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Tyler Hawkins
Tyler Hawkins

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I’m Tyler Hawkins — Software Engineer, Accessibility Advocate, Musician. Ask Me Anything!

Hey there!

I'm Tyler Hawkins — Senior Software Engineer at Adobe.

I joined @saron on this week’s episode of the CodeNewbie Podcast. Check it out and enjoy!

I’d love to answer any questions you might have about my work as a developer, the dev quirks we talked about on the show, or anything else that pops into your mind.

Here are a few facts about me to get things rolling:

  • I’m passionate about web accessibility, clean code, and building healthy engineering cultures
  • I’m a self-taught frontend engineer
  • When I’m not coding, I enjoy playing drums, reading, writing, and spending time with my wife and two kids

Ask me anything (AMA) in the comments below!

Discussion (11)

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michaeltharrington profile image
Michael Tharrington

What is one of the most commonly missed opportunities you've seen that a web dev can make use of to improve website accessibility? Also, if you could give other devs a list of top 3 pointers to think of when working on web accessibility, what would you list?

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thawkin3 profile image
Tyler Hawkins Ask Me Anything • Edited on

The biggest missed opportunity I've seen is when developers fail to use correct semantic HTML elements. If you have a button in your UI, use the <button> element! All too often we see people attaching click handlers to <span> and <div> elements or overriding the href attribute on an <a> link. When you use the correct semantic elements, you get a whole bunch of accessibility features built right in by default.

For other pointers:

  1. Learn the standards found in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)
  2. Learn how to use a screen reader like VoiceOver or NVDA
  3. Use tools like the axe Chrome extension to audit your app and identify simple a11y violations and easy fixes
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michaeltharrington profile image
Michael Tharrington

Thanks so much for this thorough reply and apologies for this delayed response. Really appreciate you sharing this advice — the missed <button> mistake def sounds like a missed opportunity!

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ellativity profile image
Ella (she/her/elle)

Hey Taylor, so excited to meet you! What was it like being in the Foo Fighters?

Does anyone ever confuse you with that more famous and prolific software engineer Tyler Hawkins?

What do you think the 2 most stand-out books Tyler has read recently are? Asking for a friend.

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thawkin3 profile image
Tyler Hawkins Ask Me Anything

Haha I love being confused with Taylor Hawkins. He's a much cooler person than I am!

My two favorite latest books... that's a tough one! I have too many favorites at the moment, so I'll go with the two books that I'm currently reading:

Being Wrong by Kathryn Schulz - Such a good book! It's all about exploring the nature of wrongness, the psychology and philosophy of error, the tough questions like "what is truth and how can we know it", and how we can react better when we are wrong about things.

Working Effectively with Legacy Code by Michael Feathers - This one is a software engineering book that's right up there with Clean Code and Refactoring. As the name implies, it gives a bunch of advice on how you can be effective when working on a codebase full of ancient code from 10 years ago that nobody understands. This kind of code is likely poorly documented and not well tested, but you're stuck working with it. It's been super helpful, as this is the kind of stuff that probably 99% of software engineers have to deal with on a daily basis!

Other honorable mentions would be:

  • Essentialism by Greg McKeown
  • The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
  • Weapons of Math Destruction by Cathy O'Neil
  • The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande
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ellativity profile image
Ella (she/her/elle)

Haha I love being confused with Taylor Hawkins. He's a much cooler person than I am!

Can't say I'm confident I'd have gotten such a great book list out of Taylor Hawkins... no shade, I can't say I'm confident I'd have gotten such a great book list out of most people, this one is fantastic! Thank you for sharing, and for making both books sound compelling!

If you liked Weapons of Math Destruction, did you also read Twitter and Tear Gas by Zeynap Tufekci?

(Since new books can be outside of some people's budgets, Zeynap negotiated with her publisher for a Creative Commons version in case anyone wants to check it out without spending 💛)

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thawkin3 profile image
Tyler Hawkins Ask Me Anything

I haven't read Twitter and Tear Gas, but it sounds like I'll need to check it out! The subject and synopsis on the site looks really interesting.

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gracie profile image
Gracie Gregory (she/her)

Hi @thawkin3 ! That's awesome that you are a drummer. I'm wondering if you find that drumming helps you at all in your coding career — or vice-versa :)

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thawkin3 profile image
Tyler Hawkins Ask Me Anything

Drumming is definitely a nice break when I need to step away from a problem for a minute! I've been working from home for the last year due to COVID-19, and I have my electronic drum set right next to my desk.

There's the old trick that if you feel stuck, you should go for a walk for 5 minutes are just do something to clear your head. Your brain can work on the problem in the background, and when you come back to your desk, you may have a fresh new "aha" moment or insight on what to do next. So drumming for a couple minutes is perfect for that!

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Gracie Gregory (she/her)

Great advice!

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jyotiprakashrout profile image
Jyoti-prakash-rout

Hey, Tyler!
Could you please share your LinkedIn profile link with me? I want to connect with you 😊