David Walsh, a popular Web Development blogger I follow, wrote a post a few months ago about the “Imposter Syndrome,” a common feeling that many developers have going into a new job, or even in their current position; a feeling of inadequacy or fear that someone is going to discover them as a “fake,” simply pretending to be competent in their field. As I was reading through his comments, I couldn’t help but relate.

Although I’ve felt that all-too-often (especially now — I start a new job in a week), I couldn’t help but look back with hindsight and feel fairly accomplished as to how far I’ve come in the past few years.

As some of you may know, I’m a Mormon (Latter-day Saint). When men of our congregation hit the ripe old age of 18-19, we’re expected to head out on a 2-year Missionary trip, teaching others and sharing our faith. During that time, we’re expected to set aside all personal endeavors to fully focus on sharing the Gospel and help others. Technology has always been a love of mine. It’s been more than just a hobby. Putting all of my technical interests on hold proved really difficult for me.

Upon returning home after those two years, I jumped head first into my technical degree. I felt so inadequate about all of things that I didn’t know, and especially outdated by all the latest technologies that had emerged in a rapidly-changing field.

Where I stand currently, I understand that there’s a plethora of information in front of me to learn. But it’s fun to look back and actually see how I’ve progressed.

It makes me laugh (and slightly embarrassed) to think that I used to build websites, and I never used a single class= statement, because my HTML documents consisted entirely of id= tags.

I can’t believe that I used to have absolutely no comprehension of what a “backend” was, and how server-side scripting and databases interacted to create full-fledged web applications. I was a sophomore in High School when I first heard the acronym “SQL,” but it wouldn’t be years until I even built my first query or understood what SQL was.

I remember the first time I learned how to insert PHP into my HTML code. My teacher wrote the following code on the board, and it just looked like greek to me. Not only did I not understand what it did, I couldn’t even begin to wrap my head around how it worked.

<?php include

I could go on forever. Anyway, the point to all of this, is simply to tell myself that I have progressed, and I have learned. Keep it up. Five years from now, you’ll look back at yourself again and think about how much farther you’ve come.

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