From This American Life to Making Obama, Chicago is home to some of the most informative and popular podcasts in the world—and as a leading tech hub, the city is also the birthplace of a number of coding, tech, and entrepreneurship podcasts that can make time fly on any developer’s commute.
Below are eight shows where you’ll find regular, entertaining lessons from the best and brightest of Chicago’s tech community.
Black Tech Unplugged
Black Tech Unplugged tells the stories of black people in tech. Created and hosted by Chicago’s own Deena McKay, each episode explores the struggles a different developer or technologist has been through to get where they are today, as well as the resources that helped them on their journey and advice and guidance they have for anyone on the same path.
McKay says she started the podcast because she often felt alone in the tech world as a black woman. She has since met tons of amazing black colleagues, and Black Tech Unplugged is all about telling their stories. The show is a fantastic source of inspiring and interesting stories—and a great way to get to know some of the most influential people in Chicago’s tech scene.
Chicago Customer Success Podcast
The Chicago Customer Success Podcast is a must-listen for any developer working for or building their own SaaS company.
The show is hosted by a group of Chicago-based SaaS professionals (Joe Huber, Jenn Arevalo, Ryan Moline, Scott Berry, Gary Marroquin, and Colin Espinales) who are passionate about the customer journey and how it impacts every level of a business. Their goal is to shed light on all the areas of a business that contribute to strong customer relationships and discuss how each area can be improved.
Episodes are released monthly and address a different customer success-related topic, such as goal setting and team building. If you’re working as a developer in a SaaS organization, this podcast is perfect for developing a wider understanding of what customer success actually looks like.
Java Off Heap
Java Off Heap is a monthly podcast about the latest news and technologies concerning the Java programming language. The show is hosted by four Chicago-based friends and Java experts who all bring a different perspective to the discussions:
- Freddy Guime is a principal developer at Expedia.
- Bob Paulin is an IT consultant and open-source enthusiast who contributes to Apache Tikka, Apache Felix, and Apache Sling as an ASF member.
- Michael Minella is a developer, author, speaker, and JavaOne Rockstar who currently works for Pivotal.
- Josh Juneau is an application developer and system analyst who currently works on the OSS Initiative for the Chicago Java Users Group.
If you program in Java and are looking for a fresh perspective, there’s no better podcast to listen to.
Java Pub House
If you like the sound of Java Off Heap, then you’ll also love its partner podcast, Java Pub House.Guime and Paulin started Java Pub House after realizing that no other Java podcasts tackled the real problems that a Java developer is likely to face in their job. As Guime and Paulin say, “We don’t need another ‘hello world’ podcast, but instead, we want to discuss the advantages or disadvantages of using the console for logging output!”
Java Pub House is an excellent source of Java information and has grown a large, engaged audience across the globe. Join them today by downloading any of the 80 previous episodes, and keep an ear out for the next monthly episode.
Rework is a podcast by Basecamp that explores better ways to work and run a business. The show is hosted by Wailin Wong and Shaun Hildner and based on the book of the same name by Basecamp cofounders Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson.
Each episode explores a different theme from the book. People from within Basecamp join the conversation, as do small businesses owners who have employed some of the book’s principles. If you’ve read Rework, work remotely, or are interested in learning about ways to improve the way you work, this is a good podcast to subscribe to—you may also be interested in Basecamp’s retired podcast The Distance, which tells the stories of established companies that have celebrated 25-plus years in business.
Tech Done Right
Tech Done Right is a podcast from Table XI, a custom software development company from Chicago. Hosted by Noel Rappin, Table XI’s director of development, the show focuses on the people and companies who care about building things the right way.
The concept of “done right” isn’t limited to software development. The podcast also covers building teams, companies, careers, and communities. The conversations don’t often get into the nuts and bolts of writing code, but more into what software development should mean. This includes discussions with industry experts on best practices like coding for accessibility, documenting team processes, and onboarding new hires.
If you care deeply about what you do, you’ll love hearing from Rappin and his guests every two weeks. And if you can’t wait that long between episodes, there is a back catalog of 56 episodes to download and dive into.
The Technori Podcast with Scott Kitun comes directly from WGN Radio and Technori, Chicago’s largest startup platform. Each episode, Kitun is joined by a leading tech entrepreneur to discuss how their startup came into existence and what it is doing to change the world. You’ll hear about inspiring stories and spectacular failures, as well as advice, rants and hilarious quips from Kitun himself.
Kitun isn’t just a great presenter. As Technori’s CEO, he has his finger on the pulse of Chicago’s startup scene. That allows him to probe guests with insightful questions and add colorful commentary where appropriate.
If you’re interested in learning more about what makes successful (and unsuccessful) startups tick and how you can build a change-effecting company yourself, Technori is perfect for you.
The Private Equity Funcast
The podcast covers every aspect of VC funding, from fundraising and deal sourcing to growing companies. It’s a fantastic source of information for any developer interested in building their own startup one day—especially because so few podcasts actually come from the perspective of VCs. Mathews and Milbery are incredibly open about their own experiences, but they also interview other leaders in the VC world and members of their own team.
Podcasts aren’t the only way aspiring Chicago developers can learn more about coding. Fullstack Academy is the #1 bootcamp by students in Chicago, offering a software engineering immersive program and the deferred-tuition Grace Hopper track for women and non-binary students.