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5 questions Junior Developers should ask during code reviews to learn more (and suffer less)

Junior developers hate mandatory code reviews.

Between the nitpicking from your more senior peers, the lack of actionable feedback, and the list of inexplicable (but necessary) todos, there’s not much to like. It’s not that junior developers don’t see the value in code reviews. The format and structure is typically misaligned with the needs of the junior developer.

But junior devs don’t need to tolerate this misalignment.

Code reviews are only as painful as you allow them to be

If you’re frustrated with code reviews, it’s probably because you’re following someone else’s format.

When you let someone else dictate the process of reviewing your work, you’re subject to their wants and needs. But if we flip that around, and come prepared with an agenda, now the code review is about US not THEM. And I know what you’re thinking, “but we have a process for code reviews and I can’t change it!”

But you can still follow the defined process, you’re just making some additions.

Come prepared with an agenda to make the best of your next code review

With a little upfront prep work on your part, you can make your next code review helpful instead of painful.

In addition to the standard code review procedure you already have, prepare an agenda with the following questions:

  1. On an aspect that went well – “Will you help me understand how I could have made this even better?”
  2. On any issues that you found – “Will you help me understand how I could have identified these earlier?”
  3. On something you found confusing – “Will you suggest some resources that do a good job explaining this?”
  4. On a decision you are unsure of – “Will you tell me how you would have approached picking A or B here?”
  5. On any suggested changes – “Will you help me understand why that is a better approach?”

By taking a more active role in your next code review, you’ll learn more, avoid repeated mistakes, and start finding opportunities to advance your career.