are you really aware of your knowledge ?

Ricardo Castelhano

head of engineering





Justin Kruger

David Dunning

"Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments"

(1999) Journal of Personality and Social Psychology

McArthur Wheeler (1995)

"(...) But I wore the juice."

People who have less knowledge of an actual subject think they know more than some of those more informed.

Dunning-Kruger Effect



Dunning-Kruger Effect

Incompetent individuals tend to overestimate their own level of skill.

Incompetent individuals fail to recognize genuine skill in others.

Incompetent individuals fail to recognize the extremity of their inadequacy.

If they can be trained to substantially improve their own skill level, these individuals can recognize and acknowledge their own previous lack of skill.

tactics for the win

Use as many measurable standards of performance as possible

Encourage debate to overcome divergence

Any team must have a true senior

People are unable to internalise their accomplishments. Despite external evidence, they are convinced they are frauds and do not deserve success.

Impostor Syndrome


Impostor Syndrome


what I think others know

what I know

My repertoire of keyboard shortcuts was relatively pathetic.

I was not fount of esoteric details of various programming languages.

I could not expound on the pros and cons of two competing technologies with religious fervor.

I did not try to implement algorithms in academic papers for fun.

I did not skip meals to code.

And surely the nail in the coffin was that I had not watched a single episode of Star Trek.

Alicia Liu

(head of engineering at NavaPBC)



what I


what others know

tactics for the win

Acknowledge the rate which technology is changing

Acknowledge programming consists of near constant failure

Accept positive feedback and do not attribute your success to luck

Keep a journal with your successes and failures

Embrace humbleness and accept successes as much as failures

Expose yourself totally

Seek mentors



are you (really) aware of your knowledge ?

By Ricardo Castelhano

are you (really) aware of your knowledge ?

Every software engineer lives between the range of Dunning-Kruger effect and Impostor Syndrome. I will illustrate this reality with my own personal story growing as a software engineer and a human.

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