So you want to start a Learn Swift meet up in your city? Great! Congratulations on taking the first few steps. In this guide, you’ll learn the basics on how to get your local meet up started, how to schedule your first meet up, and how to lead your first session.
Step 1: Decide
Decide whether or not you want to do it. I started Learn Swift LA because I wanted to meet other people like me that were interested in learning Swift and iOS Development so that I didn’t feel so alone in my career transition. It was a big commitment, but its paid off big time! I learned a lot, met a lot of great people, and even got my first job because of it.
Step 2: Create
Create the meetup on MeetUp.com. Feel free to copy all the details from LearnSwiftLA to make it easier on yourself. Just change the specifics for your community. Feel free to schedule your first meet up with a topic, time, and location of “TO BE DETERMINED”. You can figure this stuff out later once you have some members.
Q: What if I can’t afford the subscription?
A: Let us know. We may be able to help.
Q: Is anyone even going to join my meet up?
A: Most likely, yes. If you are interested in this, chances are there is at least one other person thats interested in it as well. People are looking for communities everyday to help improve their lives. By starting your meet up, you are providing that opportunity.
Step 3: Wait
Wait for people to join your meet up. You’ll be surprised how quickly people join.
Step 4: Plan
Plan your first meet up. You will need to decide on a topic and time and secure a location. Early on, I decide to make Learn Swift LA a weekly meet up. I scheduled it for every Wednesday because there were no other Swift / iOS related meet ups scheduled for that day. For my first topic, I showed people how to use interface builder to put a button on the screen that when tapped played the first song in the user’s iTunes library. We met at the home of one of our members that offered it up after I already scheduled the meet up.
Q: What should I teach for my first topic (for any topic)?
A: You can teach anything. Learn Swift is about creating a space for people of all skill levels. Beginners love basics. In 2016, almost all of our meet ups were titled “iOS App Development Basics: [Insert specific topic here]”. Check our our past meet ups for ideas. Ask your members what they want to learn. I usually teach what I already know or what I am currently learning and really interested in.
Q: When should I meet?
A: Its up to you. It should be convenient for you and your members. We usually meet on Wednesdays from 7pm to 10pm. What ever you decide, be consistent.
Q: Where should we meet?
A: This is the really hard part. If you already have a location then you’re off to a great start. Reach out to your current work, your members, or local community organizations like Co-Working spaces, colleges, coffee shops, restaurants, libraries, churches, etc. Be creative. We use to meet at this guy’s house which was under construction. It was weird, but it worked!
Step 5: Lead
Lead your first session. Get there early to make sure the room is set up right and the A/V equipment works with your computer. We usually give people 15 minutes to chat and to arrive late. Here’s a sample agenda:
7:00 – 7:15 – arrival, chat, set up (You might need help setting up. Someone always arrives early. Ask them to help. People love to be helpful.)
7:15 – 7:30 – Welcome, introduction, story behind meet up, 3 questions (Name, background, goal), wins, announcements. We always start our meets up this same way
7:30 – 8:30 – Session part I – We always sit at the same table and look at the same screen/TV. Some people follow along with their computers. Some people don’t. We always do hands-on live coding session. We rarely ever do “presentations.” Presentations invite less engagement. Engagement is key. I always stop and ask questions, and see if anyone has any questions. Its less about the topic and more about allowing the topic to lead to conversational learning and sharing.
8:30 – 9:00 – bio and social break
9:00 – 10:00 – Session part II – Can be continuation of part one or a totally different topic
10:00 – Join slack team, shout out on twitter, subscribe to podcast, clean up, say goodbye
Note: After first we rarely every did food. Now anyone that’s hungry pitches in and buys pizza.
Step 6: Next
Next you need plan your next session. Be consistent. Recruit members to lead sessions and help you.
Join our Slack team where we’re helping people just like you. After you join, just let me or someone know and we’ll add you to the right group. Join here: https://swiftcodersla.signup.team/