I was reading a post on coding and open source software and the author said one reason he doesn’t contribute a lot (or any in his case) was that he feels like a “Code Impostor”. He feels like he has no business being in the coding business. Several people responded that although they have felt that way in the past, it is something you have to personally get over…and you have to realize that those code geniuses that he thinks are way beyond his skill set may be total noobs in other areas of coding.
I often feel that way. My programming skill set is HTML, PHP, CSS, MySQL with a smattering of C# in there. While I’d say I can whip out HTML with the best of them, on most of the others I am anywhere from a mid-level programmer to someone who is really good at faking it for his non-tech friends. All the time I have people tell me “I just don’t understand how you do the technical stuff you do.” Really? Just because I made a website check the last date a file was edited and display that date, you are now referring to me as the “John McEnroe of PHP” or the “George Lopez of Style Sheets?” Really, do you think what I did with a few lines of code, code that I probably mostly pilfered from other places, was that magical?
You know what…yes, they do. They do think it is awesome, because they can’t do it. In my world, it may be fairly ho-hum, but in their world I just pulled the sword from the stone, killed the giant with a slingshot, and invented the Snuggy, all in one fell swoop.
I used to think, that most people can do vastly more than what their skill set implies…they just aren’t willing to do it. They are lazy or unmotivated. I still think that.
But I need to realize that I’m not a code impostor, because I did make the effort. It may not be magic to me, it may even seem quite ordinary or even fairly basic. But I took the time to learn it, or at least rip the code off from someone who IS more skilled than me (at least in that one area) and modify for my needs. And doing that is a skill unto itself.
I think I’m going to stop hiding behind my “Code Impostor” mask and when someone says “You are the Jon Bon Jovi of low to mid level programming”, I’m going to say “Why yes, I am!”