Posted on November 21st, 2016
I spend a lot of time in my car. Like, a crazy amount of time. It’s normally my preferred method of transport as it gives me the freedom to go where I want and when I want without enduring the unreliable nature of the public transport system (which if you’re following the UK Southern Train News right now then you will know just how bad it is). I even prefer driving the lengthy 350 miles back to my home town over a shorter train ride (quiet, Americans; this is a long distance for us!).
I rarely get sick of driving. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that I love the sight of the Great British Motorway, but there is a certain level of love and satisfaction knowing that I got from A to B by myself, in a vehicle that I own, and can’t pass off responsibility to anybody else. I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of this feeling.
Like most loves in your life, I can’t say that it is 100% devotion. You always have to round up. Nothing is perfect and if I had to make a complaint about my beloved car journeys, it would be that I can’t be productive. I can’t shift the feeling that driving long distances every day is somewhat wasted time. I can’t play with my phone, read a book, comfortably call people, write, or do anything remotely decent with my time. I can’t fully concentrate with audiobooks and it’s harder to rewind to the point where I stopped paying attention than to scroll back a few pages in a book, so that rules out that option. I did however start doing something a year or so ago which transformed my productivity when I’m behind the wheel.
Unlike audiobooks where I feel it requires my full attention otherwise vital dialogue, plot development or complicated plot twists might be missed, podcasts give me the freedom to tune in and out whilst giving my brain good stimulation.
I mentioned before about my desire to be productive, and to my (not complete) surprise, there is an absolute wealth of podcasts on the subjects of software development, technology, web development, and career development. To name a few categories. I’ve previously written about the importance of keeping up-to-date with the industry otherwise you’ll fall behind and there is unfortunately only so much time I can devote in the day to keeping up with technical blogs and Hacker News links. These podcasts give me the perfect opportunity and excuse to learn about developments in new areas and also areas that I’m currently working in.
I’d shared this with a few developer friends of mine and they have all expressed interest in knowing which specific podcasts I listen to as this is also something that also appeals to them. So, to you guys (and all of you reading), here is a list of my top 10 technical podcasts.
Top 10 Technical Podcasts
The podcast released by the highly talented and brilliant minds over at Stack Exchange, the parent site of the much-loved and depended on Stackoverflow. I try to be as active on the site as possible (as I would urge everybody to be - I plan to write a blog post about why soon) and this podcast is a good way to keep up with news on the site. Not only this, but they do go into some technical depth and you get a good insight into why certain decisions have been made. Even if you don’t care too much about the site itself other than a resource for getting answers, they give good reasons why some decisions are made over others. Additional topics are also talked about such as ‘The Guerilla Guide to Interviewing’. This podcast is not updated as much as it once was, but the archives are still fantastic and mostly relevant.
John Sonmez, a name which requires little introduction in the tech-sphere when talking about productivity, philosophy and software development, answers questions sent to him ranging from keeping fit, saving for a house, programming language topics, and everything in between. He releases three every day and each podcast typically lasts between 5-10 minutes. A very digestible and informative listen.
Targeted at professional software developers, volunteers and staff of IEEE Software deliver talks on a full range of topics with industry experts. Interesting recent episodes include ‘Software Estimations’, ‘DevOps’ and ‘Becoming a Tech Lead’.
7. Herding Code
Hosts K. Scott Allen, Kevin Dente, Scott Koon, and Jon Galloway invite guests to talk about aspects of developing. There is a new podcast every few weeks and interesting recent episodes include ‘Web Development in 2020’, ‘Stack Overflow Engineering’ and ‘Docker’.
6. Note to Self
Hosted by tech journalist Manoush Zomorodi, this technology podcast discusses trends, morality, and ethics on technology, and describes itself as “the tech show about being human”. These short 20-30 minute episodes are extremely well presented and thought-provoking, making for good shorter journeys. Some interesting episodes include ‘Digging into Facebook’s File on You’, ‘Is My Phone Listening to Me?’ and ‘The Realities of Virtual Reality’.
A well put-together podcast by Patrick Wheeler and Jason Gauci looks at giving overviews on current topics and trends ranging from ‘Tamper Protection’, ‘Deploying Software’ and language specific insights such as ‘Ruby’. ‘Go’ and ‘R’. A good listen if you want a high-level overview of languages and technologies that you have no prior knowledge or experience in.
Produced by Scott Hanselman, a Microsoft developer and keen Rubyist, Scott takes interesting topics on the web, culture, and technology, and invites subject experts onto the show to talk about them. Some of these podcasts explore interesting ideas such as ‘Punishment Driven Development’, ‘Mob Programming’, and ‘Failure - what happens if you fake it and don’t make it?’.
Produced and hosted by Rob Conery and Scott Hanselman (of HanselMinutes), this podcasts aims to take ‘This American Life’ into the technical realm by exploring certain themes and how they have coped with them, and provides extremely interesting anecdotes. The combination of these and the high production quality makes for incredible listening that allows you to learn from their experiences in situations that you almost definitely will identify with on some level.
Modeled off Software Engineering Radio, Jeff Meyerson explores current topics with the original authors, industry experts, and enthusiasts. These topics cover most of the big story’s and the stuff that you want to know about and should know about. Recent interesting episodes include discussions on ‘AWS’, ‘Fraud Prevention’ and ‘Cloud Clients with Jon Skeet’.
There are of course more podcasts than hours in my life, so if you know of other good and interesting ones out there that aim to educate listeners about technology, please recommend them in the comments section below! I’d love to give them a try and potentially update this blog post to include them.
Thanks for reading, and happy listening.