The mental illness called developer

Posted by on

I have been doing a fair bit of thinking lately about my life as a developer and how I got from if (someBool != false) { ... } to where I am today and also where I want to be in 5 years.

This got me thinking about some of the traits I have picked up during my career both good and bad. Some of these traits came about because I wanted to better myself, others because I didn't think I (or my work) was good enough.

Genius is madness with results.

Impostor Syndrome

The impostor syndrome is a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments. Despite external evidence of their competence, those with the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be. - The Wikipedia

This is the biggest one I've seen amongst developers (and people in general) Many developers have written about this

I like to look at imposter syndrome as a way to help push myself to be better but at the same time it can also make you aim lower than what you should be.

I remember posting this to facebook during my first week at Marker Metro. It was a feeling of both terror and excitement as it meant I was being challenged professionally and had some great developers to work with and help me learn.


I like to think everyone has some form of OCD whether its something as simple as setting the volume to only even numbers, making sure my pens always have their lids on or using matching pegs when hanging out the washing. (I do all of the above.)

Developers do this a lot for some its as simple as the difference between string and String, others are a little more talked about such as the use of var or semicolons. This is probably one of the main causes of refactoring or rewriting code with a combination of the next one.


Is that even a word?

I am never happy with my own work as a developer and am constantly scrapping projects and starting over. This is Perfectionism, sometimes referred to as "gold plating".

Take this blog post for example, I wrote 90% of this post 2 almost months ago and its just been sitting in draft for all this time because I didn't think it was "ready".

This can however be very bad for a developer because it means they delay shipping or in some cases never ship at all. I am currently working on a project where I have a single javascript file with over 1000 lines of code, it works perfectly fine but I am starting to get a feeling like I should rewrite it simply because its messy.

I don't know if any of you have these same traits or maybe some different ones but I would love to hear your thoughts on it.