image credit Holger Prothmann via Flickr

Listen and learn: 7 great podcasts for young engineers

Image credit: Holger Prothmann via Flickr

Listening to podcasts is a great way to add to your knowledge, keep up with what’s happening in your field and be entertained – all in one go. What’s not to like?

With the huge popularity of journalist Sarah Koenig’s award-winning podcast Serial, which told the real-life story – in weekly instalments – of how American student Adnan Syed came to be serving time in jail for allegedly murdering his girlfriend, the question: “What podcasts are you following at the moment?” has taken over from “What are you reading at the moment?” in many people’s conversations these days.

Accessible via iTunes and other media distribution outlets, there are hundreds of podcasts covering every conceivable topic, and with so many to choose from it can be hard to know where to start. You can search in iTunes or your preferred podcast app for topics and speakers that interest you, but here’s our pick of some interesting podcasts for young engineers, apprentices, students and engineering graduates.

TED Talks

If in doubt, start with TED. The home of ‘Ideas Worth Spreading’ is a great place to kick off your podcast immersion, with hundreds of experts sharing thousands of hours of insight into their specialist areas.

The Engineering Commons

Hosted by four engineers, this podcast focuses on the challenges and opportunities of studying, teaching, and using engineering to bring about positive change and social good.

It throws out some great industry insights from its hosts, as well as guest engineers, based on their real-life experiences, with recent episodes including discussions on idle doodling, gears and environmental engineering.

The University of Oxford

Oxford University has an array of podcasts from thought leaders and academics across all its subject areas. Click on the link above and go to the ‘open education’ tab to search for topics that interest you, or look here for a list of engineering related podcasts.

The Engineering Career Coach

The Engineering Career Coach podcast is hosted by engineer turned author/speaker Anthony Fasano and former US Air Force civil engineer Christian Knutson. Their weekly show aims to provide career and personal development advice and information to engineers.

Listeners can even submit engineering career related or personal development questions here for possible discussion on future episodes.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

If space is your thing, then subscribe to the video and audio podcasts from Caltech’s NASA Jet Propulsion Lab for the latest space news, research and discoveries being made by spacecraft, and updates from the Curiosity Mars Rover and Cassini missions.

The Infinite Monkey Cage

For more science, but with a British accent, this podcast from BBC Radio 4 is a popular choice. Taking its name from the proposition that an unlimited number of monkeys, given typewriters and sufficient time, could eventually produce the complete works of Shakespeare, this witty and irreverent look at the world according to science is hosted by comedian and broadcaster Robin Ince and keyboard player/astrophysicist/national treasure Brian Cox.

Stuff You Should Know

On a lighter – yet still insightful – note, the Stuff You Should Know podcast is hosted by jovial chatterers Charles (Chuck) Bryant and Josh Clark, a senior writer at Their stated aim is – unsurprisingly – to educate the public about common things and how they work. Recent podcasts include ‘will we find evidence of aliens by their engineering’, ‘is computer addiction a thing’, and ‘the delightful history of steam technology’.


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