This article originally published on jarednielsen.com
Keeping up with the changing pace of technology is part and parcel of being a web developer. Listening to podcasts is a great way to stay informed and give your eyes a break. Unless you are independently wealthy or a short sleeper, there aren’t enough hours in the day to listen to all of them. Here are the best podcasts for web developers in 2020. By best I mean my favorite.
- High-production value: The audio is clear and equalized, and edited for 'easy listening'.
- Focused: The hosts don't spend too much time chit-chatting and are prepared with hard-hitting questions to keep an interview moving.
- Relevant: The topics are timely.
If you only subscribe to one web development podcast, make it Syntax. The production value is high, the pace is on point, and the hosts Wes Bos and Scott Tolinski, are charming. While it’s primarily focused on beginners, its coverage of emerging trends and technology will appeal to experienced developers, too. Scott and Wes use it as a platform to promote their courses, but they never sell too hard and their sponsorships are well-integrated into the show format.
🥇 Where to begin? How to Get Better at Problem Solving
Front-end Happy Hour follows a ‘‘roundtable’ format, composed of working professionals at top-tier organizations, talking shop over drinks. It’s like hanging out at the bar with the coworkers you wish you had. Quality production, good pace, and the drinking game adds another layer to the discussion. As the name suggests, its focus is primarily front-end web development.
🥇 Where to begin? Tech lead engineer - herding cats & drinks
Produced by Mozillla and hosted by Manoush Zomorodi, IRL covers the big picture topics you need to be thinking about, but probably aren’t because you’re busy building the Internet. Each episode is a critical investigation of the effects of this thing we build on the people who use it in real life.
🥇 Where to begin? Democracy and the Internet
Fixed That For You claims to be a show about “solving problems with data and algorithms”, but that is seriously underselling it. Each episode is an exploration of the clever and ingenious solutions discovered to fix extraordinary obstacles using the power of computation. It’s not specifically related to web development, but it’s fascinating and very well-produced.
🥇 Where to begin? Data vs. Running While Blind
If I could be interviewed by anyone, my first choice would be Terry Gross. My second choice would be Kent C. Dodds. He really listens to his guests. He’s modest, deferential, and honest about his knowledge gaps but smart AF. Kent quietly launched the first season of Chats with Kent in August and quickly followed up with a second. Kent is a React developer, so much of the discussions are focused on that topic. But who isn’t, anymore?
🥇 Where to begin? Growing Your Skills And Career Through Teaching - with Ali Spittel
Similar to IRL, Function explores the societal impact(s) of the products and services we produce. Unlike IRL, which is geared towards an audience of laypeople, and most likely due to the host, Anil Dash, being the CEO of Glitch, Function gets into the nuts & bolts of how this stuff works, not just why.
🥇 Where to begin? American as Apple Pie: How Racism Gets Baked Into Technology
Did you know Heroku produces a podcast? They do, and it’s pretty good. The hosts of Code-ish interview industry leaders and working professionals, so you get insight into the nuts and bolts of web development from a wide range of perspectives. But, because the hosts rotate episode to episode, quality is inconsistent and the interviews are sometimes rambling.
🥇 Where to begin? How to Prepare for Coding Interviews
🥇 Where to begin? Learning to code and gradual improvements
Produced by RedHat and host Saron Yitbarek, Command Line Heroes explores the recent history of computer science. This is all the stuff I want to know, but can’t make myself sit down and read, so it’s great to get it in an engaing audio format. The production value is top-notch and each episode features interviews with luminaries in the field.
iteration is probably the most developer-specific podcast on this list. Each episode goes in-depth into how as well as the why a given technology exists and works.
🥇 Where to begin? The Git Episode
Similar to Front-End Happy Hour, LNL is a ‘roundtable’ discussion of the news in Linux and open source technology. These are the sysadmins you wish you could hang out with. Yes, it’s Linux specific, but, if you’re a developer, what are you waiting for?
🥇 Where to begin? The most recent episode!
Hosted by Flickr co-founder Caterina Fake, Should This Exist? falls in the same category as IRL and Function in that it investigates the effects of technology on our lives. The twist? It looks at those technologies before they reshape our lives.
🥇 Where to begin? What Went Wrong with the World Wide Web - and How We Can Fix It
What are your best podcasts for web developers? Let me know on Twitter @jarednielsen
Producing and publishing a professional podcast is a time-consuming process. If you become a subscriber to any of the above, say thanks by checking out their sponsor offerings, buying promoted materials, or consider making a contribution.
I write a weekly newsletter where I share articles about programming, problem solving and lifelong learning. Join now