The best podcasts for people who love all things data

In the quest to absorb all we can the data world, reading blog after blog can get a little tiring. As we’ve explored the world of data podcasts, we’ve come across several big ones that we’d love to share here (with a major h/t to @mattfogel on Medium, who has showcased many of the same podcasts).

Podcasts are a door into unparalleled insights. We find them to be the best way to get the most perspectives on a subject, and certainly an efficient way to change things up when we get too comfortable in one routine. By listening to multiple podcasts, we’re sure to never get too stuck in one topic, especially once we’ve found podcasters whom we trust to bring a good variety to their shows.

What we like about the podcasts below is that they all concentrate on something a little different under the blanket of data: from data science news, to visualization, discussions about big data—and sometimes just using data to inform other big stories from the week.

So whether you listen to them on your commute, at your desk, when you’re stuck on a project, or as you fall asleep, take advantage of these great resources. They’re sure to provide you with viewpoints you wouldn’t have found on your own. And better yet, they’ll keep you sharp as you continue to master the ever changing field of data science.

Data Stories

Data Stories, hosted by Enrico Bertini and Moritz Stefaner, presents bi-weekly discussions, interviews and stories focused data visualization. Bertini teaches students all about data as an assistant professor at NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering. Stefaner is a researcher and design consultant who’s helped companies like FIFA and the OECD to make the most out of their big data.

The highlight of their podcast is their ability to draw on experts, from reporters at the New York Times to Scientific American, and even authors of popular design books. Most recently, they’ve created a parallel channel with video to make it a little easier to, well… visualize.

It’s clear that they genuinely enjoy what they’re talking about, and their backgrounds in teaching and consulting make it wonderfully easy to follow.

Be sure to check them out! They’re available on iTunes as well.

Hot Takedown – From FiveThirtyEight

On the other end of the spectrum we have the folks over at Hot Takedown, which is a brand new podcast from the masterminds over at FiveThirtyEight. Hosted by a mix of FiveThirtyEight editors and sports journalists, the show tries to make sense of (and ground) some of the “hype” talk that surrounds most sports.

From issues of how to improve the NBA draft, to making baseball more exciting, they would make any data scientist swoon with the amount of info that they pack behind all of their discussions.

Straight from the horse’s mouth:

“Hot Takedown will try to measure the emerging narratives of the week (e.g., Pete Carroll made the worst call in football history at this year’s Super Bowl) against richer data (e.g., maybe Pete Carroll knew exactly what he was doing.)”

As a fairly new podcast (the first episode was launched in March), it’s sure to only evolve from here. New episodes drop every Tuesday, so the topics are sure to always be pretty fresh. It’s definitely a great way to mix your love for data science with what’s going on in the rest of the world (OK, the sports world).

Partially Derivative

If you want to bring data into the rest of your life, but you’re not so much of a sports nut, then this may be the alternative for you.

As they’d say it, Partially Derivative is a show about “data, data science, drinking, and awesomeness!” But to be a little more specific, they’re a pair of guys who love to drink, and love to apply data to the driving topics of their week. From Game of Thrones, to zombies, to predicting traffic jams, they cover a delightfully broad range of topics with a surprising amount of depth.

Chris Albon is both a political scientist and a data scientist. Jonathon Morgan is a technologist and data scientist, as well as a startup executive. Aside from both being very excited about the topic of data (and alcohol), they both bring genuine voices of expertise that aim to inform and entertain at equal rates.

The Data Skeptic

The Data Skeptic podcast is essential if you would describe yourself as a novice data scientist, or simply aren’t well versed on the technical side of things. They provide two formats on a rotating basis: “Mini” episodes, hosted by Linhda (their resident “non-technical” data scientist), which last 10-15 minutes and best suited for beginners.

The other format features longer interviews and stories about interesting topics as they apply to the data science world (e.g. Oceanography, Credit worthiness, or Personalized Medicine).

IBM Talking Big Data

Continuing to propel itself forward as a leader in the enterprise big data game, IBM was shrewd to create the Talking Big Data podcast. Each episode is rife with big data experts many of whom are from IBM. The topics range from warehousing and analytics, to information management and social marketing.

To say the least, it’s a fairly technical podcast, best suited for folks who are looking to improve their enterprise systems. Regardless, if you need to freshen up on some of the nitty gritty topics, there are guys are sure to be a great help.

O’Reilly Data Show

Finally, there’s the Data Show. In line with O’Reilly’s reputation as a Big Data expert, the podcast is hosted by their Chief Data Scientist, Ben Lorica, and features a well-rounded guest-list of experts from across the data spectrum.

If The Data Skeptic is beginner friendly, the Data Show is, well, expert friendly. While the topics are extremely relevant to current news in data science, they don’t shy away from getting into the tickets of any given issue, diving into more technical aspects rather than simple application of data principles.

Whatever your needs are in a data podcast, there’s something in this list for everyone. Take advantage of some free time that you may have in the car or before bed this week to sharpen your data science knowledge in a way that you may not be used to. Your expanded knowledge can only help you as the industry continues to grow.

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