The 'Annual' Review

Why more often than not self-assessment is something Women do on a much more frequent basis than annually.

I find myself freaking out daily about where I am and where I should be on the 'grand scheme of things'. My evernote is bursting with skills matrices, personal development schedules that I never stick to and reading lists filled with promises of turning me into a rockstar coder... if only.

Worrying is definately on my strengths list that's for sure. Sometimes I worry about how much I worry. What even is that?!

Evidence shows that women are less self-assured than men and that to succeed, confidence matters as much as competence. Sheryl Sandberg frequently discusses the 'Imposter Syndrome' and how she would wake up feeling like a fraud not sure she should be where she is. This is an all too familiar feeling.

I constantly compare myself to developers of my age and experiance and it gets me no-where. I feel overly responsible when things go wrong and believe I can always do better. Is this self-scrutiny hard-wired into women’s brains? It’s exhausting, and can lead to ambivalence which could be the very reason many women opt out of a career in Computer Science.

How do we overcome this?

After some serious googling around here's my short list of advices to pull yourself out of a self-scrutinising career rut.

  1. Recognition :- recognising that you are being overly critical of yourself and accepting that it's just your inner critic filling you with self-doubt.
  2. Reach out :- don't bottle things up and leave all the onus on yourself. Use the resources around you, pick the brains of the other developers you work with, speak openly about your anxieties and don't be ashamed to ask stupid questions.
  3. Surround yourself with positivity :- put yourself in situations where the right type of people are going to speak positively to you.
  4. Stop comparing :- just stop! I know, easier said than done but stop thinking about others and concentrate on yourself and your own strengths.
  5. Seek role models and support one another:- 'Code like a girl' meet up group intends to bring together girls who code and introduce them to role models within our field. Knowing other women in leadership roles plays an important part in directly enhancing the aspirations of women and their growth.

It's always been my intention with the 'Code Like a Girl' project to investigate the shortage of women in computer science and gain a better understanding on why there are so many of us leaving the industry. Which is why the majority of my blog posts will be based on my own experiences with additional exploration into these two areas.

Post written by Ally Watson.