How to become a Software Engineer despite Imposter Syndrome: Jonas’ Story
While searching for an alternative to learning web development in university in Sweden, Jonas Stiernström came across Treehouse and began learning to code online. A few months later he enrolled in the Techdegree program and focused on growing his front end web development skills. Jonas was faced with challenges along the way, especially with the common struggle with imposter syndrome that so many face when they’re new to code. However, through determination, hard work and the support and encouragement of other students and teachers at Treehouse, Jonas built up his coding skills and his confidence. Today, Jonas is a skilled Software Engineer and can truly say that he loves his job and working in the tech industry.
We asked Jonas to share his experience and advice with other aspiring developers.
“Applying your new skills is one of the best ways to learn.”
I was always curious about the tech industry and I loved tech. The idea of being able to carry my entire work life inside my laptop bag seemed really amazing, especially as it would enable me to work and travel at the same time, what a feeling of freedom. I also had the idea that it would be fun to work in the tech industry as it intrigued me. In hindsight, my view of the tech industry turned out to be true as my work is something I am really passionate about now!
Initially, pursuing a career in the tech industry was something I dreamt of, but as I couldn’t get into a university in Sweden, it started to become a far-fetched dream. However, as I didn’t want to give up I searched for other ways to learn how to code. That’s when an ad for Treehouse caught my eye and I have been addicted ever since!
A while later I started the Front End Web Development Techdegree, and this really changed things for me. The Treehouse courses are amazing on their own, but before the Techdegree, I hadn’t created anything as I didn’t believe that I was good enough. The projects in the Techdegree helped me realize that I had learned more than I ever imagined from the courses and that applying your new skills is one of the best ways to learn.
One month after finishing the Techdegree I landed my first job as a software engineer, and since then I’ve had the chance to work on some amazing projects and have learned a lot. I work on both front and back end depending on the needs, and the ability to see problems from both perspectives has helped me improve a lot. I get to be creative and try to solve challenging problems on a daily basis, which is a lot of fun.
I am still learning more and Treehouse is at the center of that. I try to spend a couple of hours every week on improving myself, and the Treehouse courses make it much easier as they are split into bite-sized learning. If I only have 15-30 minutes to spend then that’s still enough time to make some progress, which is great.
I work on both front and back end depending on the needs, and the ability to see problems from both perspectives has helped me improve a lot. I get to be creative and try to solve challenging problems on a daily basis, which is a lot of fun.
The greatest challenge for me while learning to code was without a doubt impostor syndrome, I always had this demoralizing feeling telling me that I wasn’t good enough to succeed and that there was no chance that I would make it in the tech industry. There was actually a time early into the Techdegree program where I was about to give up because of it, and I spent nearly two months trying to get myself back into it, but I just couldn’t. That feeling telling me that I was nothing but a fraud was really intense at that point.
The turning point was when I opened up and explained how I felt in the Techdegree Slack-channel, and the response from both the Treehouse team and other students was amazing! They helped me realize that I wasn’t alone and that a lot of people experience it throughout their careers. I haven’t looked back since.
The Techdegree experience was really special to me, I had so much fun. The program itself was really challenging and helped me improve a lot, but the constant communication and collaboration between students were amazing and it never felt as if I were doing it on my own. I am even considering taking one of the other Techdegrees just because of how fun it was the first time!
I now work with something I am really passionate about, and where there is room for me to grow and advance. My education at Treehouse made this possible, and to call myself a Treehouse alumni is something I am extremely proud of.
Treehouse really changed my life, I came from a position where the Swedish system of getting a job and education created huge obstacles for me. I now work with something I am really passionate about, and where there is room for me to grow and advance. My education at Treehouse made this possible, and to call myself a Treehouse alumni is something I am extremely proud of!
The tech industry is great, and one of my absolute favorite aspects of working in it is how it’s enabling people from all over the world to work on projects together. One person sitting in New York can easily collaborate on projects with someone in London, and a school like Treehouse, based in the U.S can reach students like me living in Europe. I think that’s pretty awesome!
The tech industry is also fueling other industries to move forward. It doesn’t matter if you’re passionate about healthcare, education, financing, philanthropy or any other industry, by becoming a part of the tech industry you will be empowered with the chance to make a change in the field you’re passionate about. It’s a rapidly growing industry, and the chance for creative people to make a difference is huge.
The tech industry is fueling other industries to move forward. It doesn’t matter if you’re passionate about healthcare, education, financing, philanthropy or any other industry, by becoming a part of the tech industry you will be empowered with the chance to make a change in the field you’re passionate about.
There’s so much advice I would like to give to aspiring developers because I know how hard it can be. But I think I would like to return to the imposter syndrome. It is a horrible feeling and learning to code can be tough enough even without it! What I would like to say to aspiring developers is that if you ever get struck by impostor syndrome, don’t keep it to yourself. Try to open up and tell someone about what you’re going through, it really helps. The Treehouse Community is a great place to share and there will be a lot of people who have gone through the same thing themselves who can help you get through it. If you’re part of a Techdegree, the Slack-channel is also a great place to share how you’re feeling. Don’t ever let impostor syndrome stop you because you are good enough to succeed.
Don’t ever let impostor syndrome stop you because you are good enough to succeed.
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