Production values aside, IT podcasts are frequently guilty of treating the audience like they are either an 83-year-old grandmother with only the vaguest notion of what a computer is; or alternatively expects that everyone listening was possibly the lead developer on the product under discussion.
Getting the balance right is as an art, but even when the sweet spot is hit, that doesn’t mean the podcast doesn’t still fall into the biggest pitfall of them all – being dead boring.
Top 10 Cyber Security Podcasts
This podcast is amazing. Each episode looks at a facet of IT security by exploring an incident in which it all went wrong. From a story about the malicious infiltration of the world’s largest oil supplier, to an investigation into the government backed Stuxnet virus’ unintentional release into the wild. There is even a how-it-happened guide to hacked ATMs spitting money out into the street. Each episode has interviews, analysis and a surprising amount of technical detail on cyber-attacks, infiltrations and international espionage, all while being completely enthralling and exciting.
This is probably the most popular podcast on the list and with good reason. Reply All’s mission statement is to share stories about how people shape the internet, and how the internet shapes people. This broad proclamation fails to dignify the scope in which the podcast creates content, rarely passively reporting on events passed, but instead actively investigating and becoming a part of stories, leading to extremely satisfying conclusions.
Stories include the tracking down of a snapchat account hacker and the return of a sort-after @username to the rightful owner; investigating the source and reason behind creepy recordings left on company answering machines and an attempt to find and recover access to a bitcoin wallet.
Hackable is a great podcast that has the simple goal to find out if a thing is… hackable. Each episode engages security professionals to try and hack a product – from a coffee chop public Wi-Fi to the top cloud service to “stolen” laptops. The production is top notch and the stories are generally great but it doesn’t quite reach the levels of adventure found in Reply All, or have stories as interesting as Darknet Diaries. One gripe that we can’t quite get over is that sometimes it treats the audience like they’ve never used a computer before, and then an episode later swings in the other direction and assumes professional level IT knowledge.
This is a news podcast focusing on Linux and Open Source news stories. Unashamedly aimed at those who work in tech, the podcast covers everything from DevOps to consumer devices and everything in between. Episodes are well paced and the content is fresh and well presented. Linux is already everywhere and integration is only increasing so this podcast is recommended listening even if you work in a Windows only environment (because in no time at all it will no longer be a Windows only environment).
TLDR is actually from the same creators and hosts as Reply All as this was their podcast before moving onto the Gimlet network. TLDR has all of the stylings that make Reply All great, however each episode is much shorter (often under 10 minutes).
Security Now is a weekly podcast that rounds up IT security news. This podcast is really only for IT professionals however the information obtained from each episode is invaluable for those everyone in technology support and development roles.
Malicious Life is similar to Darknet Diaries and investigates hacks, breaches and cyber-crime events in detail.
The Wired Podcast are bit sized recaps and direct reads of popular daily articles on the Wired tech site. The episodes only run a few minutes each so it is best to just let a few build up and then listen to them in order. Production is a bit inconsistent which is weird for such a big media company, with some episodes clearly narrated into an iPhone while sitting on the toilet. (echo, echo, echo).
This is a case of the content being more valuable than interesting. It is a mostly solo podcast for IT managers and looks at ways to manage an IT team, different management styles, project management tips and has quite few good topics. Each episode is about 30 minutes in length but often the key message could have been delivered in a much shorter space of time, the rest of the dialogue is just beating off in a bush.
Squarely aimed at IT professionals, the Hanselminutes Podcast covers a lot of different topics in the IT sector. Originally just focusing on development, topics now range from blockchain and computer graphics to IT management and career path analysis. The content is mainly just interviews and has no bells or whistles but they do get some name-brand guests and have some interesting conversations.