The become the ace of any software development company you have to be the best at everything, you have to know everything about debugging software, everything about all the technologies that we work with and of course all about how to write effective code. The only problem with the previous sentence is that it is complete and utter bullshit, I will agree that it was once perhaps a remote possibility of being the best programmer but it was a long time ago. Today you can be the best at Windows Communication Foundation or Microsoft Azure but you can never be the best at everything, or simply put there is no such thing as the art of being the best at everything, it is a hoax or a dream of perfection that is about as achievable as becoming a world champion in chess, pool, snowboarding, F1 racing and horse dressage – in the same year.
The reason that I am writing about is because it makes me angry, I know excellent programmers doubting themselves and their skills because they compare themselves with two or even more guys who are experts in their own separate fields. And that constant comparing and worrying if they measure up takes time and focus from them that they could use to write more awesome software.
And this is not just a software developer problem either, this is an infection that spreads through our whole society. People comparing their life to some other person’s life on Facebook, instead of just making goals and tell themselves that this is the place where I want to be, this is how I am going to get there and when I get there then I am successful, great or whatever outcome they were looking for. Other people don’t matter when it comes to how successful you are in life, I hardly think that Phil Haak gets up in the morning thinking – Hmm I wonder who is the best programmer me or Scott Hanselman. I bet that both those guys get up in the morning thinking about all the cool new things they are going to build or learn that day, not who is better or worse off than them.
Googling “I feel like a fraud” will give you loads of hits, even if you add the word programmer you still get over 160 thousand hits, feeling like a fraud because you are don’t have the skills of your co-workers are so common people are starting to call it the impostor syndrome.
If you feel bad about not having your co-workers skills then I would like you to remember that you are in a team, the reason that you don’t have his or hers skills is because you have been selected into this team to contribute with things that the rest of the team can’t, in all the ways that make you are a unique and amazing developer. And isn’t that a nice thought?
Happy New Year! And let’s have a 2014 less anxiety and lots of more cool software!