The best tech podcasts

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Time is one of the most precious commodities in many people's lives. You can't make any more of it, so we're all trying to save and manage our time as efficiently as we can.

Personally, learning to code while juggling a day job, 2 small kids and a range of other commitments - any tips or tricks to fit more in my day is met with open arms! Tuning in to podcasts turned out to be one of those multi-tasking tricks, allowing me to continue learning while I got on with everything else that had to get done.

If you're wanting to get started with podcasts, itunes comes with a built in podcast listener (overcast is also a popular iphone app). If you're on android I highly recommend pocketcasts from the play store. I've tried out a range of tech podcasts this year and here is a roundup of my favourites.

Protip: Try speeding up the audio in your podcast settings, more content in less time!

1. CodeNewbie

CodeNewbie was the first podcast I ever listened to and is the perfect start for anyone getting into tech. It introduces the listener to a broad range of topics they may know nothing about such as test driven development, graph databases, robotics and android development.

Although this is a tech podcast, it's focus is primarily about the people in tech, how they started out and their experiences. A new guest is interviewed each week and guests have included John Resig (creator of jQuery), Yehuda Katz (co-creator of Ember), and Chris Coyer.

The production quality is great in these hour long episodes and the host, Saron Yaritak offers thoughtful, intelligent questions of her guests.

Noob friendliness rating: 5/5

2. Toolsday

Toolsday is one of my all time favourite podcasts and covers the latest in web development tools, tips and tricks in 20-ish minutes. It is co-hosted by accomplished tech speaker Una Kravets and Chris Dhanaraj.

The format of the show is mostly Una and Chris talking web tools such as module loaders, pre-processors, browser dev tools and frameworks. A lot of this went completely over my head at first, but that was okay. Listening to this show was a fantastic introduction into what kinds of tools are being used in the industry and a vague idea of what they're for. When I'd learnt more I would go back and re-listen to episodes that were relevant to my new knowledge.

My favourite part of the show is the custom theme song that Una comes up with at the start of each episode. These presenters are a joy to listen to and their energy and enthusiasm for the industry is infectious.

Noob friendliness rating: 3/5

3. Shoptalk Show

Shoptalk is a weekly web development show hosted by Chris Coyier (creator of CSS-tricks and co-founder of Codepen) and Dave Rupert.

"Rapid Fire" episodes (which are my favourite and seem to be becoming the default format) involve Chris and Dave answering readers questions for 45-60 minutes. Some of the questions are high level ("should designers code?"), while others can be quite specific ("will I lose my google ranking if I switch to http2?").

Although some parts may be confusing for beginners, there's always something to take away from each episode and I found it an excellent "learn by osmosis" type of podcast.

Interview episodes have included guests such as Wes Bos, Sarah Soueidan, Paul Irish and Rachel Nabors.

Noob friendliness rating: 3/5

4. Front End Happy Hour

This is a panelist show hosted by mostly front end engineers from Netflix, Linkedin and Evernote. Each week the hosts choose a keyword where if that keyword is said, they all take a drink.

Episode topics have included performance, the future of JavaScript, career advice and accessibility. The panel does have a tendency to assume a high level of JavaScript experience so I'd recommend skipping the js based episodes if you're a newbie, but the majority of content is quite accessible.

Most episodes are around the 45 minute mark and this podcast has been consistently improving and maturing since it began in February 2016.

Noob friendliness rating: 2.5/5

5. Eat Sleep Code

This almost 3 year old podcast broadly covers the technical fields of software and web development. Episode topics range from .NET to scaling UI patterns so there's a little something for everybody. The format is usually the host discussing a narrow topic with one guest.

Although the podcast delves fairly deeply on its subjects, the hosts usually offer enough explanation to get the gist of things if you're aware of basic programming principles.

Noob friendliness rating: 2.5/5>

6. JavaScript Air

This is a technical panelist show focusing on full stack JavaScript. The host and panelist's extensive experience and authority on the subject, particularly Kyle Simpson, outweighs the lack of production quality on this 60 minute live broadcast.

Notable guests have included the creator of JavaScript Brendan Eich and Sarah Drasner.

I recommend this one if you love your JavaScript and are past the beginner stage.

Noob friendliness rating: 2/5

The main reason to listen to Developer Tea is that the episodes are short enough to fit into a tea break, approximately 15 minutes. The topics are broad but not very technical, which means you can start listening from your first day of coding.

Most episodes focus on one aspect of a developer's career such as networking, soft skills, continuous learning or mindset. Some episodes feature a guest interview although most episodes involve the single host offering advice directly to the listener.

Some of the content can get repetitive so I'd probably recommend picking and choosing specific episodes based on your interest instead of loading up every episode by default.

Noob friendliness rating: 3/5

Honourable Mentions

I wanted to also include some of the podcasts that I don't necessarily listen to regularly, but you might like to check out. Honourable mentions include:

This Week In Tech - a round table talk show discussing what happened last week in technology and related fields.

TechStuff - explains how specific technologies work (eg mp3 compression) and explores how the people and companies behind technology affect our lives and culture.

Ruby Rogues - a panelist show focusing on Ruby with topics relating to programming and careers.

Talking Code - short expert interviews that help you decode what developers are saying.

Javascript Jabber- a weekly discussion about JavaScript, front end development, community, careers and frameworks.

I hope some of these podcast suggestions help you find a few to enjoy.

Happy listening!

Jess Budd headshot

Jess is a senior software engineer and web accessibility nerd. When she’s not writing, speaking or tweeting about tech, you’ll find her putting together lego or going on walks with her doggo.