Two of the Most Valuable Lessons I’ve Learned

Author: Jake Bauer | Published: 2020-05-23

This post is inspired by Craig Maloney’s recently released book The Mediocre Programmer. I haven’t yet read the book, but I read the synopsis and it got me thinking about these two lessons which I’ve learned since becoming a massive computer nerd:

  1. Given enough dedication, time, and effort, one can learn, become skilled at, and eventually master any skill they wish.

  2. Impostor syndrome can be a good thing; learn to recognize and embrace it.

I feel that both of the above lessons go hand-in-hand; one realization naturally leads to the other. The first lesson is something I struggled with early on during my time as a university student and something I constantly have to keep in mind whenever I encounter a new technology, programming language, or concept. It’s impossible for someone to be good at something with only a few hours of study and practice yet this seems to be an expectation many of us have, myself included. We shouldn’t feel bad about our lack of skill with something new after only being briefly exposed to it.

Learning this lesson was one of the best things to happen to me because it made me realize that, although something may seem overwhelming at first, if I break it down into bits and take my time practicing and learning, I will be able to learn and eventually get good at it. Many things stopped feeling overwhelming after I learned this and if I encounter something new, I know it’s all just a matter of putting in the time and practise before I learn it.

Regarding the second lesson, for those who don’t know, Impostor syndrome is a syndrome in which one feels like they are not really as knowledgeable or skilled as their peers. It typically manifests itself as the feeling that they are faking their credentials or level of skill and tricking others into thinking they are smarter or better at something than they actually are. It’s a common condition among many in the tech industry where there is an unimaginable breadth of concepts, skills, and technologies one is expected to learn.

Although I won’t say I have been afflicted by this syndrome to its fullest extent, I have definitely experienced thoughts similar to those that are common in someone with Impostor Syndrome. I have, however, come to realize that these feelings can be used to positive effect with the realization that when I’m feeling this way, it means that I’ve surrounded myself with people smarter and more experienced than I, which I can take as an opportunity to learn and improve my skills. I’ve turned the feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt into feeling that, although I may be an amateur or completely inexperienced with something, I can take this opportunity to better myself.

This is my twenty-seventh post for the #100DaysToOffload challenge. You can learn more about this challenge over at