As a programmer, you’re probably used to getting real-time feedback on every line of code that you write — a program either runs or it doesn’t. But when it comes to a completed project that you’ve coded (for a portfolio or just for fun), it can be tough to find folks who can give you holistic advice or recommendations.
Receiving feedback from other people is how you improve the quality of your code and ultimately become a better developer. With another dev’s perspective and suggestions, you might discover a technique or workaround that you hadn’t considered, identify a bug to fix, or spark an idea that’ll make your project more effective.
While it’s a bit intimidating to put your code out there for people to judge, feedback is really just information that you can use to grow. Most of the time, people want to help you improve, not tear you down — so try to take the notes with a growth mindset and a grain of salt.
Also, keep in mind that you’ll receive positive feedback and compliments about your project, too. Don’t forget to file those kudos away for the next time you need motivation to keep learning and improving. Here are some ideas for different ways to seek feedback on your next coding project.
Get your project on GitHub
GitHub is a collaborative code-hosting platform that’s designed for developers to share code and work on projects together. When you post a project on GitHub, you’re sharing the code and any other files and materials needed for a project. From there, other GitHub users can review your code, find bugs, or suggest changes. There’s a strong social element to GitHub, so be prepared to discuss the ins and outs of your project with other developers.
When Codecademy Software Engineer II Joseph Gollapalli was first learning how to code, he started contributing to an open-source game server on GitHub in his spare time. Working with a community of maintainers around the world introduced him to concepts that are now a regular part of professional development, like code reviews and unit tests. “The project taught me how to collaborate with people and introduced me to new concepts, and had a giant impact on my career,” he says. (And he still keeps in touch with programmers from the project to this day!)
If you haven’t used GitHub before, start with our course Learn Git & GitHub. We’ll walk you through the GitHub workflow and how to start getting involved with the GitHub community. Then check out this blog for a guide to the GitHub lingo you’ll come across when you start contributing to projects.
Share your project with our community
There are lots of different ways you can solicit feedback from other people in the Codecademy community. In the Codecademy forums, there’s a section where you can discuss your personal projects or ones that you make in our courses and paths. It’s a safe space where you can ask questions when you get stuck, ask folks to review your code for feedback, and help other devs out with their projects. (Here are some more best practices to follow when you’re using our forums.)
You can also submit your work to be featured in our learner project showcase. Each month, our curriculum team will review the coding projects created by learners like you, and choose the standout projects to highlight on our website and share with our community. It’s an awesome opportunity to get your best work noticed — and beef up your resume while you’re at it.
Explore meetups and hackathons
Attending local meetups or participating in hackathons are great ways to network with other devs and work jointly on projects. For example, Kailie Arbeau, a WordPress Developer living in a small town in New Brunswick, Canada, found local coding nights where other people working in tech would meet up and present what they’re working on. “Coding is such an individual thing, because you’re on your laptop alone,” she says. “But it can also bring people together.”
Not sure where to find coding communities? There are Codecademy chapters all around the world, where learners can get together to share projects and ideas, study together, or team up to solve coding challenges. Check out the upcoming meetups to get involved.
You can also see if there are hackathons in your area that you can participate in to get experience working on team-based coding challenges or projects. Websites like Major League Hacking and Devpost can help you find hackathons to join.
Post about your work online
Beyond our Codecademy-specific communities, there are tons of online forums where you can share your work with the public, like the popular Q&A platform Stack Overflow or the subreddit r/learnprogramming.
Quick tip: Ask for specific feedback, rather than inviting open-ended opinions or vague critique. For example, you could ask: “Is there a more efficient way to query this data?” or “How do I include images on this site?”
Shoot your shot, and reach out to a developer or peer asking if they have the bandwidth to review your project. The worst thing they can do is say “no,” and then refer you to someone else who is available to look over your project. More often than not, people are willing to pay it forward and give advice or input to aspiring developers.
If your end goal is to get a job in tech, you’ll need experience collaborating with other developers on projects. A standard part of working as a developer is conducting code reviews, where you look over another team member’s code for critiques, possible improvements, and outstanding questions.
Sharing your projects and seeking input from folks in the tech community is a proactive way to start establishing your presence and creating a network. Down the line, those connections and relationships could lead to job opportunities.