I had a humbling experience yesterday.

I met a guy yesterday that started coding at age 12 and was producing payment systems for porn companies when all online communication happened over dial-up modems. Since then, he sold his company at age 20 and currently works for multiple other companies, heading a team of 12 distributed people. He is almost my age.

The guy was the type that thinks fast and talks faster, but one who is keen on learning and gets concepts pretty quickly. Even though he showed off, I don’t think he was trying to show off, more to talk about all the things that he’s been involved in and eager to have a conversation.

To me, the experience was great for the learning of a different life path as well as the technical details that we discussed. It was also very humbling. Whenever I meet someone like this, with a CS degree or not (yes, he was also entirely self-taught which is even more impressive), I immediately feel the impostor syndrome. How do I tell people that I prepare infrastructure for clients when this dev guy comes over and shows me a slightly more advanced version of what I’ve been doing for the past few weeks?

I always do this, measure myself against others that I meet, and even though I was taught to do it by my late grandfather, I realise that more and more it is something that has more negatives to me than positives. I must empathise with the person in front of me, learn from them but not idolise them, because there are parts of my life that are also better than theirs.