Python Training by Dan Bader

Should you worry about code reviewing someone more experienced than you?

Doing your first code review for something written by a senior member of your team is scary. As a novice programmer it’s easy to think that only beginning or intermediate developers struggle with this.

I still remember being afraid to say something obvious or stupid to someone senior to me in the code reviews I did early in my career.

Often I’d resort to safe statements like “we should add a few more comments” because I lacked confidence in my skill as a code reviewer.

So, is this something worth worrying about?

Let me start out by saying that this is actually a very common situation. You are not alone because it isn’t just novice programmers who struggle with this.

If you want to grow as a software engineer this feeling of inadequacy is something you’ll need to face (and learn to overcome!) again and again.

Here’s why: Expertise is relative.

Even as a developer experienced with a particular framework or language the time will come where you join another team to work on a different project. Then you’ll be the most inexperienced developer in regard to that project’s code base. At least for a while.

Even as a seasoned engineer or team lead you might occasionally worry about leaving clueless comments in a code review. Will you look bad to your peers? Are you going to “lose your authority” in front of a junior team member?

The only way to do it

If you want to grow your skills and experience as a developer that’s just the nature of the game. Seek out these situations! You’ll get better at dealing with them as you become more confident. This is the only way to grow.

Now where does that leave us… Should you worry about code reviewing someone more experienced than you? No, you shouldn’t. But it’s normal 😃.

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This article was filed under: code-review, craftsmanship, and programming.

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