How do you guys cope with being a junior dev and constantly receiving criticism about your work from your team leader?
I started working as a developer quite late: I did go to college in my early years but I was lazy at the time, so I didn't complete it. So I worked about ten years in a totally different industry, but I always wanted to go back to being a developer.
I've managed to do it when I was 34: I was a web developer in a small company and I was pretty much the only dev, except for an older dude who only knew Visual Basic 6 and kept programming things with it (in 2020ish!). In those years I always felt like a was way ahead of my colleague, and my efforts to apply best practices were not so welcome.
I eventually got tired of that situation, because I was feeling like wasting my time: I was already quite old and stuck in a jurassic environment
Then, I landed in a new company. Completely different environment: they use modern frameworks, TDD, static analysis, code reviews and stuff, and they do one to one meetings every two weeks. From the beginning, I felt like I was the dinosaur there: they were way ahead of me and I struggled to keep the pace. I immediately said that to my manager, but he was like "don't worry, it's just the start. I'm sure you will do great". Except I did not. I started collecting criticism about my work and I keep receiving it. When I tell my manager that constant criticism is not good for my self esteem, he replies "I can understand, but you have to manage it and I cannot avoid to correct you when you make mistakes". But it became really difficult for me to receive constant criticism, I very rarely have a compliment or a good word about what I do.
Is it just me? Should I finally grow up now that I am almost 40 and accept that working always sucks and you cannot be satisfied of what you do? Or am I simply a bad developer and should look for another job?
I am starting to get tired of this situation.

  • 2
    After reading this rant, I realize I am a dinosaur myself. But as your boss said, don't worry. You should accept as much constructive criticism as possible to know about your weaknesses and the room for improvement if any

    I am glad your boss is doing the right thing. Don't feel overwhelmed or don't let your ego get the best of you. I have received so many suggestions and insults from seniors and juniors alike throughout my career spanning 16 years of experience

    It is common for us to think that others are looking better than we do and doing better than what we do. You can't always be the best in everything. Just focus on your areas of interests and do your job for another 4 to 5 years minimum. This industry is for you
  • 2
    @asgs thanks for your words, at least I know I'm (maybe) not the worst dev on the planet.

    However, I really find difficult to keep up with all the criticism because I feel like I cannot get it together.

    Like I said, perhaps I just have to accept that I will always be criticized and the only reason is to thrive to get better.
  • 3
    @axxel be curious, learn things. Try to understand the "why" of the criticisms. This should help create a list of things to learn.
  • 3
    Great post. I really feel your problem.

    Good that you dare being honest with your manager. Many wouldn't dare admitting it.

    I will be brutally honest: you will keep getting corrected when you make mistake, there's some things in code devs cannot let slide.

    However the tone in which feedback is given can be improved vastly in some teams.

    There are some teams that are down right moronic and nasty about the way thry provide feedback.

    Worked with a sibling team that was infamous for being ridiculously harsh. Their code reviews were atrocious - they made nasty satiric remarks and slammed people for every little mistake in a very difficult codebase. Took 2-3 people crying and quitting before a boss has an intervention about them being too harsh, and since then they all changed.

    It can take a while though...

    Sometimes, sadly, the best thing to do is to switch jobs.

    Whenever I get a new job I'm amazed by how different the vibe can be.
  • 4
    And as an example of how things can be: after these incidents in my org - my team started actively trying to avoid making devs feel bad.

    In our code reviews we will not just hunt for errors - we make sure give positive feedback too, like " 👍 great refactoring, really made it more readable" and it really does boost morale.

    If we find someone is struggling with lots of negative comments in a PR make sure to do more pair programming - often helps to discuss things as code is written rather than adding a negative comment afterwards.
  • 2
    Others have given you excellent advice that I won't repeat.

    There's only one aspect I'd note.

    Please do not fall into the "senior is a dinosaur, he doesn't know modern stuff, ergo he is shit" mentality.

    A true engineer does not get lost in the details of the fad framework, best practice, or language of the month.

    Most of them will be irrelevant come a couple years.

    Focus on being able to reason about problems, without locking yourself into a single language/framework/methodology.

    The moment you do that, you'll notice juniors start calling you dinosaur, and you'll know you've come full circle :)
  • 1
    Even if i was a college graduate in 2017 and just starting out. I was criticised a lot and still criticised but i have developed a thick skin and learning new things. I have become better at coding too as compared to my old self.

    Criticism is part of the job i guess. You will never be satisfied so let it go and go with the flow.
  • 0
    Have you improved even a tiny bit since you joined? I agree that it's bad of your manager to not give you some praise but his criticism, as long as it's constructive, shows that he cares. Would you prefer he didn't say anything and then suddenly you got fired because of low performance? Unfortunately you need to cover for the lost years so you have to work harder than the youngsters. Fortunately you are more mature than them and you've picked up soft skills during your career that can help.
    I know it sucks to be the worst dev on your team. That was me in all of my teams. Those people you think are better than you? They've probably just been in the company longer and know the codebase better.
  • 1
    In my starting years, I have been yelled at, threatened, abused, collar-grabbed by my "seniors". I have cried way too many times than the acceptable amount, whether it's the quality of my work, when I come and leave the office or anyone ratting on me.

    Eventually, you do develop a thick skin, and u can predict what others will say when u submit ur code for review. You will know how everyone else codes and what they look for.

    But yeah, jumping ship is the best idea after 1 or 2 years because a toxic workplace is always a toxic workplace, from what it sounds like to me.
  • 0
    @Alexanderr I'm not gonna deny that I may be a little dark skinned, but man u are a fucking retard you ching-chonging bitch.
  • 1
    Write a list of what YOU have learned.

    I am sure that it is not short!

    YOU have grown.

    It feels like you are in a slightly toxic place. Remember, this won’t go away! You can’t change it. Noone can. No matter how hard anyone tries. So, my suggestion is that, if you are up for it, start looking for another workplace.
  • 1
    I wanted to upvote @Demolishun ‘s comment 500 times.

    I’m 15 years younger than you, and have led teams with people 15 years older than you. Focusing on the “why” of the criticism and figuring out “how” to resolve them is the best way forward. You can just ask, everyone will help.
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