I am a big podcasts fan. I listen to them all the time when I am waiting for something or commuting. They help me immerse into the western technology world from which Ukrainian tech community is quite disconnected. It is extremely unusual for me to meet at the conference some kind of world recognized guru or thought leader. Podcasts can not fully compensate for that because I can not ask questions while listening (and sometimes I desperately want to do so) but still I can hear other ask questions and those questions are sometimes even better then I could have asked. Podcasts also help me as non-native English speaker to improve and maintain my English communication skills. It is sometimes very difficult for the non-native speaker to understand the native speaker and accents of other non-native speakers. Podcasts actually provide great training on listening and understanding all these different accents, because podcast guests are people from all over the globe. It is hard for me to explain the reason, but podcasts help me to write and talk about technical topics in English. Probably this is the quantity to quality transformation. I listen a lot and spoken patterns are carved into my mind so that I can use them later in my own speech. Many people are surprised to learn that it is much more easy for me to explain something software related in English than in Ukrainian. So, here is my list:
.NET Rocks. I revolve mostly in Microsoft space. And there .NET Rocks is the number one podcast. It is not only about .NET, their episodes cover many different topics, related to software development in the Microsoft universe. Of course, most episodes are about .NET but often you will hear about the broad range of topics, starting from machine learning and ending with front-end stuff. Not only .NET rocks will keep you up to date with latest advances in .NET but it will also entertain you, I often find myself laughing or smiling while listening.
SE-radio. This one was my first podcast. It mostly covers fundamental aspects of software development like refactoring, architecture, programming languages design, requirements engineering, software modeling, distributed and real-time systems. Back to the previous decade it was created and lead by Markus Voelter, who is my favorite podcaster. First, he is german but his English communication skills are extraordinary. Because he is not a native-speaker, his speech is simple and clear, the way he asks questions and digs into technical topics can be used as an etalon. It is also clear that the guy is passionate about podcasting and technology and for me it is a big deal, I love passionate people. This days se-radio is produced by IEEE Software magazine. Markus does not participate in its production anymore, but it is still pretty interesting to listen world-class experts talking on fundamental aspects of software.
Omegataupodcast. I have already mentioned Markus Voelter. After he finished with se-radio, he started Omegataupodcast. The podcast is about science and engineering. Although there are episodes on biology and social science, most episodes are about space engineering and science, aviation, physics, and computing. I have a background in radio engineering and aviation, therefore, omegataupodcast meets my interest in this kind of topics. It is a combination of Markus’ brilliance in dissecting complex technical topics and great science content which can literally go on for hours (episodes are pretty long).
Hanselminutes. It is hard to tell why am I listening regularly to this podcast. It is short, it has no specialization it looks and feels like the ordinary podcast, there are thousands of such. Probably because I have huge respect for Scott Hanselman and for all he does. He is the brilliant guy and he can combine interesting topic with fun conversation. Probably it is because ridiculously wide variety of topics covered on the podcast. One week he can talk on excel spreadsheet, another week – about toy robots, yet another week – some soft skills topic like management, motivation, and creative processes.
Developeronfire. I have recently discovered this podcast, I have listened to almost all old episodes and never miss new episodes. It is not technical and you can listen to it while working out when you can not concentrate very much. The podcast is indeed about going personal with your favorite geeks. Dave, the host, invites to talk about personal stuff active people in the software world. Mostly developers but not only, there were consultants, managers, marketers and other professions on the show, all somehow related to software development. Dave asks more or less the same set of questions like what is it the guest likes about technology, guest’s definition of value, his biggest success, and failure, her hobbies, and value delivering tips. Sometimes the guest is moderate and you will not hear something special and sometimes whole episode is full of pearls of wisdom. Take for instance episodes with Scott Hanselmann, DHH, J.B. Rainsberger or Linda Rising. Highly recommended, a lot of fun, deep conversations and you will be surprised how many things will resonate with you and your experiences in the industry. Cool stuff there.
EconTalk. This podcast is not specifically about technology or software, although some episodes are, but it is about everything else. Most episodes are discussions between the host and some brilliant personality who has written some great article or book. EcanTalk is meant to be about the economy but it is about the economy in a very broad sense. The topic can be very economy related like agriculture, chicken production, banking and monetary policy. They can also discuss somehow related to economy topics like machine learning, technology and artificial intelligence influence on the economy of the future, peoples’ ego, learning and education problems, sports, healthcare, and transhumanism. To summarize: this is a podcast where extremely smart people discuss very interesting and essential to everyday life problems.