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Eyal Estrin
Eyal Estrin

Posted on • Originally published at eyal-estrin.Medium

Fighting the imposter syndrome

I recently asked ChatGPT what is the definition of the term "Imposter Syndrome", and I have got the following answer:

Imposter syndrome refers to feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt that persist despite evident success and accomplishments. People experiencing imposter syndrome often attribute their achievements to luck or external factors rather than their abilities, and they may fear being exposed as a "fraud."

Many people suffer from imposter syndrome as part of their career journey, without even realizing it.

In this blog post, I will try to discuss types of imposter syndrome, my personal experience on the topic, and what each of you can do to overcome the feelings of being a fraud.

Basic types of imposter syndrome

Research by Dr. Valerie Young found five basic types of imposter syndrome:

  1. The Perfectionist - The Perfectionist subtype of imposter syndrome entails the belief that anything less than absolute perfection means you could have performed better.
  2. The Expert - The Expert subtype of imposter syndrome arises when individuals feel like imposters because they have not acquired complete knowledge of a specific subject or have not mastered every aspect of a process.
  3. The Natural Genius - In the Natural Genius subtype of imposter syndrome, individuals may experience feelings of fraudulence simply because they doubt their inherent intelligence or competence.
  4. The Soloist - The Soloist subtype of imposter syndrome can occur when individuals feel fraudulent for seeking assistance to achieve a particular level or status.
  5. The Super-person - The Super-person subtype of imposter syndrome entails believing that one must be the hardest worker and achieve the highest levels of success possible. Failure to do so can lead to feelings of being a fraud.

Personal feelings and beliefs

For many years I have struggled with this concept, without even knowing it is a real thing.

Officially I have been working in the technology industry since 1998, and gain a lot of experience in many fields – from infrastructure, cybersecurity, and for the past almost 10 years, cloud computing.

Regardless, of what I did in my career, and the experience I have, in the back of my mind, I always question myself – am I good enough?

For many years, I struggled with the idea of standing on stage and providing in-person lectures.

I did not have any problem having conversations with a small number of people, but standing on stage and talking was a huge blocker for me, since I was always afraid that someone would ask me a question, I did not have any answer to.

Even when I wanted to change the workplace and apply for a new job, when I received the question, how much do you want to earn, I struggled with this question since I did not want to ask for a lot of money, and one day my managers will figure out I have less knowledge or experience that I claim to have during the interview process.

Looking back at my study experience, I can admit that I was an average student at school. I was not able to complete an academic degree since I struggled with the materials, the assignments, and the exams, and I quit after a couple of courses.

On the other side, I was able to successfully pass top cybersecurity and cloud certifications such as CISSP, CCSP, CISA, CISM, and more, simply because I was able to connect with the materials of the study.

I am a huge fan of the written word, and I gained a lot of experience writing technical documents and blog posts on many topics, up to a level where I published two books called Cloud Security Handbook and Security for Cloud-Native Applications.

How to deal with imposter syndrome?

Although what I am about to say is not a step-by-step guide, I recommend you follow the recommendations below and take it to your personal life:

  • Acknowledge it – Realize the conversation of being a fraud stops you from fully expressing yourself and gaining achievements in life.
  • Stop and do a reality check – Whenever you feel something is holding you back, ask yourself – is it real? Is it a matter of life or death? Am I going to fail?
  • Share your feelings with your family, friends and even work colleagues. There are many things that we can resolve by simply being honest with the people around us.
  • Challenge self-doubt – There is no single person who has all the knowledge, not even in a specific field. It is ok to make mistakes, acknowledge them, and learn from experience.
  • Stop comparing yourself to others – Everyone has their cons and pros. Look for the things that make you happy, and follow your dreams, regardless of the time it will take to reach them.
  • Focus on others – Share your experience in any topic you feel expert or knowledgeable about, and support others in learning and gaining more experience of their own.
  • Celebrate success – Look at what you have achieved in your life and your career, and celebrate it, no matter if it is a small or big achievement.
  • Keep on learning – Dedicate time every week to learn something new, expand your knowledge, and do not forget to share it with others – People love to learn, even if it is from somebody else experience.


For many years I thought that my career would begin to decline once I was over 40. I was wrong – my career is only progressing. I get acknowledgment from people I do not even know in real life, for the knowledge I am sharing on social media and other platforms – both at work and outside it.

I dedicate a large portion of my life to learning new stuff and sharing knowledge through blog posts, writing books, providing Zoom lectures, and lately video recording with friends on YouTube, Spotify, and other platforms.

The fear of being an imposter will probably remain with me, but I refuse to let it stop advancing my career.

If you are reading this blog post, and begin to realize you might be suffering from an imposter syndrome in your career or in life, do not feel bad about it. Recognize it, share your feelings with people in your life, and be ready to act.


For a long time, I wanted to write this blog post and share my thoughts on the topic, but there were always other more urgent topics to write about.

I would personally like to thank Dr Milan Milanović and Taimur Ijlal, for sharing their thoughts on the topic and inspiring me to share my thoughts as well.

If you want to read more on the topic from an academic perspective, feel free to review the articles below:

About the Author

Eyal Estrin is a cloud and information security architect, and the author of the books Cloud Security Handbook, and Security for Cloud Native Applications, with more than 20 years in the IT industry.

You can connect with him on social media (

Opinions are his own and not the views of his employer.

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