Elegantly Receive Feedback As a Software Engineer

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Elegantly Receive Feedback As a Software Engineer

Maddy
·Dec 18, 2021·

3 min read

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If you work as a software engineer (or want to work as a software engineer), receiving feedback will be part of your job.

Receiving feedback from more experienced engineers is a wise approach to grow professionally and personally.

As engineers, we receive feedback in code reviews, performance reviews and probably during other occasions (such as during pair-programming sessions).

Generally speaking, I like to classify feedback as either positive or constructive feedback.

This article will break down the meaning of these types of feedback and the most elegant way to receive them.

POSITIVE FEEDBACK VS CONSTRUCTIVE FEEDBACK

Positive feedback is that type of feedback that makes you smile as soon as you hear it. It makes you feel great, accomplished and proud of yourself.

Positive feedback tells you about the actions that you're doing fantastic, and it's designed to encourage you to keep doing what you're already doing.

Instead, constructive feedback may unintentionally touch your feelings, which may inadvertently impact your emotions depending on how the person delivers the input.

This type of feedback is designed to make you realize some aspects of your performance that you may not realize the need to be addressed and improved.

Depending on how self-aware you are, this type of feedback can make you feel disappointed. From my point of view, experienced engineers have developed through the years an eye for detail that less experienced engineers don't have yet.

Often, they catch things we might not notice.

So, how can you elegantly receive feedback?

Separate yourself from your job

Separating yourself from your job helps with receiving and absorbing feedback elegantly.

We often hear that engineers need to code hours beyond our job to become more valuable. We need to code at work. We need to code outside of work, and we need to have code-related hobbies. Our identity should be all-around code.

In my opinion, we are more than our jobs and our careers.

Assuming that the person giving the input does so respectfully and with good intentions, the feedback we receive at work is not about us. It is about the work we do and the code we write.

When I receive constructive feedback, I remind myself that it is feedback about my work within the organization—nothing more and nothing less.

Avoid taking feedback personally

Software engineering is a team effort. Someone who refuses to improve can make the job challenging to carry out. And I want my team to be as successful as possible.

We all want to deliver good products, and we need everybody to be collaborative to achieve this goal.

When you avoid taking feedback personally, you allow yourself to absorb and embrace input more efficiently. It becomes effortless for you to act upon your feedback to improve.

Ask for more help

The person who gives you feedback most likely wants to help you. Try to ask them what you can do from a practical standpoint to improve.

Perhaps ask them to have a session with them to explain the XYZ topic or some resources to help you get better.

On top of this, every time you feel you have addressed an area that needs to improve, ask again for more help and feedback.

Be thankful for the feedback

Express your appreciation. Senior engineers give us feedback because they want us to grow.

I hope you've found this article helpful. It ended up being a "mindset" article.

Until next time! 👋🏾

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