I can’t remember when I first discovered the world of podcasting but it was around the time that Apple first added Podcasts to the iTunes store, so sometime around 2005. While I can’t recall the exact moment, looking back I find it incredible to consider the massive impact that discovery has had on me. A whole new world of knowledge and a whole new way of learning was opened up to me.
I’ve been a regular listener of podcasts ever since.
Lately I’ve had a daily routine of going for walks and listening to podcasts. It’s great way to get some exercise and learn new things at the same time. I specifically use the time for listening to podcasts related to my profession as a software developer. I have found that the time spent doing so is invaluable and through it I have been helped to stay on top of new technology while getting inspired and motivated to keep improving my craft. It keeps me learning and helps to guard against burn out and learning fatigue. As someone who works from home, it’s easy to feel isolated and get lost in your own echo chamber. Podcasts help me feel connected and I feed off the energy and excitment of the hosts and their guests.
I think most importantly podcasts have made me a better developer.
Listening to world class developers on a regular basis discuss their craft has been truly inspiring. If you’ve never added podcasts to your developer toolkit I would recommend you give them a try. If you’re not sure where to start, I’m going to share a bunch of my current favourites below. I always appreciate it when other share some of their favourite podcasts and so I hope this list is helpful for someone.
The Changelog is more than just a podcast. It’s also a blog, top-notch newsletters (Weekly & Nightly) and they have a membership which gives you some great benefits includes a members-only Slack room. The content delivered by The Changelog is consistently high quality and their guests are some of the best in the open source world. One of my favourite recent episodes was a conversation with DHH on 10+ Years of Rails, that one is a must-listen. If you are only planning on subscribing to only one programming podcast, I would recommend you start here.
As a developer I find it essential to be always expanding my perspective on programming paradigms and toolsets. Most of my daily work is in Ruby which is an object oriented language, but over the past several years functional programming has increasing come onto my radar. This podcast has been a fantastic way to learn about different functional programming languages and hear from those who are using functional languages at their workplace and in various projects. If you’ve wanted to learn more about functional programming Functional Geekery is a great way to start on that path.
If you are a Ruby developer this podcast should be an essential part of your listening habits. The panel format, led by Charles Max Wood, is excellent and the diversity of the panel always leads to great insights and new ways of thinking. One of the highlights of the show for me is “the picks”, in which the panelists and guests share interesting and helpful things they have come across recently. It could a product, a service, an article, a conference talk, basically pretty much anything worth sharing. I’ve discovered some amazing stuff thanks to the picks. All in all, a fantastic podcast and it’s also very friendly to new Rubyists, and so if Ruby is something you’ve wanted to check out the Ruby Rogues is a great way to do so.
The Ruby on Rails Podcast is a long running one which ended up on quite a long hiatus, but was resurrected in 2014 by Sean Devine. Sean is a fantastic host and he always has an interesting guest on. I’ve really appreciated that fact that Sean doesn’t just stick to Rails but ventures into topics such as Ember and how to integrate a Rails API server with an Ember front-end. If you are a Rails developer then this podcast is an excellent way to hear from other Rails developers and keep on top of what is happening in the Rails world.
This podcast is a fairly recently discovery for me, but a very welcome addition to the queue. The distinctive element of Developer Tea is that the episodes are relatively short, typically anywhere from 5 - 20 minutes in length. Basically they are typically of a length that could be listening to during a tea (or coffee) break. The host, Jonathan, manages to pack a lot of great content into the shorter time format and so I always come away from an episode with some helpful insights or information on new tools and techniques.
Last but not least is the excellent Giant Robots Smashing into other Giant Robots podcast. This is just one of the excellent podcasts created by ThoughtBot (they have others and I would recommend those as well). What I love about Giant Robots is that it’s a technical podcast but it regularly ventures into a wide variety of topics, including design and business, areas that are outside my expertise. Many times I’m learning about new things or new ways of thinking or solving problems. Ben Orenstein is the usually host and I just really appreciate how he interacts with the guests.
Well, that’s my list. If anyone has any other podcasts they would like to share please do so in the comments below.