Stop Undervaluing Yourself

TL;DR - Almost all interviews suck, don’t undervalue yourself because your interviews aren’t going that great.

I had a talk with one of the women in my programming group last night. She has a masters in CS, almost 2 years of work experience, and was still referring to herself as a junior developer. I spent about 30 minutes just repeating to her that she was not junior, just a regular developer… who does have experience! And education!

What prompted this total downturn in self-confidence? Interviews. Unless you are at the top of your game (in that case, good for you!), programming interviews are some of the most stressful things ever. More so than most other jobs, a rejection usually ends up sounding like they just don’t think you are smart enough, versus not a good fit. During my last round of interviews, right before I got a job, I had a bad run and starting feeling like I was in the wrong industry, stupid, and that no one would ever hire me again. On a normal day? Almost never feel like that. But both times I’ve done extensive interviewing, that is always the end result.

Why do I bring this up? Because if you are interviewing right now, don’t let the interviewers get you down. It’s not your intelligence or talent that they are rejecting. No one can really get to know you during an interview. At some point, you’ll go into an interview and they will ask only questions you can answer (or can figure out eventually) and that will be the place that is a good fit for you. Not the place that asks you weird logic puzzles until you are so mentally exhausted you can only babble on about how ‘code is nice’. Interviews aren’t just for the company… you are interviewing them. If the interview is super stressful, then it’s probably not the right place for you… but you will find that right place!