As developers, we need to receive frequent knowledge downloads from other sources to enhance our skillsets and help us think in new ways. There are all kinds of sources where this can come from: online training, YouTube, Pluralsight, books, classes, and so on. One of my favorite ways to help me think new thoughts are podcasts. What follows is a list of my favorite podcasts, the ones that I listen to on a regular basis. Some are developer focused and some are not. You shouldn’t limit your sources of knowledge:
The MS Dev Show is the next best cast for .NET developers. Again, they provide a lot of info for your noggin and have some pretty amazing guests, oftentimes from within the Microsoft corporate structure.
Mike Rowe is a frickin genius. His podcast focuses on short (~10 minutes) takes of historical events you might never have heard of before or different takes on what really happened behind events we think we know all about. Always insightful and well told. It’s a must listen.
This guy has got a voice for storytelling. Whether you grew up with Reading Rainbow or only know him from Star Trek or even if you’ve never heard of him before (like if you’ve lived under a rock all your life), this podcast is not one to miss. Like Mike Rowe’s podcast, it’s one of the few where it’s really worth your time to go back and listen to every cast from the beginning.
If you can get past Leo’s clueless nature and the fact he isn’t really listening to Paul and Mary Jo half the time and if you can get past the fact that Thurrott is a bit of a jerk, then you can parse out a great deal of Windows related information.
If Azure is your meal ticket, this podcast should be required listening.
This one’s kind of hit or miss, but if you do any kind of development, it should probably be on your list. The majority of the topics focus around web development, but there are a number of episodes which delve into the development lifestyle in general. It takes a few episodes for you to get used to Scott’s style, but once you do it’s worth it.
This one delves into retelling various myths and legends from across the world. Some of them are ones you think you know (but you usually don’t) and some of them are ones you’ve never heard of before. It’s a great storytelling cast.
This is the official Wizards of the Coast podcast about Dungeons and Dragons. It has one really, truly annoying aspect, however. The podcast is a recording of their live weekly Twitch show, with two huge differences, one good and one horrendously bad. First, the podcast has an additional segment of lore or rules discussions with Chris Perkins and/or Matt Sernett and/or Jeremy Crawford, that isn’t part of the Twitch show. That’s the good. Now, the bad. The podcast is typically released NEARLY 2 MONTHS AFTER the Twitch show. So, if you’re not in a position where you can fast forward (i.e. driving in your car) you have to listen to about 10 minutes of announcements about things that happened 3-6 weeks ago. It’s annoying AF, but if you can deal with that, it’s a lot of fun.
If you like British humor, this gem from BBC4 is a great listen. I especially love the News Quiz. However, like most things BBC, you get about 12 episodes of each program a year. So personally, if it’s not The News Quiz or The Now Show, I skip it.
If you enjoy NPR radio shows, this one is usually the best.
So, there you have my picks. I don’t even listen to the radio anymore. My daily drive is all podcasts or audio books now. It’s far better content and far fewer commercials. And I usually feel just a touch smarter after each one.