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There are a Kardashian buttload of IT podcasts out there. Unfortunately the amount of those podcasts that are actually worth listening to are more in the quantity of a Caitlyn then a Kim.

“Caitlyn says she is being pressured by Kim to get a butt lift”
Yeah So this is a headline I read today…

For every tight, informative and well produced podcast, there are myriads more that seem to exclusively feature four-hour single-topic episodes that still somehow fail to impart any actual information. Mixing a podcast before it goes out into the world seems like it should be a no-brainer, but the number of podcasts where this just isn’t the case is alarmingly high.

If your podcast features one host who seems to be eating raw carrots and pop-rocks directly into the microphone, while the second host sounds like they are 30 feet away in a room with the acoustic properties of a public-toilet then your audience wont stick around, regardless of your content.

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.

Here are our top 10 IT podcasts (that are actually interesting). Click the images for links.

Our Categories for ranking:

Interest

How interesting the content is likely to be to those folks who would consider themselves “generally interested” in technology. If the subject matter is a patch for an ultra-niche library used by approximately 13 people around the world, then the rating is going to be a big ol’ zero. If the content includes glitter, girls and hand grenades while still somehow managing to be about IT then we’re giving it a 5.1 because that sounds hell’a exciting.

Smarts

The assumed IT level of the listener. If a podcast’s top tip of the week is how to change the desktop wall paper than it is getting a -4, while a score of 5 presumes the average listener works with computers and knows their away around most IT concepts.

If a podcast assumes the audience is intimately familiar with deploying redundant SCADA hybrid-switching systems using low-powered devices in multiple distributed Kubernetes clusters, then that podcast gets to make up its own number, as no-one else is listening anyway.

Production

Easy. Scores of up to 5 for objectively good production quality, less as the quality starts dropping letters. If you’ve found a podcast with a 0 score than you’ve already stopped listening to it in less time that it took to read this sentence.

Vimes Top 10

Contrary to how we normally do it, we’re going to start with the best one first.

#1 Darknet Diaries

Interest 5/5
Smarts: 4/5
Production:5/5
Podcast Frequency: Fortnightly

Vimes says: 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.

Favorite Episode: S01E10 – Misadventures of a Nation State Actor. A government employed hacker shares stories of being directed to hack other governments, with the cost of discovery being an international war.

#2 Reply All

Interest 5/5
Smarts: 3/5
Production: 5/5
Podcast Frequency: Fortnightly

Vimes Says: 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.

Favorite Episode: Episode 102 & 103 – Long Distance. When host Alex receives a scam phone call while live on the air, he goes to truly extraordinary lengths to identify the scammer and uncover a hidden industry.

#3 Hackable?

Interest 4/5
Smarts: 3.5/5
Production: 5/5
Podcast Frequency: Fortnightly

Vimes Says: 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.

Favorite Episode: Start at the start. S01E01 – The Evil Twin

#4 Linux Action News

Interest 3/5
Smarts: 5/5
Production: 4/5
Podcast Frequency: Weekly

Vimes Says: 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).

Favorite Episodes: This is a news podcasts so just jump in at the latest episode.

#5 TLDR

Interest 4/5
Smarts: 3/5
Production: 5/5
Podcast Frequency: Discontinued

Vimes Says: 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).

Favorite Episode: S01E01 – Something is Going to Happen in 7 Days. This is the first ever episode of TLDR but is a good one. Talk about creepy content!

#6 Security Now

Interest 3/5
Smarts: 5/5
Production: 5/5
Podcast Frequency: Weekly

Vimes Says: 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.

Favorite Episode: This security news podcast it not really applicable for relistens so no favorites here, however the episode titles will tell you enough to jump in on episodes of particular relevance to you.

#7 Malicious Life

Interest 4/5
Smarts: 4/5
Production: 3/5
Podcast Frequency: Fortnightly

Vimes Says: Malicious Life is similar to Darknet Diaries and investigates hacks, breaches and cyber-crime events in detail. Technically the production quality is fine and should be a 5, but we’re only giving it a 3… because we’re assholes and can’t get over the bizarre accent that the host has… sorry.  

#8 Wired Podcast

Interest 3/5
Smarts: 3/5
Production: 3/5
Podcast Frequency: Multiple times per day.

Vimes Says: 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).

#9 Manager Tools

Interest 2/5
Smarts: 4/5
Production: 4/5
Podcast Frequency: Weekly

Vimes Says: 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.

#10 The Hanselminutes Podcast

Interest 3/5
Smarts: 5/5
Production: 3/5
Podcast Frequency: Weekly

Vimes Says: 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. Don’t try listen to every single episode however as the podcast strays far to frequently into boring territory. Pick your episode carefully and the listening experience should be a good one.

Leroy Butts

Leroy Butts wishes people would start calling him Big Leroy, but knows they probably wont. He is a lover of fiction, technology and design and is an editor and columnist for VIMES. When not making dick jokes on the internet, Leroy is a Systems Administrator and IT Security Consultant. Leroy also writes on his personal site Astronaut.Garden
Leroy Butts

7 thoughts on “The 10 Best IT Podcasts (That Are Actually Interesting)”

  1. Cool. I’ve not heard of Darknet Diaries but now i am excited. Love reply all, probably my favorite podcast.

  2. “we’re only giving it a 3… because we’re assholes and can’t get over the bizarre accent that the host has…”
    Spoken like a true American…

  3. Awesome article! Your list includes some really good podcasts! You covered a lot of my personal favorites, specifically Hackable?.

    Well done! I listed some of my favorites in my own article. I put together a list of Best IT Podcasts for our company: https://blog.qemploy.com/best-it-podcasts-2019/
    There’s so many good podcasts out there, so this was just the best that I know.

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