An imposter figure

Is every Finnish developer an impostor?

Erno Soihtu, 02/01/2019

If there is something I have picked up working with Finnish developers is that they are often very humble folk. Though they are professionals in their field with a lot of expertise, they can act like they have not typed out a single line of code.

By the way, hello. I am almost one-of-a-kind here at Punos as I am not a developer. Instead, my fancy title is “Marketing Coordinator”. My name is Erno. Nice to meet you!

Still, titles can be misleading: though I help with marketing work at Punos, the actual marketers are our developers. It’s them that are the face of the company in practice. Developing is work about human encounters, after all.

The humbleness I mentioned earlier can be partly explained by something called the Impostor Syndrome. Basically, it means that you think you cheated your way through education and projects while actually not knowing anything about what you do, hence the name. Does this sound familiar?

The Punosians, however, think in a very business-oriented way. From the job interview onwards, we make sure that everyone is on the same page about us solving people problems with the tool that is coding. This is an important skill since our developers are typically in the limelight position in customer projects.

This means that when we start a new project together with the customer, our developers will first discuss and also challenge our customers’ ideas for improving the bottom line. We understand that the real challenge is never on the technological side of things but rather how to solve the issue our customer is facing regarding their business.

To talk about the interesting problem of overt humbleness in regards to the development community in general, I made a Punos Talk presentation about how to act like a professional. Basically, it was a presentation about presentations: I called it a Metapresentation.

So, how do you behave like a professional, then? Well, it all comes down to feelings. Personally, I wish they taught about this stuff in elementary school, that is how important it is. Not just for marketing, but your well-being in general. It’s about understanding yourself as a physical creature. That might sound confusing now, but let me elaborate.

Ever had a presenter talk really fast, as if haphazardly trying to get to the end? Most likely this is because of adrenaline in their body caused by nervousness. One of the many examples of our bodies reacting to our feelings. What this means that feelings are very concrete, physical experiences. Of course, I am only scratching the surface of an extremely large concept here. But it’s important to at least start the conversation about the matter.

In Finland, unfortunately, there is a culture of not talking about one’s feelings. Oftentimes this holds doubly true if you are a male, as currently, most developers are. But confidence is not about hiding who you are, it’s about showing it. Marketing, to me, is the art of expressing yourself. A professional is someone who can admit to themselves that they are nervous. Someone who can tell the client that they do not know the answer, yet they will ask from their colleagues and get back to them asap. My belief is that true confidence and professionality stems accepting yourself as a being with a wide variety of different emotions, thoughts, and shortcomings.