A Guide to Feedback for New Developers

Receiving and providing feedback is a crucial aspect of professional growth, especially in the tech industry where continuous improvement is paramount. I feel that it may not be discussed often enough especially when it comes to entry-level or junior developers. To be clear I am not talking about performance reviews or even retros. I am referring to regular feedback about performance and attitude at work.

Now I know that probably triggers a lot of anxiety in people and for good reason, feedback often comes in the forms of what you did wrong and what you need to work on, and hearing that regularly can be mentally and emotionally draining. However, feedback can also come in the form of praise and encouragement. While not an expert on the matter, I made a guide for new developers on how to approach feedback about their work and performance, along with tips for those providing feedback to ensure it’s constructive and well-received.

Tips for New Developers

Reframe feedback as coaching.

First and foremost, shift your mindset to view feedback as coaching rather than an indictment of your abilities. Feedback is not an attack on your character or worth but an opportunity to refine your skills and gain new insights.

Be proactive and specific.

Make feedback less intimidating by asking for it proactively instead of waiting for someone to approach you. This approach puts you in control and fosters a more open and constructive dialogue. When seeking feedback, specify the areas you want input on, such as, “I’d appreciate feedback on my last code review, particularly concerning the testing strategies I employed.”

Leverage feedback for growth.

Use feedback sessions to advocate for learning opportunities in new areas, such as front-end development or database management. This demonstrates your eagerness to learn and can open doors to new responsibilities and projects.

Tips for Giving Feedback

Be constructive, not critical.

When giving feedback to junior developers, aim to help them improve rather than venting frustrations. Constructive feedback is balanced and fosters development, whereas criticism can be demoralizing.

Provide specific examples.

Use specific examples to illustrate your points. Instead of abstract feedback, show what went wrong in a particular instance and provide concrete examples of how it could be done better. Providing feedback in this way makes it actionable and easier to implement.

Use the “feedback sandwich.”

Something a team member shared with me is the “feedback sandwich” method: begin with something positive, address the area needing improvement, and conclude with another positive comment. This technique helps soften the impact of negative feedback and maintains a supportive tone.

For example:

  1. Positive: “I noticed that you’ve been really diligent about following coding standards, which is fantastic.”
  2. Constructive: “However, in your last commit, there were issues with database queries causing performance lags. Consider optimizing those queries for larger data sets.”
  3. Positive: “Overall, your problem-solving approach is strong, and I can see you’re making great progress.”


While there is definitely more nuance to it, I think that the following guidelines are a great start to ensure that both new developers and those providing feedback create a positive, productive, and less intimidating feedback culture. Happy coding and continuous improvement!


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