Apple World Wide Developer Conference

WWDC was one of the greatest weeks, and I am writing this post to help anyone going for the first time.

Preparation

It's important to get a few things in order before the conference.

  1. Accommodation. During the week of WWDC (and in general) SF accommodation is crazy expensive. If you can get an Airbnb somewhere near the Bart(SF train line) that is ideal, and you should be able to get into the city easy enough. Generally speaking, days start 8.30 am and go to around 5 pm. I arrived on the Saturday before WWDC, as it allowed me to get familiar with my surroundings.

  2. Business Cards. WWDC is 50% learning (keynotes and workshops), and 50% networking. I think it's a nice touch to get physical business cards. Last year ('15) I got my cards from Moo.
    This is the card that I got printed, feel free to use for inspiration.
    WWDCBusinessCards Alternatively, some people made passbook business cards, which I think was kinda cool, but a little gimmicky and a lot less effective than business cards. My only other advice would be to make the cards generic enough to use at future events, and then get 300-500 printed.

  3. Code. The workshops during WWDC is one of the rare chances you will ever get to have Apple Engineers sit down and go through the code with you. For some attendees, this is the only reason they go (as the Keynotes are recorded). I think there is a lot of value in taking one or two projects with some questions, or assistance that you would like. The engineers are amazing, and open to any level of skill.

Orientation

If you were lucky enough to win a scholarship, on Sunday they usually have a day of orientation. This is a good opportunity to make some friends and meet some other scholarship winners. On the day, Apple brings in some important people (Tim Cook, Scott Forstall) to meet the winners, as well as loads of Apple Engineers to talk to.

The Conference

Get up early, but not too early.

  1. The first event for the WWDC is the Kickoff. This is where any new products/services will be announced, and is a big highlight for the week. Some people (crazy people) camp out all night, but personally, I think that this wrecks you for the week, and you will be forever trying to catch up on sleep. Last year I set an alarm for 5 am and ended up with some good seats (6-7 rows back). Waiting in the line is a fun part of the whole conference, and a great chance to meet people and network (I had two different people ask me to interview at their company).

  2. The Student Lounge The WWDC Scholarship winners are given their private area, that has some couches, food and drink and generally just a cool place to kick back, rest, and talk to fellow scholars. It's a great place as a base to go back to throughout the day. Due to the pace of the week, it is really important to keep hydrated and fuelled (food).

  3. Plan. It's really important to plan your time at WWDC. There are many options at any time, and it's valuable to prioritize. During the week each morning, I would get to Moscone early, grab some breakfast and yummy odwalla mango juice then sit down with my iPhone and WWDC App and plan the day. I would schedule what keynotes that I wanted to see, what workshops (Design/UX ones fill up super fast), as well as my goals for the day (e.g. exchange five business cards).

Outside the Conference (21+)

Throughout the week companies around the Bay host some great parties, especially just for the WWDC attendees. Most of these are free, and once again are a great networking opportunity. Check out the neat app called WWDC Parties for a listing of what's on, and remember to register ASAP.

Conclusion

WWDC is amazing. I wish I was going again this year, and will ensure I go next year. It is very rare that you get to be at an event with 5000 other like minded engineers and developers, and it's crucial that you make the most of the opportunity. Network hard, listen and learn as much as possible. And have a great time at the Bash(Thursday night).