As we continue into the digital age, more and more occupations are being replaced by software. This is especially true in North America, where the industry is booming. In this blog post, we will explore the top 10 software occupations in North America for 2023. From app developers to big data analysts and more, read about the exciting new opportunities that await you shortly.
Recently, we sat down with Brendan Wilhelmsen, a Software Engineer at Workday, to talk about his journey into a career as a Software Engineer and what his day-to-day job looks like. Brendan shares some insights with our learners about how his learning experience at Qwasar helped prepare him for a position with Workday.
The tech industry is one of the most rapidly growing industries in the world. With advancements in technology happening every day, it’s no wonder that so many people are interested in pursuing a career in tech. But many people don’t realize that the tech industry is also one of the most competitive and cutthroat industries. If you want to be successful in tech, you need to have a strong network. In this blog post, we will explore the importance of networking in the tech industry. From making connections to attending industry events, read on to learn more about how to make a name for yourself in tech.
We sat down with one of our students, Thanh Ngo, to share more about his journey into technology. We wanted to give you an idea of the depth and breadth of who is in our learning community. This interview is a part of ongoing learner interviews of our Qwasar students.
You’ve decided to take the plunge, learn how to code, and aspire to become a software engineer. Congratulations! Coding is a rewarding skill that can lead to all sorts of amazing opportunities. Now comes the hard part: learning how to code. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered with these study hacks for anyone learning to code. From setting achievable goals to breaking down complex concepts, these tips will help you make the most of your coding journey.
Recently, we sat down with Mammadu Diallo, an Apprentice Site Reliability Engineer at LinkedIn, to talk about his journey into a career at LinkedIn, what it means to be a Site Reliability Engineer, and what his day-to-day job looks like. Mammadu also shared some insights with our learners about how his learning at Qwasar helped prepare him for a position with LinkedIn. This is his second interview with us, first as a student and now as an alum.
We met with one of our alumni, Jairo Guzman, to learn more about his journey from biomedical engineering into the tech field. After joining and completing the program at Qwasar alongside his friend, Mammadu Diallo, he got employed at Microsoft (while Mammadu got employed at LinkedIn, a Microsoft company!) The goal of this interview is to give you an idea of who is in our learning community. This interview is a part of ongoing interviews of our Qwasar students and alumni.
Imposter syndrome in coding is perhaps one of the more difficult challenges to overcome for some learners. When it comes to any kind of skill or competency, particularly ones tied to jobs and careers, imposter syndrome can affect quite a few people, yet given its very personal nature, it’s not often spoken about. In fact, imposter syndrome is so common that even the Harvard Business Review writes about it. We’ll look at what imposter syndrome is and means, why so many programmers struggle with it, and how you can increase your confidence.
What is Imposter Syndrome?
Imposter Syndrome is when people feel like they are not good enough or cannot do something, despite evidence to the contrary. It affects people of all ages and backgrounds and can be common in high-achieving women. Many factors can contribute to imposter syndrome, including a perfectionist streak, general anxiety or insecurity, and negative self-talk. If you tend to compare yourself to others or focus on your weaknesses instead of your strengths, you may be more susceptible to feeling like an imposter. (WebMD)
Imposter syndrome can range from occasional to frequent, so how people experience or identify with it can be different or vary over time. Signs that you may be dealing with imposter syndrome include self-doubt, fear of failure, and difficulty taking credit for accomplishments. If you're constantly second-guessing yourself, procrastinating, or scanning for flaws in your work, it can be tough to move forward with confidence.
Applied to being a programmer or developer, imposter syndrome can make it difficult for people to celebrate the projects they just finished, feel that they deserve success, accept praise from others and gain confidence in the skills that they have, or are developing with coding. It can lessen your confidence, and potentially hinder career growth.
Imposter syndrome can lead you to not apply to a job that you’re qualified for because you believe you don’t know enough about the various technologies they request. It can lead you to doubt your ability to complete a project whenever you are given code that was written by someone else and you couldn’t understand some of the syntax used in the code. It can make you feel overwhelmed and defeated when you chat with colleagues and they speak of technology you aren’t as familiar with.
Fortunately, there are some things you can do to start managing Imposter Syndrome. One key step is acknowledging that feelings of self-doubt are normal and common – everyone experiences them from time to time! Learning how to reframe negative thoughts and celebrate small victories.
Why Do Programmers Suffer From Imposter Syndrome?
Imaginably, imposter syndrome is rampant in the tech industry, in part due to how quickly new technology is developed and adopted. It is simply impossible to know everything as a developer. Developers sometimes feel inadequate when there are new, unknown languages and methods, which can result in imposter syndrome. For example, mobile software is upgraded every year which leads to some of the technologies becoming obsolete. This can result in developers suffering from imposter syndrome, rather than understanding that having a career in software development requires you to constantly learn and upskill.
In addition, there's always someone who knows more than you do, which can make you feel like you're never good enough. Developers often suffer from imposter syndrome because they make comparisons between themselves and their colleagues. Stop comparing yourself to other people who are further ahead, faster at solving a problem, or write “better” code than you. Your knowledge, experience, skills, and value are vastly different from others. Everyone is different, and certainly people who have spent longer in the field will know more, write code more efficiently, and be better at architecture or design. Also, how you learn, compared to others, is not going to be the same because we are humans and not machines.
Some companies, engineering teams, or engineers rely heavily on Computer Science degrees as a mark of skill and competency (which is what's called 'false attribution bias'). At such companies, it can be easy for a developer who doesn’t have a degree to begin to feel that they are less capable than their colleagues, or that they don't merit their role or job - signs of imposter syndrome. Comparing yourself to others isn’t advantageous. If you find yourself making a comparison between yourself and someone else, tell yourself to stop and remind yourself that everyone is unique. You are not less than others because your skillset, knowledge, and experience look different. If you're in the job, you clearly had the chops to get an offer, so take confidence in the hiring process at your company to identify capable talent!
Coding Confidence: How to Fight Imposter Syndrome
Imposter syndrome can manifest as that little voice inside your head that tells you that you're not good enough and that you're going to be found out as a fraud. It's that feeling of being an imposter, and when it comes to learning to code, a new programming language, tool, or highly technical subjects, these feelings can intensify especially as the more you learn, the more you realize you don’t know about the subject area.
It's okay not to know everything - in fact, it's impossible to know everything. Employers don’t expect you to know it all, but they do expect you to be resourceful and have the ability to figure things out. In any software role though, technologies, tools, and programming languages are constantly changing. In some sense, it’s normal for a professional software engineer who has been on the job for 5 years to, at times, feel that they are out of their depth.
If you're suffering from imposter syndrome, here are some things you can do to gain confidence:
1. Acknowledge your achievements and past projects
One of the first steps to gaining confidence is acknowledging your achievements. It's easy to downplay our successes and focus on our failures, but doing so only feeds into imposter syndrome. So take a step back and look at all that you've accomplished – both big and small. Write them down if it helps. Remembering your successes will help remind you that you are capable.
An example of tracking your success within coding would be to go back and look at previous projects that you’ve worked on and notice the improvements that you’ve made. You can create a place to showcase your previous projects and reflect on them often.
2. Be kind to yourself
Part of imposter syndrome is having unrealistic expectations of ourselves. We expect perfectionism, which is not only unreasonable but also unattainable. So cut yourself some slack! Be kinder and more forgiving with yourself – we all make mistakes. Nobody is perfect. Accepting this will help lessen the impact of imposter syndrome on your life. Don’t listen to the voice in your head telling you that you can’t do it.
Taking on a difficult project when all you think is “I can’t do that,” then completing it can help you build confidence and shut down the imposter syndrome. Accept the fact that the tech industry is ever-changing and that you will never know it all; with that knowledge, embrace the challenge of constant learning.
3. Seek out support, and give it to others
Another way to build confidence is by seeking out support from others who believe in you – whether it's family, friends, or colleagues. Talk about what you’re struggling with with a mentor or a peer. They may be able to give you a more objective point of view. You can even ask if they’ve ever felt similarly. Knowing you aren’t alone is important to moving forward, and they may even have some advice on how to cope with imposter syndrome regarding coding.
If you don’t know something, reach out to your colleagues. It is normal to feel ashamed when asking for help, but it’s encouraged to reach out for support when you aren’t as familiar with a project. Most people will help you, and encourage you along the way. Don't be afraid to ask questions when you're stuck - there are plenty of resources available that can help you out.
4. Set realistic goals
Give yourself ample time to master any skill or skill set. You shouldn’t expect to master any skill in a few months, especially programming. To be successful, you must give yourself time to truly learn and grasp the content.
If you're brand new to programming, first, find at least one language that interests you and that you are motivated to learn. Start by reading articles, tutorials, and books that are geared toward beginners. As you gain more experience, you'll be able to move on to more advanced material. You can also plan career goals for yourself over a period of time, such as 6 months, then decide what you want to learn and continue to move toward your goals. Check-in with yourself once a month and acknowledge the progress that you have made toward your career goal that month. Not only does giving yourself time to learn and setting goals help toward imposter syndrome, but it also helps to improve your resume. Finally, don't forget to practice, practice, practice! The more you code, the more confident you'll become in your abilities.
5. Participate in a learning community focused on programming
When you surround yourself with those that have similar interests and may be more knowledgeable about coding than you are, it helps you grow professionally. Often, imposter syndrome is due to comparing yourself to what you see others doing. Be willing to share with others how you feel or your thoughts about being an imposter - it takes courage, but often when one person opens up, others will follow. You'll see what others are struggling with or what you know that maybe they don’t. Ask questions about others’ approaches, and keep an open mind to understanding others' code. You can also share your knowledge with others, and be a mentor and a teacher to those that need additional support in their coding studies.
An Honest Story from a Qwasar Alumni
We reached out to Qwasar alumni and asked if they’d be willing to share their experience with imposter syndrome while being enrolled at Qwasar. Here's what Ivanna, a software engineer with a couple of years under her belt, had to say:
Ivanna Sak, Qwasar Alumni
Imposter syndrome is not something theoretical for me. In all honesty, I am highly impacted by it. I know firsthand how hard it is to keep pedalling when you think people around you know more, do more, or are capable of more. I am also an introvert, which also adds to the problem. For introverts, the syndrome is even more prominent since almost all ways to combat it requires one to actively talk with others (which any introvert hates). I cannot count how many different software projects or features or things I dropped without finishing or did much slower than I could have done otherwise if I had perhaps stopped doubting myself. This happened just because I thought what I was doing was not good enough or fast enough, so I just dropped them. It is mentally challenging since this creates a feeling of failure. Imposter syndrome can be a self-fulfilling prophecy that grows on you, like cancer, and impacts every part of your life, bit by bit until you can no longer deliver anything.
The worst part is that there is no one silver bullet. Today, I can surely tell you that you are good enough and that you should never doubt yourself. But this is much easier to say than to do, even to write this, to tell you this is hard for me, hard because I think: “I do not know anything about the syndrome”, “why me? I do not know how to verbalize this”, “why me? I might not even have it“. So here is me, overcoming my syndrome and telling you something. And, unfortunately, this is the only way known to me. There are many people out there who are: less qualified than you, who are less prepared than you are, who are less hardworking than you are, but they show up. They are there when it is needed, yes they are not always 100% and you know what, that is okay, no one expects them or you to be at your 100%. You could be at your worst 100%, but what still matters is to keep showing up and unfortunately, there is no easy cure that I can think of to make it easier. Quite simply, do not give up, and don’t let yourself give up!
So here I am, admitting to you that I have imposter syndrome. It is hard, and it impacts my life and probably yours, but at the same time, I am giving you an example since if I can do it, you can as well. Go and share your thoughts about your experience.
Understanding what imposter syndrome is and the impact that it can make on your professional career is important to reducing its impact on your future. Although you may continue to battle with imposter syndrome, acknowledge those feelings and try to adapt to a growth mindset. You can be successful in the Qwasar program even with imposter syndrome. When you find yourself feeling like you aren’t progressing quickly enough, reflect on the advancements that you’ve already made and set a realistic goal for where you want to go. Focus on your successes rather than your failures or mistakes. Coding is a skill that is in high demand, and it is only getting more popular as the years go by. Don't let your lack of confidence hold you back from becoming great at coding. With a little bit of effort and the right attitude, anyone can become a master coder!
Often when we think of learning, we think that it happens in a linear fashion. By linear, we mean progressing from one stage to the next in a single series of steps or at a constant rate. The myth that learning is linear stems largely from ‘knowledge transfer’ teaching methods with assessments that focus on memorization of the “correct answer” and the belief that, by the end, everyone will have acquired roughly the same amount of knowledge. When it comes to developing or learning a new skill, however, linear progress is not really how humans learn. This learning myth does not take into account each individual’s needs or interests, and ignores how humans actually learn how to do things.