I am a big fan of audio learning material, because you can really tap into unused time that you would otherwise spend listening to music or just mind wandering. I always make sure that I have at least 1 audiobook and several podcasts on my phone so I can listen to them while driving, washing the dishes, lifting weights or doing anything else that doesn’t require me to think very much. I mean, I also love the feeling of sitting down and reading a “real” book, but in terms of self improvement they just can’t compete with audio material that basically adds 2 extra hours to your day. And since pretty much everyone that visits my site is interested in becoming a better programmer, I thought it would be a good idea to make a list of audiobooks and podcasts worth listening to as an aspiring software developer.
Now, of course you can’t learn actual coding through audio books and there is no point in listening to someone reading code snippets, but the following suggestions will help you improve your general programming knowledge as well as skills that are indirectly related to programming. They will also expose you to new ideas and inspire you this way.
Audible currently offers a 30-day trial with 2 free audiobooks of your choice. That’s a great way to listen to these books for free. You can find the offer under the following link:
The list is in no particular order and when you click on each headline, you get directed to the corresponding website or amazon offer.
Before we start, here 1 general tip: Try to get used to listening at a faster rate than the default speed. Audiobooks and podcasts are rather slow and you will get used to 1.5x or even 2x speed pretty quickly when you try it for a while. All good audiobook and podcast players have the option to increase the playback speed.
The Fragmented Podcast is hosted by Donn Felker and Kaushik Gopal and is a great audio source if you are an Android developer. I especially enjoy the “Effective Java” series where they explain concepts from the book “Effective Java” by Joshua Bloch in a nice accessible way. They also have interesting guests in their show from time to time and discuss various Android and general programming related topics like design patterns, libraries, graphics and general best practices. If you are a beginner and feel like these topics confuse you, I still encourage you to try to listen to them. In the beginning I felt overwhelmed by the content, but what I picked up while listening to this podcast later helped me when I eventually encountered these topics in my own work. It is a great way to get exposed to new ideas and concepts around Android programming in general.
Some of you might know John Sonmez from his Youtube channel “Simple Programmer” (now renamed to “John Sonmez”). I discovered his channel when I started to learn programming and he quickly grew to one of my favorite sources for general life advice. In his book “The Complete Software Developer’s Career Guide: How to Learn Programming Languages Quickly, Ace Your Programming Interview, and Land Your Software Developer Dream Job” he covers everything you need to know if you aspire a career as a software developer, starting from the choice of your first programming language, the decision wether to study in college, visit a boot camp or teach yourself, all the way to landing a job and working as a developer. It’s really the all-around survival guide for programmers. He recently published an audio version of this book and the ratings speak for themselves.
This book is not directly about programming, but it teaches you how to apply proven programming algorithms to real life problems so they can help you make better decisions in areas like dating, self-organization and business life. For example there are clear mathematical solutions to when you should stop searching for your perfect partner or job applicant and just take the next best. It can be a bit alienating if you are a romantic person or someone who believes more in intuition than in rational decision making, but since you are a programmer you probably have at least some tendency to the latter. I personally like it, because I know that human decision making can be extremely biased and inaccurate and a little math not only helps making better decisions, but also takes part of the burden off your shoulders.
Another podcast that I highly recommend if you are an Android developer. It is hosted by developers from the Android engineering team and a great way to learn about the whole Android system while doing something else on the side. They have very interesting guests and topics and a good dose of humor that makes this whole show very entertaining. I discovered it recently and since then it became a daily companion for me.
As a programmer it is very easy to neglect your health, especially when you enjoy what you do and lose track of time easily. Posture, exercise, diet – all that is important to keep your body and mind working properly so you can keep doing what you love – coding. There is a ton of material about health and exercise out there, which can be overwhelming, so it is good to have a book that is tailored to you as a programmer and which is backed by actual advice from doctors, scientists, therapists, nutritionists and fitness experts. Grab this book if you want to know how to improve your diet, get fitter and mitigate common health issues like back pain and carpal tunnel syndrome. (You don’t even have to sign up for a gym membership.)
Ok guys, I hope my little list was some help. If you don’t use audiobooks and podcasts for daily self improvement yet, I would really encourage you to try it out, because it’s a great way to learn in a busy life. Take care.