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Raheel's Blog

What It's Like to Be a Software Developer at 18

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It’s a lot of hard work, pressure, and uncertainty. But sometimes I wonder if I’m biting off more than I can chew or if I should have followed the traditional path of going to college. Before you ask, no, this is not an autobiography; I’ve written enough of those for my nine college applications. This is, however, my very first blog post (except for the Webflow one, which we can ignore for now).

Imposter Syndrome

…an experience of feeling incompetent and of having deceived others about one’s abilities…

I’m passionate about what I do and happy with what I’ve accomplished. However, the lurking Imposter Syndrome makes me constantly wonder if I’m really good/deserving enough to be in my position. It’s excruciatingly difficult to recognize success throughout my struggles. Alongside this, my perfectionism makes me focus on what could have been done better. Perfectionism itself isn’t related to my age, but I thought I’d highlight it nonetheless. It’s where I set unrealistic standards for my own performance, and disappointment follows when they are not met. Despite assurances from mentors and peers that my expectations are unreasonable, the pressure to perform remains.

In terms of mental health, it affects every decision while causing:

  • Hesitation, procrastination, and avoidance of new challenges
  • Anxiety, insecurity, and unhappiness
  • Fear of what others will think if questions are asked. It feels like admitting ignorance or incompetence

He should’ve gone to University like everyone else

How is Raheel (ooh, a change of perspective) doing in the alternate universe where he’s at university? Is he more well-rounded and sociable? Does he regret not proving to his father that he could be a developer without going to university? Is he bored to tears learning Java instead of JavaScript in lecture halls? So many things cross my mind, but none of them matter now because I’ve decided: I like being paid to learn more than I like paying to learn. Speaking of paying, I don’t think I’ll be paying for this decision in the long run. According to Statistics Canada, I’ve got 64 more years before someone throws my body in the trash, so I’ll keep you posted on this blog.

Also, everyone around me at work is a teacher, and I’m a student. At university, I’d probably have a TA a few years above me as a surrogate mentor. That doesn’t sound appealing to me, although I could understand if students didn’t have many other options.

I have a few regrets, but only one matters: not starting earlier.