How I recovered from imposter syndrome after changing career to software engineering.

Frances Maxwell
9 min readJan 20, 2021

This is my personal account of suffering with imposter syndrome, but seeing it through and coming out the other end.

I meet a lot of people who suffer with destructive thoughts and feelings. It distresses me to hear people criticise themselves and be full of doubt, knowing how paralysing and limiting this can be.

I’d hate for anyone to give up and leave the profession (or not even enter it) because of a psychological barrier — I’m sure it must happen. So, I thought I’d jot down my journey. I hope it might help somebody 🙏

A brief career history

A long time ago, I did a dual honours degree in Computer Science and Electronic Music at Keele University.

I did well enough — got my 2:1, and then went out into the world. I went round the houses a bit, and had the following jobs (in chronological order):

  • Working at an antique violin dealer (various responsibilities)
  • Developer & Producer at a startup — working on streaming TV services
  • Content Producer for a central government department
  • Product Manager for a magazine publisher
  • Managing User Experience Consultant at a digital agency
  • Lead User Experience Architect at a major telecoms provider
  • Various Service Design contracts

UX and Service Design was my passion for a good ten years. But, I felt like a change and realised that I had a burning desire to build things— and I could do that through software engineering.

The problem was, my degree was so long ago that my skills were out of date. So, I took a sabbatical and did a full-time software development bootcamp with Makers (which was incredible), and then tried to build things on the side whilst working in UX.

That didn’t work out too well (I just never managed to get traction), so after a couple of years, I took the plunge and fully transitioned to a software engineering role with Skyscanner.

Getting the job

Frances Maxwell

Glasgow-based humanist, with a love of all things digital.