Blog Featured Blogs AltConf 2016: The Udacity Fireside Chats

AltConf 2016: The Udacity Fireside Chats


Last week, the iOS Nanodegree Team—like pretty much anyone who has anything to do with iOS development—was busy! Some of us, like Kate Rotondo, attended the big Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, known as WWDC 2016. (For some great insights on the all-important Apple keynote, you can read Kate’s conference report here). Others on the team, myself included, opted for an “alternative.” Specifically, AltConf.

What is AltConf?

AltConf has traditionally been considered the “overflow conference” for those unable to attend WWDC. That reputation is changing fast however, and AltConf is rapidly becoming quite an event of its own. It is a free, community-supported conference that hosts dozens of speakers each year, and it is a great place for networking and meeting other developers. For the first time since it started in 2013, Apple has begun promoting the event and allowing AltConf to live stream WWDC 2106 sessions. Knowing in advance some of the amazing folks who were going to attend, we couldn’t resist the chance to join in the action!

AltConf 2016 Fireside Chats

We spent a great week at AltConf chatting with developers, asking questions, and learning about the community we love to serve. Thanks to our friends at the conference, we were also able to conduct a pretty remarkable series of fireside chats with several of the event’s speakers. As we listened to their stories, got their reactions to WWDC 2016 announcements, and elicited career advice about becoming—and succeeding as—iOS developers, we knew we were capturing something really special for our students.

Here is a full list of everyone we got to chat with:

Jaim Zuber – Owner and iOS Developer at Sharp Five Software, which is responsible for apps like BuzzFeed News and LiquidSpace

Mike Lee – Mobile Product Manager, with a strong history of success building teams and products in the Apple ecosystem

Gregory Raiz – CEO of Raizlabs, a large mobile apps shop with offices in SF and Boston, and a founding member of AltConf

Elvis Nunez – iOS Developer at Bakken & Bæck, and organizer of the design meetup Dribbbleriet

Virginia Roberts – Product Manager at Microsoft and MC for AppCampForGirls in Seattle

Jonah Neugass – Mobile Engineering Manager at Credit Karma

Kendall Gelner – Independent iOS Developer who has worked on apps like Ciao Muse

Ayaka Nonaka – iOS Developer at Workflow, with a keen interest in language processing and linguistics

Paulo Faria – Swift Developer with Zewo, an open source project making server software using Swift

Zev Eisenberg – iOS Developer at Raizlabs and creator of Padiddle

Questions & Answers

Knowing how fortunate we were to spend time with all these amazing people, we wanted to make sure we posed questions that would give rise to meaningful answers for our students. Here is just a sampling of the kinds of things we asked:

  • Can you tell us about your journey to where you are now as a developer?
  • What’s been the most difficult part of iOS development for you?
  • What is something you recently learned related to Swift or iOS development?
  • What specific skills make you different from other iOS engineers?
  • What are you thoughts about the open source community around Swift?
  • What excites you about Swift 3.0?
  • What do you wish you knew when you started?
  • Do you think that Swift is a good language for true beginners?
  • What are the core skills any Apple developer should have?

Watching the Chats

After having been on location all last week recording the fireside chats, we’re now busy in the editing room putting it all together for you to watch! You can expect to see all the chats online sometime in the next two to three weeks. Please bookmark our Medium publication, as that’s where we’ll post the video links when they’re ready. (We’ll update this post as well!)

Until then, we’ll borrow a favorite quote from our own Fernando Rodriguez (an iOS instructor in the iOS Developer Nanodegree program):

Code long and prosper!

post image: Fernando Rodriquez (iOS Developer Nanodegree program instructor), with Jonah Neugass, engineer at Credit Karma


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