I think podcasts are a great way of keeping up with a topic in that otherwise dead brain time when you’re travelling to work, washing the dishes and cleaning the floor. Here’s a few of the best that don’t focus on any one particular technology I’ve found over the last few years.
Security Now (feed)
Since 2005, Steve Gibson and Leo Laporte have been talking security each week. You’ll get a summary of any high-impact or interesting security news, deep dives on technical topics and listener Q&As. You also get detailed show notes and full transcriptions of each podcast at grc.com, a service that has proved useful more than once in referring back to something I’d heard.
This is the place I first heard about Heartbleed and Shellshock. Steve’s discussion of HTTP/2 is both in-depth and straightforward, explaining a few details I’d missed in my own reading. The politics around security, privacy, advertising and encryption are also often a topic of discussion, and he recently explained how to use three dumb routers to securely operate IoT devices at home.
Weekly, 1-2 hours. Summary of news early in the episode, deep dives later.
If you work in tech, you should be listening to this. If you don’t. but you have any interest at all in computers, you’ll probably get a lot out of it too.
Software Engineering Radio (feed)
‘The Podcast for Professional Software Developers’ has been working with IEEE Software since 2012, but has been broadcasting interviews with software industry luminaries since 2006. This is where I first learnt about REST, way back in 2008. More recently, the episodes on Redis, innovating with legacy systems, and marketing myself (which is why I’m making an effort to blog regularly!) really got me thinking.
A little variable in timing, but normally at least one per month. 1-2 hours per episode, short introduction then straight on to the interview.
No prizes for guessing ‘Software Developers’. I think this is great podcast for broadening your awareness of what’s going on out there outside whatever area you’re focussing on.
CodePen Radio (feed)
CodePen lets you write and share code with others, but that’s largely incidental to the podcast. Instead, the founders Chris Coyier, Alex Vasquez and Tim Sabat talk about the challenges and choices they face building and running CodePen. One of the things I like is the discussion of mistakes and compromises – it’s food for thought and makes me feel better about the mistakes and compromises I make!
They cover a variety of topics around running a site like CodePen. They talk about how their ‘Recent Activity’ feature works, switching from running their own database to using Amazon’s RDS, and how they deal with edge cases. They also talk about the business side of things, like hiring people and getting funding.
2-4 episodes per month. A minute or two for introductions, moving on to main topic.
Detailed, practical insights into building and operating a small, successful tech company in 2016, so if this is something you do or want to do, I’d listen to this.
Developer Tea (feed)
Jonathan Cutrell produces ten-minute interviews and advice snippets for developers. He’s talked about prototypes, focus and ensuring professionalism. I think of this one as the super-short-form version of SERadio.
10 minutes, 2-3 times weekly. Short intro, then content.
Software developers, maybe designers. The short format might work for you or not – I personally find it doesn’t seem to stick as well as the longer podcasts. I think a lot of the advice here is aimed at early-career developers, but still worthwhile for later career if you have time.
Have I missed any great podcasts along these lines? Let me know!