Learn more Swift and meet new friends at the same time.
Our community has a huge number of awesome conferences around the world, so regardless of where you live there's usually a conference nearby. Of course, there are also many conferences far away too, so if you want to combine learning Swift with some sightseeing it's a double win!
I've had the privilege of attending so many events around the world, so each year I draw up a list of conferences I can personally vouch for – events where I know folks are welcomed regardless of their background, where you can expect high-quality speakers, and where there are lots of good opportunities for networking and making friends.
Below is my list for 2020, and I have included dates below where they have been announced. Where 2020 editions haven’t been announced yet, I’ve included last year’s month with a question mark.
January 15th-18th, Singapore (Link)
This event always starts our year off with a bang, and is the largest iOS conference in south-east Asia. This year it now runs across two workshop days plus two days of sessions, and the speaker line-up already includes Dave Verwer, Ellen Shapiro, Meng To, and more. Last year I was really impressed by the huge range of attendees – many were from Singapore and Malaysia, of course, but also from Indonesia, Japan, Australia, and beyond; it's a massive mix.
February 3rd, Paris, France (Link)
dotSwift has a long-standing tradition of events in astonishing venues, tight time slots for speakers, and a complete ban on electronics in the audience. The result is something quite remarkable: given just 18 minutes to speak everyone on stage has honed their talk to the best it can be, so rather than chatting on Slack the audience is fully focused on learning. It sounds odd at first, but trust me: it works.
February 20th-21st, Cluj Napoca, Romania (Link)
Returning for the seventh year in a row, MobOS is the largest and most important iOS conference in Romania. This is a mixed-platform event, meaning that there are iOS and Android tracks running in parallel, and last year this gave a truly memorable moment as the announcers had to ask the iOS and Android attendees to switch rooms because the iOS group was too big to fit!
March 10th-13th, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (Link)
Appdevcon is the largest mobile event in the Netherlands, and as it's at the center of Europe it attracts folks from across the EU and beyond. Last year they moved to a new venue, but the concept is the same: huge cinema screens for presenters, and comfortable seats for the audience. The talks here are usually both technical and practical, but there's also a parallel design track if you want something a little different.
March 18th-20th, Tokyo, Japan (Link)
Believe it or not, try! Swift Tokyo might be the largest independent iOS event in the world – their attendee numbers have skyrocketed in recent years, which is no surprise when you look at the consistently high-quality speaker line up, the extraordinary attention to organizational detail, and their long-standing commitment to building a warm and welcoming atmosphere for everyone. Highly recommended, and not just because it’s one of the coolest cities in the world!
April 28th-29th, London, UK (Link)
CodeMobile moves its venue to London this year, and as a result has a lot of room to expand its proven format. They have always had a very community-driven appeal, and hopefully that won’t change – it’s really relaxed and friendly, and there’s a good mix of workshops and sessions.
April?, Lugano, Switzerland (Link)
Of all the events in all the world, this one takes place in the most beautiful location: you will visit Lugano and fall in love, so why not also learn some Swift while you're there? Although dates haven't been announced for 2020 yet, App Builders has consistently gone above and beyond most conferences, finding fresh talks from fresh speakers that really inspire us all to do better.
May?, Berlin, Germany (Link)
Last year UIKonf had an all-female speaker line up, and – amazingly enough! – the world didn't end. If anything, the audience seemed happier than ever, which is a testament both to the amazing women we have in our community and also to the UIKonf team's continued drive to deliver the best event they can. Although there aren't firm dates yet, UIKonf also delivers fantastic social events, and you can be all but guaranteed a triple A speaker line up.
June, probably San Jose, USA (Link)
Although WWDC is pretty much the antithesis of a community-run event, I couldn't possibly leave it off this list. Of course, we have no idea whether WWDC20 will be more like "are those crickets I hear?" WWDC18 or more like "what the hell just happened" WWDC19, but either way this is equivalent to Christmas for most of us – regardless of what gets announced, you still get to have what is guaranteed to be the most exciting week of the year.
Remember, if you aren’t one of the lucky 5000 to get a ticket, you can also attend one of the fringe events. Although they haven’t announced yet, it’s almost certain that we’ll see AltConf return for another year, and perhaps we’ll also see repeats of try! Swift, and Layers.
June 25th-26th, Aveiro, Portugal (Link)
SwiftAveiro follows the mentoring workshop model pioneered by the Swift Alps, but exchanges snowy mountains for sunny beaches. Each year seems to be expanding as they take on bigger things, and this is fast becoming the must-have ticket for European conference goers. That being said, you probably aren’t even reading this any more because I had “Swift” and “beach” in the same sentence – you already clicked through to their site, right? Right.
July?, Texel, The Netherlands (Link)
Another conference taking inspiration from the Swift Alps, Swift Island also takes place shortly after WWDC and encourages experimentation through a series of hands-on workshops. Texel Island is more or less the middle of nowhere, which means fresh air, lots of cycling, and the chance to make friends while you learn – there’s a reason some folks book their tickets the minute they go on sale.
July?, UK (Link)
Last year I ran my own conference after WWDC, with all profits going to charity. We sold out, and also attracted some wonderful sponsors, so let’s just say it’s likely we might just do it again................
August?, Cologne, Germany (Link)
SwiftConf is a small, friendly event in western Germany, and offers a unique blend of hands-on workshops, technical talks, and networking. The fact that the networking happens to be an outdoor beer and barbecue session is just icing on the cake!
September 6th-9th, Aberystwyth, Wales (Link)
It’s hard to find words that accurately describe iOSDevUK, because folks love it for any number of different reasons. Some come because it has simply the finest community feeling in the world; others come because four days of eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner with other attendees means you really get to know people; and others come because the venue is tucked away in the Welsh countryside and is quite frankly gorgeous. Whatever your reason for attending, iOSDevUK is back for its 10th edition and continues to be the most incredible value of any conference I’ve ever seen.
September?, New York, USA (Link)
Although similar in concept to its Tokyo counterpart, try! Swift New York is very much its own conference: lively presenters, a wide range of speakers, and a beautiful city venue that hosts its hundreds of attendees. Watch out for the swag bags – they are stuffed with goodies!
September?, Logroño, Spain (Link)
NSSpain is a conference I recommend everyone attends at least once. I know it has “Spain” in the name, but don’t be fooled: folks travel from around the world to be here, and when you look at their massive back catalog of videos from previous years it’s easy to see why. Not only does it take place in a gigantic, modern venue with more than enough room for everyone, but they always work hard to build a thoughtful, inspiration speaker line up, and it also just so happens to end on the day when a massive wine festival starts. Coincidence? I think not.
October?, Italy (Link)
Pragma missed a year in 2018 but came roaring back to life in 2019 with their largest and most ambitious event yet. Did it pay off? You bet it did: lots of workshops running in parallel, followed by two days of talks and a legendary party. As a bonus, it takes place in beautiful Bologna – most folks in the world love Italian food, but the Italians love Bologna food, which gives you an idea of how good it is.
October?, Krakow, Poland (Link)
Another event that takes place in a cinema, Mobiconf blends iOS, Android, and UX into a multi-track event that continues to resonate with attendees. I have such a soft spot for this event: the organizers work so hard to make it the best they can, and that is reflected time and time again in happy attendees who leave with fresh inspiration to try something new.
November?, Italy (Link)
Still a relative newcomer onto the iOS scene, Swift Heroes seems to be going from strength to strength as they mix workshops and sessions to create a fun and welcoming atmosphere where you’re sure to learn something new. They are also planning to expand to other countries in the coming months, so click the link and see what’s near you!
November?, Crans-Montana, Switzerland (Link)
The Swift Alps started as an experimental conference, but the format proved such a success that it has been mirrored in Portugal, the Netherlands, and beyond. Each day you can attend three of the four workshops that are on offer, and each time you get hands-on coding time where you work alongside a different person. The result: you walk away with stacks of new code, stacks of new experience, and a whole host of new contacts you didn’t have before.
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Paul Hudson is the creator of Hacking with Swift, the most comprehensive series of Swift books in the world. He's also the editor of Swift Developer News, the maintainer of the Swift Knowledge Base, and a speaker at Swift events around the world. If you're curious you can learn more here.