try! Swift NYC 2017 - Experiences of an Attendee, a Speaker, and a Volunteer

Hello Everyone, Alvin here, I’m one of the try! Swift co-organizers. I thought it would be cool to share what try! Swift NYC 2017 was like from three different perspectives. Experiences of an Attendee, a Speaker, and a Volunteer. Let’s hear it from them.

Attendee - Andrew Rohn

Andrew is an iOS Engineer at Reddit. He also hosts the Inside iOS Dev podcast

try! Swift 2017 New York City was an invigorating swirl of community, learning, and fun. Throw in a magician, musical performances, and cupcake-based learning and you had the recipe for an unforgettable event. The conference featured iOS community celebrities like the author and Swift contributor Erica Sadun, author and speaker Ash Furrow, and Cocoa with Love writer Matt Gallagher. And topics ranged from application architecture, to the subtle power of Swift, to machine ethics, and more. In all, try! Swift 2017 New York City was a showcase of the magic that transpires when you throw together a diverse group of passionate people to geek out over Swift and iOS. The following is a recount of my experience as an attendee.

The colorful scenery and dancing crowds of New York City infused my body with a zest for new ideas and optimism. This was the perfect backdrop for the try! Swift conference. As I walked into the venue, I was greeted by an energetic crowd anxiously awaiting for the event to begin.

The series kicked off with James Dempsey’s ‘Flexible View Controller Interfaces with Swift 4’. At the end of his talk, James stood on stage, adorned a ukelele, and belted out a delightfully geeky parody of Don McLean’s American Pie with lyrics like “Bye, bye stable Swift ABI”.

Next, was a talk by Neem Serra that helped you harness the functional power of Swift. She deliciously illustrated every example using cupcakes. Thankfully, every speaker hosted office hours after their talk so that people could pick their brains more. I recorded a short interview with Neem where we talked about how she transitioned from biology into software and about functional programming.

From then on out, the show swam along for the next two days from the quirky, to the fascinating, to the chin massage inducing. Nataliya Patsovska gave a thoughtful talk on application architecture in iOS, Camille Fournier gave an inspiring talk about technical leadership, and Tanner Nelson showcased his powerful server-side Swift framework Vapor. And Paul Fenwick’s talk on machine ethics was arguably the most thought provoking and meaningful topic of the event. Paul explored the intersection of technology and humanity and its potentially troublesome side effects like technological unemployment.

All this happened in the context of a vibrant and diverse community of people. Just as interesting as the talks themselves were the conversations and new relationships that were formed between everyone. In the hallways, people troubleshooted their problems or commiserated on the pitfalls of software development. And the second night of the event was celebrated by heading out for drinks and bowling where I showcased my affinity for the gutter.

Thank you Natasha and the whole try! Swift team for hosting the event and bringing an incredible group together. I think you’re all doing an incredible job at elevating and educating the Swift and iOS communities.

Also check out Andrew’s podcast about try! Swift NYC 2017.

Speaker - Craig Clayton

Craig Clayton is a self-taught, Sr. iOS Engineer at Adept Mobile. He is the founder of, where he produces workshops and courses on iOS development.

The try! Swift 2017 Conference is a conference that is by far my favorite. The conference is unique in that it handpicks its speakers from diverse backgrounds. One might think that handpicking speakers is a bad thing, but this allows the conference to be uniquely different. Being picked to be a speaker at a conference is a tremendous honor whether you were handpicked, or a committee selected your talk. After attending try! Swift NYC for two straight years, I find it to be head and shoulders above all other conferences. My reason for this is simple. Diversity, A lot of conferences say they are diverse, but with try! Swift, you see it from the organizers, the speakers, and the attendees. I knew after the first day, last year that I wanted to speak at try! Swift one day. I was inspired because I saw speakers like me on stage. Diversity is something I feel is important for the tech community to grow. I hope more conferences make a strong effort to do the same. I have learned so much from different developers, speakers, and attendees from all diverse backgrounds. I would not change anything about my experience.

The other aspect I love about try! Swift is the quality and range of the talks. During the speaker dinner, all of the speakers were approachable and open to just talking about anything. I also found this to be the case with the attendees as well as many just wanted to learn and grow as developers.

As far as being a speaker, there are a few unique elements I have never experienced before at a conference. First, you must turn in your slides a couple of weeks before the actual conference, and the main reason for this is if your computer does not work correctly you have a backup. As someone who has a lot going on, I usually wait until the last minute, I was able to focus on tweaks instead of putting my slides together. Finally, try! Swift brings is a Q & A session after your talk. Some people do not use the time, but it is an excellent way to speak with others who are too afraid to ask in a large setting. In my case, I found people did not have questions, but they just wanted to talk and share their experiences with me. Times like these are invaluable, and I got a lot out of my Q & A with just a few people. I had a blast as a speaker, and I hope that I will one day get another invite to speak at try! Swift again. Overall, I would say being at this conference made me feel like I was supposed to be there.

Volunteer - Natalia Aranguren

Natalia is a full stack developer at @Teachable

This year’s try! Swift NYC was my very first time attending the conference. Being a programming polyglot, I’ve been to various different conferences for many languages such as Ruby, Go, and Javascript. I can honestly say that try! Swift was a great example of a conference organized with the utmost care and enthusiasm from its community. From the meticulously arranged schedule to the top tier selection of speakers and talks, the event was entertaining, inspiring, and stimulating from start to finish.

I’m no stranger to the iOS community’s enthusiasm for all things iOS, but this conference surprised me with the open-minded attitude conveyed in so many of the talks and discussions that followed them. Dialogue was not only allowed, but encouraged to such an extent that I think attendees, speakers, even organizers, walked away having learned something new.

On top of being my first try! Swift, it was also my first time volunteering at the conference. Volunteers arrived early on the first day to help set up and get the space ready and once again, this community’s enthusiasm and excitement really shined. We were all given a schedule with our duties as well as a partner to team up with. Everyone was eager to get to work, as well as very willing to help each other out.

Like any big organized event, there’s bound to be some bumps in the road, but the attentiveness and concern of everyone involved really kept things on track. Another thing that stood out to me was how most of the people volunteering came from diverse backgrounds and different stages in their careers, yet we could all relate and connect over iOS without missing a beat. Anyone interested learning and/or helping was welcome, regardless of skill or title.

My first experience attending and volunteering at try! Swift NYC was a very positive one. I saw a more approachable side of the community, a huge motivator especially for someone just starting out their iOS development career. Developers are really trying to join together to improve upon the principles and practices of their community during this new chapter with Swift. try! Swift is helping to create a great environment for this progress to continue, which will make for better code and in turn, better developers.

Thanks to all Volunteers, Speakers, Attendees, and amazing SPONSORS for making try! Swift NYC 2017 really awesome!

Don’t forget to check out try! Swift NYC Photos and Tweets.