Guide to Software Engineering for Visually Impaired
By Abrar Sheikh

We will look into a day in the life of a Software Engineer with limited vision to Understand their difficulties at work and how they can overcome those difficulties to become successful in their role.

Sunday 2:05 p.m.–2:35 p.m.


I am a backend Software Engineer at Yelp who uses Python extensively for building Yelps infrastructure and internal tools. I also suffer from a genetic disorder called Albinism which often results in limited visual acuity that can range from 20/120 to 20/200 in most common cases. With such a low vision it's extremely difficult to read the computer screen without the use of on-screen magnifiers. In this talk, we will see how a person with adverse visual acuity can thrive and be successful in the field of Software Engineering. We will address the importance and meaning of accessibility for Software Engineers with partial vision and recommend some best practices that are available today. We will also talk about the importance of an inclusive work culture that can help foster creativity and ease ramp up for a Software Engineer with a disability.

Structure of this talk

  1. Define low vision
  2. Demographics of low vision
  3. Educational challenges and strategies for overcoming
  4. Classroom accessibility
  5. Access to reading material
  6. Access to technology: philosophy behind using an on-screen magnifier and demo
  7. Professional challenges and strategies for overcoming
  8. Getting Hired
  9. Community and peer support
  10. A live demo showcasing how someone with low vision codes

Key takeaways

  1. Strong practical understanding of what low vision means in real life.
  2. Simple and pragmatic strategies to overcome fundamental limitations that a person with low vision faces in a typical career path in software engineering.
  3. Ways in which the tech community can support individuals with low vision to be successful and efficient.

Abrar Sheikh

Passionate Backend Engineer Data Engineer working at Yelp.