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Day in the Life

A Day in the Life: Varell Hawkins

Varell Hawkins Engineering

Ever wonder what it’s like to work at Tandem? In this series, we’re taking a peek into the everyday life of Tandem’s product designers and software engineers.


I usually wake up between 6:30 and 7:30 am every weekday. I get out of bed, drink a cup of water, and read for 10 to 15 mins. Afterwards, I enjoy breakfast and check my phone to look at the day’s schedule.

9 a.m.

I log onto my computer by 9 am. I load Slack, organize my browser tabs, and start Docker desktop.

Now that I am all set up, I start a huddle (Slack’s call tool) to kick off a pairing session and help onboard a new member onto my project.

We’ve been troubleshooting many issues to set them up on an M1 Mac. They are the first person to have an M1 Mac on the team and there are many things we are learning along the way. Today, we have successfully completed the setup and our application is running on their M1 Mac computer!

10 a.m.

Wow, it’s already 10:00 am. We end the pairing session and I hop into our company’s daily standup which we call, Lightning Round. This is my second meeting of the day; it allows me to review my plans for the day and hear about the cool things my peers are doing.

Today I was chosen by our Slack bot to start the call. However, I was the only one who did not notice 😁because I was busy taking notes from the previous pairing session. With a little nudge from a coworker, I start the call and pass it to the next person to share what they’re up to.

10 minutes later we all wave goodbye and end the call.

At 10:30 am, I have a virtual coffee chat with some peers who I haven’t caught up with in a while. Before joining, I make a bowl of yogurt with nuts and banana, refill my water cup, and join the coffee chat. These chats are interesting because they are light-hearted and you never know what you will talk about on a given day.


By noon, I’ve completed my team sync, the daily internal standup specifically for my project. We usually discuss timelines and flag items that we need to discuss before presenting to our client today.

Today has been a sprint of meetings, so I take a break after this meeting to grab more water and step away from my computer.

I’m back at 12:20 pm. I am ready to code again and prepare for the next pairing session.

1 p.m.

At 1 pm, it is time for my client meeting. We update the client on what we are doing and they let us know of any priority changes or issues experienced with the current app version. Today, everything went smoothly so we had a short meeting. Other times, we screen share to discuss issues or work them out with the client.

3 p.m.

I finish my last pairing session around 3 pm. I worked for about thirty minutes on my own and now I’m hungry. Lunch break. Today I’m having a chicken salad sandwich, vegetable chips, and trail mix. I’ll also have some juice to take a break from water.

4:30 pm

It’s 4:30 pm and I’m back to finish the day. I’m reviewing code from the earlier pairing sessions, making notes for any changes, and committing it. Now that I’ve pushed the latest code to share it with my team, I’m finishing this blog post!

After Work

Today my eyes feel strained from intensely staring at monitors all day. I’m rushing outside to rest my eyes, get fresh air, and a little sunshine. When I come back in, I’ll prepare dinner, watch YouTube videos, and read about anything that interests me.

Today was an average day. I typically have meetings throughout the day, and the days I don’t are filled with pairing sessions. I appreciate the 2 hours I get at the end of the day as solo time thanks to time zone differences.

Do you want to work with Varell and the rest of the Tandem team? Check out our Careers page to apply for our open positions!

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We do our best work in close collaboration with our clients. Let’s find some time for you to chat with a member of our team.

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