Impostor Syndrome leaves most tech workers feeling like a fake

A new informal study shows that 58 percent of tech employees from companies like Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft feel like frauds.

Bonnie Burton profile photo
Bonnie Burton profile photo
Bonnie Burton
Journalist Bonnie Burton writes about movies, TV shows, comics, science and robots. She is the author of the books Live or Die: Survival Hacks, Wizarding World: Movie Magic Amazing Artifacts, The Star Wars Craft Book, Girls Against Girls, Draw Star Wars, Planets in Peril and more! E-mail Bonnie.
Bonnie Burton
2 min read
James Martin/CNET

Feeling like a hack is more common than you might think. In fact, 58 percent of people with technology-focused careers suffer from Impostor Syndrome, according to a new informal study from workplace social media site Blind.

Impostor Syndrome was first defined in 1978 by psychologists Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes as a feeling of "phoniness in people who believe they are not intelligent, capable or creative despite evidence of high achievement." 

Enlarge Image

Looks like Google is the social media company with the lowest percentage of employees who suffer from Impostor Syndrome, according to Blind.


In 1978, the two psychologists studied 150 highly successful women who, despite degrees, scholastic honors, high scores on standardized tests and professional recognition from colleagues and respected authorities, considered themselves to be impostors.

A more recent study in 2011 published in the International Journal of Behavioral Science found that an estimated 70 percent of people experience impostor syndrome at one point in their lives.

The anonymous workplace social network Blind conducted a survey to determine how many of the site's users grapple with intense feelings of insecurity in tech fields.

Blind's user base includes 44,000 Microsoft employees, 29,000 from Amazon , 11,000 from Google, 8,000 from Uber, 7,000 from Facebook , and 6,000 from Apple , just to name a few.

From Aug. 27, 2018 through Sept. 5, 2018, Blind asked its users one question in a survey -- "Do you suffer from Impostor Syndrome?" A total of 10,402 users on Blind responded.

Blind found that 57.55 percent surveyed experienced Impostor Syndrome.

Seventy-two percent of Expedia employees say they experienced Impostor Syndrome, the highest among companies with at least 100 employee responses.

On the lower end of the spectrum, only 44.45 percent of Apple employees experienced impostor syndrome. This is the lowest among companies with at least 100 employee responses.

Culture: Your hub for everything from film and television to music, comics, toys and sports. 

Solving for XX: The tech industry seeks to overcome outdated ideas about "women in tech."