Just wanting to vent - Programming, sour grapes, and low self-confidence

I’ll try to make this short, because just being cathartic about this might help me get back to studying and applying to these jobs…

I’m a recent grad from a coding bootcamp and I feel always so inferior and I get discouraged nearly every moment because I see my failures being waved in front of my face. A large chunk of my cohort went on to do great things like interviewing at (and getting hired at) Google, whereas I dropped out in the middle of the course due to stress, and then came back for the next cohort. And even then, I still lagged behind people who allegedly had been studying this material for less time than I was. I have friends who got jobs there right out of college, and one particular pissant who’s barely in his 20’s in a managerial position there. I don’t see how I’m supposed to compete with any of these people, let alone the experts taking up space everywhere else.

I changed my career path from Biology to computer programming right after I graduated college with that useless degree. I thought I did everything right, and I feel like a total failure that I have nothing to show for it.

I feel like an absolute fool for getting sucked into the cult of start-up positivity and not foreseeing that I possibly wouldn’t be good at this. I want to throw up whenever I see algorithms, and I seethe when I see other people implement whiteboard solutions to complicated sorts and logic problems like it was nothing.

A lot of people call me entitled, or say that I’m young and don’t know what will happen. But in the real world, especially in programming, I feel like not being among the very best is a one-way ticket to inescapable mediocrity and drudgery as a code monkey. It’s times like this, when the anxiety roils and the anger smolders when I just can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, that I feel like all of my expectations were a giant waste of time and I should just hand over the reigns to my life to somebody else.

I know that all this anxiety also actually does prevent me from being productive and doing more work, but I just can’t help but feel that this is an absolute truth I can’t avoid, that life may just not be for me.

I was glad to find this site at least, to see that it’s also not after-work beer parties and jargon-spewing meetings for everyone else either…

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I have similar feelings and work for a startup I don’t know why they hired me at when everyone else seems to be a coding genius. But it makes me just want to find a new, slower job with more space/time or get into a non-coding role. I envy the designers at work who make mockups & prototypes and do user studies but don’t have to actually code things.

I also think I would benefit from a small scope of coding responsibilities instead of the whole ‘full stack’ thing.

I’m pretty much in the same boat. When I first started CS, I felt like I was a genius and destined for greatness. What I found out was that I just couldn’t compete with the people that really had interest and talent in the field. Right now I’m working for this non tech company that does minimal coding but I feel like most of the interns are better coders than me and it really cuts down on my self-esteem. The fact of the matter is that we all expect ourselves to be above average but that simply can’t be the case. It makes sense but nobody wants to accept that fact. Still, I think if you like what you’re doing, I suggest you keep up with it. Experience makes up for lack of talent and we’re in a good field.

I wonder what makes you think these other people are geniuses. I suspect a lot of those people have the same insecurities and talking about it would be a relief for everyone.

One thing I’ve learned is to stop comparing myself to others.

At a previous job, I felt like the new guy, who was younger than me, got things done a lot quicker. I’ve always felt slower than average… while still confident that I produce quality work.

I realized later that he wasn’t testing his code… and testing takes time. Don’t get me wrong, he was a good developer but we had a different approach.

So my advice would be: stop comparing yourself to others. You might think you’re not as good as another dev while management thinks otherwise.

Another thing: you are the only one who can define what success is. Don’t let other people define it for you.

I used to think I could make a lot of money in this business… or start my own company. I never made a lot of money and I don’t want to work 75+ hours a week… so my definition of success was wrong.

I feel the same way as you Frustrated… right now I’m working way to much and I’d rather have a slower job with less responsibilities too keep my stress level low… and focus on my own projects in my spare time.

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Hah, I ran into that experience for the last few months; the contractor and one of the junior devs never tested their code except for manually and only on their own machine. They waited for bugs to show up weeks (or months) later and let QA declare the feature finished.

It’s depressing to think you don’t know much but then you find the gems that think that unit testing isn’t worthwhile or that automated deploys are too crazy.

I agree with what you said:

stop comparing yourself to others

I think that’s pretty common actually.
Unless everyone is on board, it’s next to impossible to introduce unit testing and test automation in general. A lot of legacy code is simply untestable, so it takes a lot of time and it’s expensive to start doing it. Someone has to pay for it. And as a contractor, you do what you’re paid for or you’re shooting yourself in the foot.

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