Imagine learning as you go, and there is no limit.
Would you like a panel of experts always be talking in your ear?
Imagine if you could learn just by listening…
In this post I’ll discuss why software developers should listen to podcasts and the benefits you can gain when doing so.
Why are podcasts important
You might be wondering, why are podcasts that important?
Why would I care to listen to them?
Well what if you’re working with Angular for example and you are just interested about the technology and want to learn more?
Well there is a podcast for that, podcast.js – No, I’m just joking.
Having a panel of experts talking about a certain topic or technology that you like is very useful.
Imagine what more you could learn by just listening to a couple of episodes on a podcast everyday.
Often at times an episode that discusses a certain technology can act as an intro.
Maybe you’re interested in something and you can then get a better context, or just learn a bit more from another perspective.
Using this method can be too useful if you want to “say up-to-date” with technology and it evolving around you.
Software development podcasts can be for anyone really, may be it that you’re a junior who want to become a software developer would highly benefit from listening to them.
Or maybe that you are a senior guy who want to learn about the new and upcoming stuff, or wants to listen to other experts in a particular field, podcasts are then for you too.
There is so many options to choose from. General programming podcasts, that are focused more on junior developers and very specific ones that focus on certain frameworks or libraries.
Who should listen to them?
I think anyone can benefit from listening to podcasts. Whether you’re just starting out in the industry or are an experienced senior developer.
It’s interesting to listen to podcasts because you’re constantly learning from influential people. I know this because I have learned so much more about the things I am interested in.
Hey look there is a new episode on Agile software development. I can then spend an hour or so listening to experienced developers talk about their experience with Agile software development. And maybe some of the problems they have had and how to resolve them.
Or maybe microservices. I enjoy learning about that, so I’ll queue all the episodes that discuss this certain topic.
What if I wanted to get more insight to Databases, specifically relational databases. Well there is an episode about that.
There are software development podcasts who don’t even talk about code that much, but interview famous people who have created a specific library, or work for a big company and so one.
Podcasts can come in many forms, discussing a very wide variety of different topics.
Specifically software development podcasts not only discuss languages and frameworks, but also the life as a software developer and some challenges you may go through.
Specifically if you want to know if you should go to college and pursue a degree? Should you go to college?
There are so many other programming podcasts that you can listen to, which I’ll discuss in a later section.
Listening to podcasts, specifically programming or software development podcasts, is a powerful thing.
If you’re an advanced and have a lot of experience to someone who is just starting you sure can take advantage of podcasts.
It’s all in the long run
Imagine listening to a podcast just for a year. This podcast could be about your favorite programming language, Ruby. The Ruby Rogues podcast does just that.
If you were to listen to a podcast for a year, imagine all the new stuff you’ll learn. Combining multiple insights, and perspectives from other people will change the way you think about software development and how to solve certain problems.
For example, Programming Throwdown has an episode on Design Patters where they discussed the most common patterns that you’ll likely to use every now and then. They producer/consumer or publisher/subscriber was mentioned and it completely changed how I thought I would use this pattern.
For example, they explained how it could be useful for a robot that scanned a room and then would publish its data to some consumer that would consume that data. This completely changed how I thought about using this design pattern.
They soon after talked about how to learn design patterns with the Gang of Four’s book Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software and described how it was an enthusiasts focused book and you’d have a much better time with Head First Design Patterns.
So imagine many more episodes like this. Ones that you listen to will eventually answer some questions that you had.
Listening to podcasts everyday and taking on other people’s perspectives will gradually change how you view something from another perspective and may help you write cleaner or better code because of it.
When to listen to them?
Okay, so you have me convinced that listening to podcasts are important… But I just don’t have time!
Okay, I understand what you’re saying. I wouldn’t have time either if I said I were going to sit down and listen to a podcast.
It’s a very focused task, concentrating and listening to the presenter.
But that doesn’t mean that is the only way to listen to podcasts.
You can certainly listen to a podcast when you’re doing things that don’t require a lot of focus.
Take for instance driving, lifting weights or running…
When I am driving I usually have an ear piece in and I’m playing an episode from one of my favorite podcasts.
Or when I am lifting weights, I am too most of the time listening to podcasts… But if I need to lift really heavily, I will switch to Metal, just for that lift, because Charles Max Wood just doesn’t cover it.
Or when I walk my dog Daisy, I will look forward to listening to a new episode.
Or even if I have to run some sort of errant at the shops, I will listen to a podcast.
So think of all the times in your day where you’re not doing something strenuous and can listen to a podcast.
Really, because they will benefit you so severely.
Earn your podcasts!
I follow the idea that I will only listen to two podcasts a day. One when I’m walking my dog, and second when I am lifting weights.
But I look forward to the specific podcast I want to listen to, I know which one I am going to spend my time on.
So keep that in mind if you are going to listen to something on your commute to work.
Okay, what podcasts should I listen to?
So there are a lot to choose from and you need to try each one out that you’re interested in and filter out the ones that are not your taste.
That can go a long way over guys who don’t have radio centric voices or who aren’t humors at all.
Unfortunately I just haven’t found any consistent and interesting Java podcasts out there.
I like them because they talk about interesting topics and bring on famous people like Cory House, John Papa and many others.
I also enjoy listening to other podcasts that talk about entrepreneurship or freelancing. They often discuss and provide good advice or solutions to problems they are facing.
Entreprogrammers is a fun podcast where you can essentially “be a fly-on-the-wall” (as one of the hosts said) and listen to a master mind group who discuss issues they may have throughout their week.
What qualifies as a good podcast?
Ultimately its whether you enjoy the presenters and the stuff they are sharing.
But if you’re looking for new podcasts, I would recommend that you choose ones that are consistent. Meaning that they update at least once a week.
Other than that, choose some where you enjoy the quality of the episode.
Realize too that you’ll one be able to consistently listen to a handful of certain podcasts.
Podcasts aren’t like TV shows. Each podcast episode isn’t build on the previous one, and you can certainly cherry pic the ones you want to listen to.
I usually queue up some ones that I want to listen to downloading them before hand and play them when I can.
Ultimate list of software developer podcasts
There are a ton of podcasts that you can choose from.
John Sonmez from simpleprogrammer.com compiled a nice list of the ultimate software developers podcasts, that I really think you should check out.
He says he always keeps it up-to-date with the top active podcasts that are popular today. So you won’t get podcasts that were last update in the year 2007…
Some of my favorites are the following:
Java Pub House. if you like Java specific podcasts, I would recommend Java Pub House.
But if you want to look at others, I would recommend you check out ultimate software developers podcasts instead and find your taste.
Okay, how should I listen to podcasts?
I almost forgot that I should tell you how to listen to podcasts.
Most podcasts are released as RSS feeds and to the iTunes store. But the majority of the time it’s just the iTunes store…
Well I don’t have an iDevice, so I can’t listen to them!
No, you can. On Andriod, on PC and so on, you can download or stream podcasts.
I’m on Andriod!
I have tried a few podcast-orientated apps for Andriod, and my favorite is Podcast Republic.
I’m quit satisfied with the features of this application as it’s very feature rich compare to other applications. You can lookup podcasts from the iTunes store, subscribe to RSS feeds and much more.
You can download and store podcasts for listening later or just stream it, like soundcloud. But unfortunately the stream isn’t compressed, so you’ll end with a 45MB data reduction after each stream.
Hey, I want to use my laptop man!
If you run VLC you can certainly stream any RSS feed based podcast that you’d like.
View -> Playlist -> Internet -> Podcasts.
No-no, I only use Apple stuff
You look like an Apple…
I don’t own any Apply stuff, so I wouldn’t really know how you would go about streaming or downloading directly from iTunes. But since it’s Apple…
They have probably made it super simple.
I have mentioned the word “podcast” 64 times in this article…