Angelina Fabbro: The truth about imposter syndrome

Orde Saunders' avatarUpdated: Published: by Orde Saunders

Angelina Fabbro @angelinamagnum was talking about imposter syndrome at Scotland.js, these are my notes from her talk

[This talk was delivered as satire, please interpret the notes in this context. Unfortunately some of these attitudes are real.]

If you write code - you're a developer! Actually that's wrong, there are imposters in the industry - most commonly known as designers. The sole purpose of writing software is to trick VCs out of money. Don't waste time on people who aren't breaking their backs on hardcore dev techniques.

Identify imposters:

  1. They make things look good. Typography, gridsystems, crayons, consistency Designer or even an art director! You can harvest lots of emails with websites that look bad. Whitespace == wasted space.
  2. They know CSS. CSS makes things look good which is not needed. CSS is not a programming language (California Style Sheets)
  3. They don't know CSS. You need to know how to depreciate it.
  4. They care about user experience. Interaction designers - like designers but worse. Pretend to know how software works. They're telling you how to write your code!
  5. They know jQuery. More popular than JS and allows designers to think they know how to code. Plugins make designers feel good.
  6. They don't know jQuery, true developers use pure JS - no abstractions. Must use ECMASCRIPT not JavaScript.

Front end != Real dev. Server side like PHP and Node. (Pretty Hardcore Programming)

Do you work with?

  • People => manger or community interaction specialist
  • Servers => devops

Managers are babysitters to make sure that the company only hires real devs. As are developer evangelists.

If you work with art assets then you're lost.

If someone doesn't know all the things you know then they aren't real devs. They also need to have the same opinions as you.

If they aren't a 24 year old white guy they aren't a proper developer. It's a meritocracy. As the industry is full of men then men must be more meritorious.

Resumes are obsolete - only trust GitHub profiles.

  • Could I be coding right now?
  • Could I drink more beer or caffeine?
  • Why don't I care more about what people think on the internet?

(repos + open source forks) * favourites = your worth


Don't admit you don't know something. Measure this by your twitter followers (or klout score) as this is the number of people who will back you up. The only thing that matters on the internet is that you're right!

You are an imposter

Everyone knows you're not a real developer - people will find out if you're wrong. Keep faking being a real developer.


If you see someone who isn't a real developer - report them to the appropriate authority!

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