Fifteen Podcasts for Devs to Enjoy
Mar 22, 2023
Andrew Clarkson cohost of Loonie Engineering with Chris Naismith admitted this week that he doesn't listen to podcasts and asked for some recommendations. I'm an avid podcast listener and have had this article on the back burner for ages. So Andrew's LinkedIn post is the carrot to get this article out.
Here's 15 podcasts for devs to enjoy. These are ones that I personally listen to. Five are tech related, five are ones I enjoy when I want to feed my brain but give it a break too, and five are about other cities and countries - including of course Aotearoa New Zealand.
Each list is in no particular order, but they are my top five favourite podcasts in each category.
Five Tech Podcasts to Enjoy
1) JS Party
- Episode 267: The future of React with Dan Abramov & Joe Savona
- Episode 252: Gremlins in the water with Paloma Oliveira
- Episode 229: WTF, JS? with KBall, Nick & Ali
- A huge cast of reoccurring awesome characters. https://changelog.com/jsparty
"A weekly pod(cast) about learning to code and how to get your first junior developer job. Best enjoyed with The Frontend Developer Career Path." This is a great one for new devs and those starting out on the adventure that is web development. Shows alternate between interviews with new devs, and senior devs and industry leaders.
One of the episodes features a dev here in Toronto. Hussien Khayoon, Staff Developer at Shopify Episode 84: Bootcamp Mentor Hussien Khayoon: Careers Come in Three Phases, and Here’s How To Navigate Them
- Episode 98: It's about Who You Know: An Introvert's Guide to Networking and Becoming Amazing at LinkedIn, with Stephanie Chiu from PayPal
- Episode 84: Bootcamp Mentor Hussien Khayoon: Careers Come in Three Phases, and Here’s How To Navigate Them
- Episode 62: How not to struggle with CSS, with Kevin Powell
"A Tasty Treats Podcast for Web Developers."
- Episode 516: Wes’ New Soundproof Office
- Episode 218 Potluck - Dev Culture Fit × Slack Communities × Vanilla JS × Backpacks × Raspberry Pi × More! This episode features a question from a Kiwi about automation in his "bach" (NZ slang for cottage)
- Scott Tolinski @stolinskiWeb Developer, Creator of Level Up Tuts, Bboy, Robotops Crew and Youtuber
Note: Wes Bos' free command line course has my terminal all customized, pretty, and way more efficient. Highly recommend https://syntax.fm
4) Loonie Engineering
"A Canadian software engineering podcast featuring two software engineers with a wide range of experience, discussing their uniquely northern perspectives." A totally awesome, well done, enjoyable and informative podcast.
This is a new podcast. Start at the beginning, or anywhere you like. You'll find something enjoyable and engaging.
- Chris Naismith Frontend Engineering @ Hopper, Engineering Mentor
- Andrew Clarkson Full Stack Software Developer @Universe, Host of Andrew's Coffee Chats, Junior Dev Hypeman, Future Pilot 🛩️ , Aprendiendo Español https://dev.to/loonie-engineering
5) Design Life
Listen to two women in tech talk about how they balance side projects on top of a full time job. Design Life is a podcast about design and side projects for motivated creators. It was born after your hosts, two serial side project addicts, saw a gap in the podcast market for a conversational show about design and the issues young creatives face, that was hosted by two women.
I highly recommend Design Life for devs that want a better understanding of the design process. Both hosts are fellow expat Kiwis (from Aotearoa New Zealand). I ran into Femke on YouTube in 2021 when I was still figuring out my career direction. When I reached out to her she awesomely offered that we have a Google Meet. Only to find out that Femke and I caught the school bus in Whitby, New Zealand on the opposite sides of the same street. It's a really small world!
- Femke van Schoonhoven. Design Lead at Gusto. Formerly of Wealth Simple and Uber. Femke teaches product design on YouTube
- Charli Prangley Creative Director at ConvertKit and YouTuber,
Bonus: Allied - An Accessibility Podcast
"A podcast on the people innovating and implementing access across industries." I included Allied as a bonus in the tech category as it's only partly digital accessibility. It's an awesome podcast for both A11y and accessibility in general. Allied tells stories, so it's an enjoyable one for listening to on walks.
Host: Elisa Lewis. Senior Inbound Marketing Manager at 3Play Media. She creates and produces educational content on all things video and web accessibility,
Five Podcasts With Engaging Stories and Interesting Facts for Curious Dev Minds
1) Stuff the British Stole by Marc Fennell
"Throughout its reign, the British Empire stole a lot of stuff. Today those objects are housed in genteel institutions across the UK and the world. They usually come with polite plaques. This is a series about the not-so-polite history behind those objects.
"Each episode, award-winning journalist, author and genetic-potluck, Marc Fennell, picks one artefact and takes you on the wild, evocative, sometimes funny, often tragic adventure of how it got to where it is today.
These objects will ultimately help us see the Commonwealth — and ourselves — today, in a different light."
Marc Fennell is one of my favourite podcasters and journalists. The twists and turns in his writing make every episode an engaging puzzle. With Stuff the British Stole, Marc makes difficult topics into wonderful stories that make you think. This is not just a "bad things about colonialism" series, it's also about what is being done to make things right and the people who are doing it.
- The Nigerian Kingdom of Benin and the centuries long story of the Benin bronzes - their theft and how a break in at Buckingham Palace led to their return centuries later.
- "A war. A ransom. And a stunning recovery mission. Five elaborately carved panels were buried in a New Zealand swamp to protect it from a war. Then 150 years later, they’re acquired by a British collector before being sold to a Swiss-Bolivian collector in Geneva.And their long journey home began when a kidnap ransom payment had to be made. This is the remarkable story of the Motunui Epa."
- "Māori facial tatoos "Ta moko", the colonial trade in dried Māori heads, and the story of how 600 were returned to Aotearoa New Zealand"*
Host: Marc Fennell Journalist with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC, but not the other ABC in the USA).
2) Lateral with Tom Scott
"A podcast about interesting quiz questions, and even more interesting answers, hosted by Tom Scott."
Start at the Beginning:
- "...questions about a 'born again' elevator, a bronze medal faliure, and a very expensive Danish supermarket"
Host: Tom Scott is an English "original generation" YouTuber from Mansfield, Nottinghamshire. As well as his Lateral podcast check out his March 2023 YouTube series on Aotearoa New Zealand (especially this one in Wellington, his years of "Things You May Not Know" and his Tom Scott Plus channel.
3) We Regret to Inform You: The Rejection Podcast
"The fascinating stories of successful people who triumphed over debilitating career rejection. And the insights those rejections provide."
If you're in a rut, frustrated with a job hunt, or having a serious dose of imposter syndrome have a listen to "We Regret to Inform You". Stories include Lucille Ball, Cindy Lauper, Mad Men, AirBnB, Breaking Bad, Women in the Boston Marathon, Netflix, and Back to the Future.
Host: Terry O'Riley and team
4) 99% Invisible
"99% Invisible is a sound-rich, narrative podcast hosted by Roman Mars about all the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about —the unnoticed architecture and design that shape our world. With approximately 500 million downloads, 99pi is one of the most popular podcasts."
With 581 episodes as of March 21, 2023 it could be hard to decide where to start. But they're all fun and full of unexpected stories.
My Favourite Episode:
- This episode about funiculars railways starts with the Wellington, NZ cable car and the the 100s of privately owned funiculars in the city. My Kiwi home town is built on the side of mountains, so 100s of people have built their own railways to get to their homes from the street. It's the Kiwi ingenuity and "just give it a go and get it done" attitude.
5) You're Dead to Me
""The comedy podcast that takes history seriously. Greg Jenner brings together the best names in comedy and history to learn and laugh about the past.""
- Episode 80: The History of Ice Cream
- Episode 94: The Terracotta Army
- Episode 78: Disability in the Ancient World
- Episode XX: The History of High Heeled Shoes
Host: Greg Jenner
Bonus: Nut Jobs by Marc Fennell
"It's the $10 million heist you've never heard of. In a matter of months, dozens of truckloads disappeared from American highways. But what were they carrying? Nuts. Marc Fennell takes you into a rabbit-hole of crime syndicates, stolen identities and private investigators that will change the way you think about food forever. 80% of the world's almonds are grown in the heart of California but this journey will take you to Italy; the Spanish coast; deep under the earth; and even into space."
- Gold winner of the Best Documentary Podcast and Best Serialised Podcast Trophies at the 2021 New York Festivals Radio Awards
- Winner of the Best Podcast Trophy at the 2020 Mumbrella Publish Awards
- Bronze winner of the Best True Crime Podcast at the 2020 Australian Podcast Awards
I'm a huge fan of Marc Fennell's work. I've listened to this series on Audible twice and it's such a plot twisty often humorous puzzle of investigative journalism. Nut Jobs is only available on Audible so it didn't make the main list.
Host: Marc Fennell
Five Podcasts About Other Countries and Cities - Including Aotearoa New Zealand
With remote work and flexible hours devs have the option to travel and/or live in so many different areas around the globe. Here are five podcasts I enjoy about cities and other countries. One of my other passions besides tech, knitting, good stories, and history is urban geography and travel. As a dual Kiwi (Aotearoa New Zealand)/Canadian citizen I've ended up with two from NZ on my top five list.
1) Kākāpō Files
"Voice of the Kākāpō - an audio adventure through the bumpy bumper 2019 breeding season of NZ's rare flightless parrot. Presented by Alison Ballance." Aotearoa New Zealand is a land of amazing natural beauty. Part of Kiwi culture is "kaitiakitanga" the feeling of responsibility for stewardship and respect for the natural environment. Directly translated from te reo Māori kaitiakitanga means guardianship and protection. One of the most well known stories is that of the Kākāpō who's scientific name means "owl face - soft feathered". They're the quirky birds that you can't help fall in love with.
At it's heart Aotearoa New Zealand a land of birds, and if you want to get to know the country and Kiwi culture and/or travel there a great place to start is listening to Radio New Zealand's "Kākāpō Files". The Kākāpō - very large flightless nocturnal parrots - are an iconic NZ treasure. Critically endangered, with only 248 left, every Kākāpō is named and their journey is followed by New Zealanders in Aotearoa New Zealand and around the world. The one in book above is named "Hoki".
Recommended Episodes: Though you could listen to the episodes in any order, they're written as a story. Start at the beginning with:
- Episode 01: Kākāpō - night parrot learn about the giant flightless parrot's 'love triangle' - with a tree.
- Once you're done the series get an update on the Kākāpõ with 2022 a boomer year for kākāpō - on the Our Changing World Podcast
- Host: Alison Ballance former senior producer at Radio New Zealand has produced over 1,000 environmental and natural history radio programs, written 29 books, and is currently working on her 30th.
2) The Life-Sized City
"As an extension of his television with the same name, Mikael has been curating a variety of podcast episodes for The Life-Sized City urbanism podcast. It’s one thing shooting the TV-series, but Mikael is privileged to meet so many brilliant minds on his travels for work around the world that he always brings a microphone with him, just in case a conversation gets interesting."
While you can start anywhere a couple of my favourite episodes are:
- Episode 14: The State of the Urban Cycling Nation in Paris
- Episode 02: Designing Skateboard-friendly Cities
**Host: Mikael Colville-Andersen
3) The Bowery Boys History Podcast - New York City
"New York City history is America’s history. It’s the hometown of the world, and most people know its familiar landmarks, buildings and streets. Why not look a little closer and have fun while doing it? The Bowery Boys, Greg Young and Tom Meyers, have lived in New York for the past 20 years and have been curious about the city since the day they arrived. Join them on The Bowery Boys NYC History Podcast, for a fun take on history, a “romp down the back alleys of New York City.”"
As of March 22, 2023 there are 441 episodes of The Bowery Boys podcast from over 15 years of writing and production, so you'll never run out of something to listen to. Greg and Tom are wonderful entertaining story tellers. They cover a wide range of topics: people, places, arts, culture, ... and technology.
- Episode 001: The very first episode: Unimate and the Rise of the Robots
- Episode 290: Bagels: A New York Story
- Episode 145: Bicycle Mania! From Velocipede to Ten Speed
4) History of Aotearoa New Zealand Podcast
"The Sweet As History of New Zealand! (Now an award winner!). Kia ora, gday and welcome to The History of Aotearoa-New Zealand" This is a well researched podcast that tells the story of Aotearoa New Zealand though it's birds, animals, land, and both Māori and Pākeha (New Zealanders of European descent) perspectives.
If you have kids , some of the episodes can be enjoyed by both school aged kids and adults.
- Episode 001: The Land That time Forgot
- Episode 007: Tuatara
- Episode 02x: Māui and The Fishes This is my favourite Māori story since I was primary school in Wellington. Great for adults and kids - family ("whānau") friendly.
- Episode 100: Bull'hit! A Game Show With Guests
(Note for those not familiar with Kiwi English "Sweet as" means awesome. It's not used like "Sweet as sugar". It's just "sweet as!"). https://historyaotearoa.com
**Host: Thomas Rillstone ** Customer support and insites lead at Goodnatue in Wellington, NZ, and B.Sc. Zoology and Genetics (He's also just really nice!)
5) Underground: Tales for London
"This collection of short stories distills the sweat and tears of the daily commute, along with the occasional magic of a Tube journey: where lives intersect and overlap, small kindnesses are exchanged, flirtatious eyes are caught, and journeys sometimes take commuters much further than they expected… Underground: Tales for London features original short stories by London-loving authors from across the world. Each story, written by a Borough Press author,"
Underground: Tales for London is 20 episode series of short stories and a book.
- Episode 20: Northern by Kat Gordon Set in WWII London
- Episode 07: Blackfriars by Matthew Plampin A late 1800s mystery based on real events.
Host: Produced by The Evening Standard newspaper written by 20 different fiction authors https://play.acast.com/s/underground
- Binary code heart: Alexandar Sinn on Unsplash https://unsplash.com/photos/KgLtFCgfC28
- Hoki The Story of a Kākāpō book cover by Alison Balance and Gideon Climo. Abe Books: https://pictures.abebooks.com/isbn/9781869620097-us.jpg