Hackernoon logoFighting Impostor Syndrome through Coding Affirmations by@annafelicityfriedman

Fighting Impostor Syndrome through Coding Affirmations

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@annafelicityfriedmanAnna Felicity Friedman

It’s no breaking news that being a woman learning to code presents a steep psychological hurdle (especially when undergoing a mid-career transition). Due to the tech world’s competitive nature, many people (not just women) suffer from what’s called impostor syndrome — the tendency to doubt one’s aptitude to achieve in this field.

I thought I’d present one of the ways I psych myself up to keep working away as I struggle to balance my current jobs (plural is not a typo), single parenthood, and all the usual responsibilities and headaches that life requires one to manage. I think this everyday stress makes impostor syndrome rear its ugly head more often. But I like to approach strife in my life with a healthy sense of humor, and I’ve always enjoyed subversive tactics, so why not put a feminist spin on my coding exercises?

When you run manage.py startapp, Django sets up a whole bunch of stock code for you. It creates a mostly blank views.py script that you can then modify with things you’d like your webpages to do. Here this hello_world function hardcodes a little dictionary that gets fed into the code on the hello.html script.
This is how the hello_world view gets linked to the hello.html page.
And this is what the output of the above looks like!

Sitting alone, I carefully went through these steps, but to reinforce what are Python-necessary commands and syntax and to separate what are things that are user-determined variables, I made some alterations. Here’s a screencap of my affirmation-tweaked version’s output:

I never used to like pink, but being a woman in tech has gotten me to embrace it as my signature test color.

Even just looking at this screencap right now, it makes me feel like I can do this! So, for anyone needing a psychological boost while learning to code, I highly recommend working some affirmations into your tests and practice work.

If you’re reading this because you are also learning to code and you’re interested in how I did this and what changes I made, here’s the code I changed. This is nothing earth shattering, but I’ll mention I felt particularly accomplished when I thought to add in a line of very basic HTML to change the text color to pink. (Celebrate baby steps, celebrate small goals — they really help! Senior coders might scoff at being proud of something tiny like that, but I’ll tell you, when fighting impostor syndrome and in a steep learning curve pat yourself on the back for every little success.)

Yes I like to use a “girly” color theme in Sublime too.
Note I changed the “hello-world” view to an “affirmation” one for extra feel-good emphasis.

Finally, I’d like to give some serious applause to the way this Chipy mentorship program is structured. Having to blog about what I’ve done in the program really helps reinforce what I learned. I wish I had the time to write about each and every step I’m taking.

[As a mentee in this fall’s Chipy (Chicago Python) mentorship program, we’re required to write a 3-part blog about our experience in the program. This is part 2 (you can find part 1 here).]


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