Being truly good at anything means not just doing that thing: it means thinking about it, all the time. This is especially true for web development: because the field is moving so fast, simply sitting at a computer doing the work barely allows the developer to keep pace. To get ahead, you have to spend time researching and thinking, considering new best practices, technologies, and perspectives.
One of the best ways I’ve found to achieve this is listening to web development podcasts while I’m cycling to work, doing household chores, or walking between classes. In the two years since my last review, several of my favourite podcasts have foundered or faded away, but they’ve been replaced by new shows. My daily web development playlist now includes:
Hosted by the smooth-voiced Jonathan Cutrell, Developer Tea originally took the approach of short 10-minute shows - as long as it might take you to drink a cup of Earl Grey - but has grown over time to include 30-minute multi-part interviews.
Despite Jonathan’s very strong technical background, Developer Tea focusses primarily on “soft skills”: effective learning techniques, working in groups, and interview skills. Episodes are very frequent: expect to receive three or four a week in your podcast feed.
Hosted by Chris Coyier and featuring the founders and growing number of CodePen employees, CodePen Radio is an excellent opportunity to take an unfiltered look behind the scenes at the growth of a web services startup. Episodes are delivered weekly and usually 30 minutes long, covering topics as diverse as security, funding, and swag.
Short, sharp and punchy, the Front-End Five podcast is sponsored by CodeSchool, and takes the approach of quickly discussing several web development techniques, articles or resources that the hosts found that week: perfect for listening to during short walks. Episodes are usually five minutes long.
An excellent conversational podcast between Val Head and Cennydd Bowles talking about motion in design, which has recently completed its first season. The most specialized podcast in this list, and richer for it: if your work involves any kind of animation, I strongly recommend adding it to your podcast feed. As of mid-2016, Motion and Meaning has completed its first season: here’s hoping that Val and Cennydd decide to do another one!
The only podcast that I’m aware of to focus exclusively on Scalable Vector Graphics, SVG Immersion is an excellent roughly-monthly look at the people and technologies behind SVG, hosted by Rob Levin. Early episodes cover the basics of SVG, while more recent recordings focus on contributors to the technology.
These should be enough to start any web developer at any level of expertise. But if you have particular favourite podcasts that I haven't mentioned here or in previous articles, please feel free to add them in the comments below!
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