is admittedly pretty rusty.  Now it's just for manipulating my own data that I import from other applications to do what they won't handle, and to make up for poor design features.   I did begin to learn SSIS just enough to do my imports and some manipulation.  I'd really like to tackle SSRS, but I doubt that is going to happen.  My personal SQL Server system is over ten years old, but still does what I want.


    Disaster Recovery = Backup ( Backup ( Your Backup ) )

  • It's kind of awkward when the interviewer knows the candidate is faking it. The sooner you confess to not knowing something, then the sooner you can move on to the next question - for which you should know the answer to. Even the best ball players will strike once or twice before knocking a home run.

    "Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Instead, seek what they sought." - Matsuo Basho

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