How to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love Your Inner Impostor

by Christa M. Miller

It’s pretty much impossible to work in a small, niche community like DFIR and not eventually rub elbows with a rock star. You go to a conference and get to talking with someone, and you don’t even realize until 20 minutes later — when, inspired by the conversation, you finally ask for a business card — that you’ve been talking to Sarah Edwards, David Cowen, Alissa Torres, Rob Lee, Cindy Murphy, Eric Zimmerman, Heather Mahalik, or any other Big Name that you’ve always wanted to meet but been too intimidated to work up the nerve to approach.*

You immediately die of embarrassment, melting into a puddle of self-loathing. How could you have missed whom you were talking to? Like the awkward kid in the lunchroom longing to ask the most popular kid in school on a date, you’ve admired your heroes from afar, convinced you have no business talking to them:

– You’re not experienced enough.
– You’ve never testified on a major case or responded to a news-making data breach.
– Your code resembles command-line chicken-scratch, copied directly from Stack Overflow.

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