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Top 9 Podcasts for Software Developers in 2021

Ankush Thakur 10 February, 2021 | 8 min read

To say that the podcast scene is exploding would be an understatement. Whether it is Spotify, Google, Apple, or smaller players, everyone is betting on this "lackluster" medium. To the uninitiated, the idea of "just audio and nothing else?" may seem weird, but they're forgetting that this was also one of the earliest mediums of content consumption β€” the radio! Except that the podcast ecosystem has far more depth, personalization, and convenience going for it.

Now, there's no shortage of podcasts today, with more and more being released every day. As a developer interested in podcasts, it's easy to find yourself lost in the sea of podcast shows. Where do you start? Where do you turn? Where do you end? Don't worry, I've got you covered!

Useful and interesting β€” these are two parameters (among others) I've used to filter out and select some of the best podcasts I can recommend. These are not strictly tied to any technology (those recommendations are coming soon!), but focus on career advancement, mental wellbeing, health, personal growth, and similar areas.

Many of these are what I personally listen to regularly; yes, I eat my own dog food and am not replicating some random list on the Internet!

A bit of a disclaimer before we get started: this list may not contain the most popular (by numbers) podcasts today or the most "obvious" ones; the reasons are simple β€” this list is subjective at best, and there are way too many podcasts on many different platforms to be aware of.

And now, for your listening pleasure!

Complete Developer Podcast

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The Complete Developer Podcast is hosted by two experienced devs, and in my opinion, is aptly named. It's a wonderful mix of everything that you'd find useful or interesting as a developer (personality tests, for example!). The dev duo powering this rocket are .NET developers themselves (from what I can tell) but never let that dictate the content. As a result, the podcast is technology-agnostic (unless there's big news in a technology area) and useful for all types of developers at all levels.

What impresses me most is the range of things they cover. It's not your usual oh-I-expected-the-same-old-boring-routine podcast that covers "best practices" over and over. Some of the topics I was surprised by or benefitted a lot are:

  • Dealing with politics at the workplace
  • How to determine your exact worth and ask for a raise (and how much raise)
  • The sad life of team leads
  • Becoming more aware of money dynamics and long-term planning
  • What to do if you've lost motivation, are burned out, etc.

From time to time, these guys also throw in the "hardcore" but highly useful stuff β€” design patterns, architectural patterns, file systems, production system challenges, database intricacies, caching, and so on.

Want to learn something new? Feeling bored? Workplace blues? Don't feel like becoming a developer anymore? Relax, this podcast has you covered!

Check it out on Google Podcasts here.

CoRecursive

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There's a lot of focus on "learning" in the dev world. So much so that I might even say learning is the next tech bubble. :D Yes, learning is good, but what type of learning, with what goals in mind? There's the kind of learning where you jump from blog post to blog post and "stay updated" through newsletters. And then there's the kind of learning that CoRecursive indulges in.

I'm kinda lost for words here, but I'd describe CoRecrusive as different, exotic, sublime, serious . . . or some such combination. Yes, it's about software development and software development only, but it digs underneath until the very foundations are exposed. And when an episode is not on technical details, it's on ideas and themes that are mind-blowing and unseen anywhere else.

CoRecursive is not for everyone. It's a slow, challenging journey into the depths of knowledge itself (in a manner of speaking). For instance, I distinctly remember episodes such as:

  • Rethinking databases (can we remove caching, for example?)
  • Role of abstract algebra and probabilistic data structures in Big Data
  • Why and how to learn a new programming language
  • We're teaching functional programming wrong
  • Typed lambda calculus and how it all made Haskell possible

Phew! I had a brain orgasm or two as I wrote out that list! 😁 It's not all computer science and abstract math, and often you'll find conversations with guests that are lightweight and enjoyable.

All in all, it's clearly a podcast for those moving towards functional programming (at whatever speed!) and interested in the foundational stuff.

Check it out on Google Podcasts here.

Running in Production

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Running in Production is a very interesting podcast. It looks like it's about various technologies and products, but the biggest clue lies in its name. This podcast invites guests (creators or architects of popular or unique products), who explain their tech stack and how it's running in production!

Why is this important? My view is that most developers get too pigeon-holed into their stack or framework, often losing sight of reality or missing out on what matters the most β€” stability and performance in production. And how are these unicorns of stability and performance tamed? Through good architecture, forward-thinking, and learning from others' mistakes.

Running in Production will take you through the pieces that make up impressive products around us. Their creators discuss their ideas, inceptions, challenges, creative solutions, and most importantly β€” mistakes made and lessons learned!

Want to expand your horizons? Don't want to be a $30/hr developer forever? Want to build large and complex apps that are resilient and intelligent? Make sure you're subscribed to Running in Production!

Check it out on Google Podcasts here.

Coder Radio

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After wading through all that heavy stuff, it's time to grab a beer and relax! Coder Radio is a recent discovery for me and has delivered on many fronts. How many? None! 😁Of course, I'm joking, but there's a sliver of truth in it that I'm fully confident the hosts will agree with β€” this podcast isn't desperate to carve out a separate identity and is not intended to produce more technical discussions and news.

Instead, what you'd find here is mostly fun-filled, intelligent banter between two devs, with occasional tech or nuggets of wisdom thrown in. Honestly, listening to this podcast is heartwarming and makes me feel as if I'm sitting with two great friends of mine (with my mouth taped shut!).

If you're travelling back home, or you need to unwind, or are annoyed and want something to soothe the nerves, this is the perfect remedy.

Check it out on Google Podcasts here.

Software Daily

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Despite its name, this podcast doesn't release content daily. But I'm not one to nitpick when it's damn regular (alternate days on average) and has stellar content.

If I were to describe it, I'd say it's a mix of what's already established in software development, and new tools and ideas that are pretty ambitious and brazen.

Here are some episode themes from the podcast:

  • Pachyderm Engineering (version control for data)
  • TornadoVM: An extension of GraalVM using GPUs
  • Robinhood (the finance app) engineering explained
  • Cilium: Programmable Linux Networking
  • Open Source Industrialization

Software Daily is a nice mix of the regular dev stuff and new developments. I'd say it's one of the indispensable podcasts out there!

Check it out on Google Podcasts here.

Developer Tea

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Developer Tea is already very well known in the developer circles. People love it so much and find it so useful that I had to include it on the list. :-)

Think of Developer Tea as a podcast devoted to improving the thought process of developers. But, wait, let's get the fine print right β€” the "thought process" mentioned here isn't just the thought process of building and maintaining an app, but everything else that's connected to it.

I think my description is still hazy, so let's look at some episode themes to get an idea of what this is about:

  • Ever-increasing information dumps are counter-productive.
  • Inaction produces far worse results than failure.
  • What to do as a new developer
  • Ethics of product design (how it impacts users, that is)
  • How smart people make bad decisions

The average episode is just 10-15 minutes or so, leaving you no excuse to not subscribe and improve your life!

Come on in, the tea is ready!

Check it out on Google Podcasts here.

Soft Skills Engineering

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Well, what can I say?! This podcast does what it says on the tin can! 😁

How many times do we developers hear that we need to improve our soft skills in order to rise up and make more dough? And we nod our head, go home, and do nothing about it. Why? Because we don't freakin' know how to do it! And we know that saying to yourself, "You're a caring person" just doesn't work.

So, here's an entire podcast devoted to helping you change for the better. But remember that change comes from acceptance (of your flaws) and brick-by-brick replacement of the you inside you.

Man, that got heavy quickly! But the point is, this podcast is the manual you need to know how to operate yourself better. It's a moot point, but for the sake of sampling, I'll list down some themes that I liked:

  • The maze of salary and family benefits
  • Controlling frustration at the workplace
  • Is it time to quit your job?
  • Salary negotiations for a new job
  • Great tech stack vs great money: How to decide?!
  • Promoted too fast; not ready for a lead role. Now what?
  • Meeting hell and appraisal-driven development

I think you'll agree with me that developing is the least of the challenges we face regularly. The real monsters are the things listed above, which go unseen but can do major damage.

In any case, you're guaranteed to have a blast with this podcast!

Check it out on Google Podcasts here.

Level-up Engineering

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Level-up Engineering is all about management in a tech setting. Managing others, becoming a leader, moving up the ladder, or maybe just coworker dynamics. It's mostly an interview-style podcast and sees prestigious guests from companies such as Mailchimp, GitHub, Financial Times, Trivago, and more.

In my eyes, this podcast is a must for two types of developers:

  • Those who are moving or planning to move into management (whether they want or not!) and need to take this stuff seriously and actually put in the effort.
  • The rest of the developers.

Now, now, it wasn't a trick! Knowledge of the management world is essential for every developer for two reasons:

  1. It opens their eyes to how the management judges them and decides their worth, the salary they deserve, the raise they'd get, and so on.
  2. It provides a top-down view of the company and helps connect the dots. Suddenly, you understand why you're tasked to build that dry, "useless" feature!

I'll refrain from listing sample episodes because things like "How to maximize team happiness" will only result in eye-rolls and groans. So, go to the podcast, subscribe, and listen to what resonates with you.

Check it out on Google Podcasts here.

Software Developer's Journey

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We all have a journey that brought us where we are today. And each journey is unique. Some people get into development after doing a Ph.D. in Physics, while others were 30-somethings in other professions who wanted to do more fulfilling work.

Software Developer's Journey is a compilation of such stories β€” who they are, how they became a developer, what difficulties they faced, what advice they have for others, and so on.

The real joy, at least for me, is that you get to know about many different industries as well as tech domains, standards, etc.

Check it out on Google Podcasts here.

Conclusion

Well, that's it! If you haven't been exposed to podcasts yet, it's high time you got started. The podcasts on this list will get you jump-started, and from there, you can explore the endless world of podcasts.

Sign up today and join our big community of developers!

Author's avatar
Ankush Thakur
Fullstack Dev | Content Developer
    PHP
    Python
    Shell
    JavaScript
    Django
    CSS
    HTML
    Java
    Vue.js

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