I've been working in the software industry for around 7 years with above average skills. I have worked on many smaller projects, contributing at every layer end to end.

I was asked to work on the low level database design for a small application all by myself with the help of requirement specification documents. I received a lot of design review comments and the feedback I received was not good. Some of the mistakes were at design level and some of them were, well, very silly. I had my entire team including junior and senior members in the review meeting and it was a big show down.

I was embarrassed. I could not believe that I made those mistakes after the review was finished. I'm beginning to doubt my software skills and now it feels like I have lost the respect as a senior member in the team.

How do I undo this fiasco and regain the confidence of my team mates on me going further?

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    Wouldn't worry for one mistake, everybody does them. I doubt that one mistake can hurt the confidence, what makes you think it did? What matter is how you react to it, and if you pro actively try to fix it or not. – DarkCygnus Feb 28 '18 at 19:01
  • @ DarkCygnus Even before I could make amends to the design, this task was reassigned to another person in the team. Lack of confidence of my leads and seniors is causing me to loose my own confidence at work everyday. – fellow-dev Feb 28 '18 at 19:12
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    don't be too tough on yourself. It was one mistake, versus 7 years in the industry. If they reassigned it surely was because it is a critical task, and now needed more hands on it. I suggest you talk to your manager to see if there is anything you can help with, but I wouldn't say that this means you are not to be trusted anymore... – DarkCygnus Feb 28 '18 at 19:15
  • Ah, sorry... "above average skills" - ok, you claim, but... " some of them were, well, very silly.". So, you claim above average skills but make a number of very very silly mistakes. See the problem? I am a master chef - except the food I make is burned and tastes like sh**. No, not a master chef. – TomTom Mar 2 '18 at 8:53

How do I undo this fiasco and regain the confidence of my team mates on me going further?

Please remind yourself that the review meeting is there to prevent these mistakes from happening early on during development. The best way to recover from this is to learn from your mistakes and prevent repeating them in the future.

As DarkCygnus states:

Don't be too tough on yourself. It was one mistake, versus 7 years in the industry.


We all suffer from Imposter Syndrome from time to time because of a mistake that we have done or a lack of specific knowledge that we might have. It's not unusual to make mistakes and mistakes can be good. If you learn from them and do better next time, a mistake can be worth the initial embarrassment.

I wouldn't worry about the confidence of your teammates. This one thing won't color their whole opinion of you. It might actually work in your favor. They could think "Hey, he's not perfect either!" and possibly think better of you. Because I'm sure that everyone else on your team has made mistakes too. And they won't hold it against you because I'm sure they wouldn't want you to hold their mistakes against them.

I have the same experience as you and I make mistakes all the time. I've also been around even more senior people than you and I and know of tons of mistakes they have made - everyone does it once in a while!

  • OP claims they have "above average skills" so I don't think Impostor Syndrome is an issue. – red_squiggly_line Feb 28 '18 at 21:38
  • While it may be hard to believe, you CAN think that you have "above average skills" one day... and not know enough about anything another. – Barry Franklin Mar 1 '18 at 12:27

They say recognizing you have a problem is the first step in solving it, so start solving the problems. Be diligent about addressing each issue. Over document this part of the project.

Start doing some research and if there is anything you slightly suspect you do not understand, ask for help. This shows you care enough to ask for help. You never know, allowing someone to teach something to you will help them fully understand how it works.

Next time you have a new project (especially in an area you're not familiar with), arrange for some intermediate review of your design/code instead of waiting to show it to everyone in some big meeting. Others will ask you to do the same for them if they're smart. If someone would have prompted you with just one problem, it may have lead you do discovering many of the others yourself.

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