10 Leading Women in the Cocoa Community

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Today is International Women’s Day and I’d like to take the opportunity to put ten women in the spotlight that have a significant impact in the Cocoa community and beyond.

The Cocoa community has always been a very open and welcoming community and it is fantastic to see that anyone can thrive in this community. The women listed below have proven that anyone can excel in technology. No matter who you are, if you need that extra push to exceed your own expectations, then let these women inspire you on your journey.

Veronica Ray

Veronica, also known as @nerdonica on Twitter, currently works as a software engineer at LinkedIn. She started her career at Bizo, a startup focused on helping advertisers reach businesses and professionals, which LinkedIn acquired in 2014. That is how Veronica ended up at LinkedIn as a software engineer.

Veronica is actively involved in promoting diversity in the technology industry. She has mentored at Hackbright Academy, helping women become software engineers, and is a member of Double Union, a maker space for women in San Francisco.

Kristina Thai

Kristina is a passionate advocate for women in technology. At Intuit, she works as an iOS engineer and she also helped start Tech Women@Intuit. The Apple Watch is one of Kristina’s personal passions and she frequently writes and talks about her explorations and discoveries. In a recent talk at Swift Summit San Francisco, she talked about creating compelling applications for watchOS. Kristina writes on her blog and tweets on Twitter.

Diana Zmuda

Diana is an iOS engineer at thoughtbot, a leading company in the mobile and web space. She works and lives in Portland and has co-authored a book about iOS development, iOS on Rails, with Jessie Young. Even though she graduated with a degree in math and economics, she changed course and is now developing mobile applications in Swift at thoughtbot.

As a Camp Lead Developer at App Camp for Girls, Diana helps girls become familiar with the technology industry. Over the course of one week, young women learn about designing and building software. They also dip their toes in the business aspect of software development and are given the opportunity to put their creativity to work.

Ayaka Nonaka

Ayaka has been developing for iOS since the early days of the platform and is currently living and working in Oakland as the iOS lead at Venmo, a platform for sharing payments. She was quick to adopt Swift and frequently talks about Apple’s new programming language.

Last year, she gave an interesting talk about natural language processing with Swift in which she explains how to build a spam filter using naive Bayes classifiers. You can follow Ayaka on Twitter. She occasionally writes on her blog and Medium.

Laura Savino

With a passion for human languages and a strong background in teaching and education, Khan Academy was a perfect fit for Laura. She accidentally came into contact with programming and started working at Ubermind as a mobile developer. Her mentor at Ubermind convinced her to develop for iOS, which eventually led to Laura being the first iOS developer at Khan Academy.

Like Diana Zmuda, Laura is involved in App Camp for Girls. She brings girls in Seattle in contact with software development, striving for gender equality in technology by offering engaging educational programs. Laura currently works as an independent developer and speaker. She frequently speaks at conferences, such as Çingleton, CocoaConf, and UIKonf.

Novall Khan

Novall currently works as an iOS engineer at Splitwise, a platform for splitting expenses with friends, and previously worked at ShapeUp and Willow Tree Apps. She started her career in academia, focusing on learning and memory among other topics. She is also the founder of Pink Chalk Labs, a non-profit organization for building applications in the mental health space. Novall frequently talks about Cocoa development. In the past, she has spoken at CocoaConf and, more recently, try! Swift. You can also find Novall on Twitter.

Stephanie Shupe

Stephanie is currently working as a senior software engineer at Lookout, a security company that focuses on predictive security. Through Women Who Code, Stephanie inspires women to start a career in technology. She first served as a board member and currently acts as an advisor for the non-profit.

Women Who Code, WWCode for short, is a non-profit organization that serves as a worldwide platform for women interested in technology. The goal is to bring diversity to the technology industry. The organization’s credo is clear “The world of technology is much better with women in it.” You can follow Stephanie on Twitter.

Michele Titolo

Michele is the CTO of Women Who Code and works as an iOS engineer at Capital One. She has been developing for the iOS platform since 2010 and has worked on dozens of projects since. Michele is a frequent speaker at conferences, such as AltConf and try! Swift. You can follow Michele on Twitter and read her musings on her blog.

Erica Sadun

If you are an active participant of the Swift community, then you probably already know Erica Sadun. Erica has been active in the Cocoa community since the early days of the iPhone. Having written more than a dozen books on various topics, it is safe to say Erica is a prolific writer.

Erica’s blog is a must read if you want to stay up to date about Swift and Cocoa development. She is a very active participant of the Swift open source project and has already had a significant impact on the project’s path. You can follow Erica on Twitter and don’t forget to visit her blog.

Natasha Murashev

When Swift was announced in 2014, Natasha was immediately hooked. She has been writing about Apple’s new programming language ever since and has become a frequent speaker at conferences and meetups.

Natasha is one of the organizers of the try! Swift conference and the woman behind This Week in Swift. Natasha, better known as Natasha The Robot, tweets on Twitter and writes on her blog, but make sure to check out some of her talks listed below.


It goes without saying that this is only a selection of the women that are currently making a difference in technology. Which women do you look up to? Let us know in the comments below.

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