If you or someone you represent would like to appear as a guest on the Software Engineering Radio podcast, or if you have a topic that you would like us to cover, this page will give you some insight into our editorial process.
- The show is primarily topic-driven. In contrast to some content producers, we first decide on the subject and then look for an appropriate guest by researching the topic to identify who is active in that area. If you have the guest in mind, we ask that you submit a topic proposal, which should showcase why the guest is one of the best people to discuss that topic.
- We cover one topic per episode. We don’t ask guests to discuss multiple unrelated things about which they have expertise.
- We have a news release out about our latest product update. Do you want to have our CEO on to discuss? No. We do not cover news releases.
- I represent a guest who can talk about these three things. Do you want to have my guest on your show? We do not start with the guest, and we do not cover three things in the same episode. We start from a topic and then look for a guest to fit the topic. If you have a guest in mind, then submit a topic proposal on one single topic. Your guest should be an expert on that topic. Once we have a topic, the editor will attempt to place the topic with a host. That succeeds about 15% of the time.
- Most of our guests are software engineers. Guests need to be doing hands-on work in the topic space.
- Can our CEO come on your podcast and talk about our company? No. We talk mostly about vendor-neutral topics. We could possibly have someone from your company as a guest to cover a vendor-neutral topic in the problem space in which your company offers a solution.
- Can our CEO come on your podcast? We evaluate on a case-by-case basis, but many CEOs are largely performing a non-technical role at that stage of their career. The business leader CEOs are usually not technical enough for our format. If your CEO can write code or has a similar level of technical depth, we can have a conversation about it. If your CEO is not a great fit for us, we might ask you to suggest a different guest from the engineering part of your organization. Also, we do a small number of management topics where technical expertise is less critical.
- What type of guests are not suitable? In addition to the previous point about CEOs, we have very few academic researchers. That said, university professors and other researchers who cover practical topics that are of interest to software engineers working in industry might be a fit.
- Most episodes feature one guest. We occasionally interview two guests if they are complementary—for example, co-authors of a book.
- We talk about things that exist and how to build or leverage them. Topics such as “The Future of [topic X]” or “Trends in [topic X]” are not in our scope.
- We focus on business and enterprise software. We have covered gaming and simulation from time to time; mobile development is within scope. We do not do embedded systems or robotics as stand-alone topics, but we do cover IoT and systems in which devices participate.
- We aim at a generalist audience. We are a generalist software engineering podcast focusing primarily on programming. Our typical listener is a software engineer with five or more years’ experience in software development, DevOps, or managing people in those roles.
- Some topics within areas we cover are too specialized for us. If only a specialist could understand the topic, it’s probably out of scope for us. Such topics might be suitable for a specialist podcast in that area. For example, we have received a number of proposals on blockchain that required a considerable background in the area to understand the problem being solved. These topics would be a great fit for a specialist blockchain show, but not for us.
- We lean toward open source. We have no prohibition against topics related to commercial products, but the episode can’t come across as a promotion for a commercial product. It cannot cover features only; we must discuss some internals. All episodes will include at least some vendor-neutral discussion of the problem domain. Although we focus more on topics that are vendor-neutral and in the Linux world, we have also covered topics in the Microsoft and Apple spaces.
To get an idea of the topics we cover, please browse our archives.
Some core areas that we examine frequently include:
- programming languages
- data structures
- operating systems
- design and design patterns
- user interface
- frameworks of all kinds
- code style
- concurrency and parallelism
- test automation
- network protocols
- reliability and stability
- build tools
- orchestration and workflow management
- deployment and rollback
- software configuration management
- mobile development
- distributed systems
- data science
- machine learning and AI
- blockchain and crypto
- DevOps, DevSecOps, DevMLOps, Dev-✷-Ops
- capacity planning
- computer science – with practical implications
- infrastructure as code
- metrics and monitoring
- log aggregation
- on-call and incident management
- software bugs and debugging
- choosing the right tool for a purpose
- tools related to a topic that we cover
- case studies of how a problem was solved or how something was built
- how a product or system works under the hood
We sometimes cover topics that are in scope but secondary to our core mission, such as:
- agile processes
- other development processes
- effective teams
- career development
- training and mentoring
- job roles within software engineering
- soft skills for technical careers
- venture capital and startups
- job interviews
- software as a business
- academic computer science
- learning strategies
- teaching programming
Some topics are out of scope, including:
- computer science research
- how to market your website
- a company has released the latest version of their product
- projects not directly related to software engineering
- the story of how the guest’s business started from nothing and became successful in spite of numerous setbacks
- the future of [topic X]
- trends in [topic X]
- who is wining the [X] opportunity
- founding startups, how to make your startup successful, entrepreneurship
- what is the role of industry standards in [X]
- they use a lot of software in industry [Y]
- opinions about the industry as a whole, such as “is the software industry too (hype-driven|faddish|trendy)?”
- speculative or philosophic questions, like “can computer science research be applied to the real world?”
To Propose a Guest
If you or someone you represent would like to come on as a guest, please submit a topic proposal. The topic should be original to the podcast. We have published more than 600 episodes, so please start by searching our website to see if we’ve already covered your topic, especially recently.
Your topic proposal should consist of:
- Either five bullet points or a 200-word abstract.
- Links to any supporting materials by the guest on the topic (a book, published research, blog posts, slide shares, conference talks, open source projects, and so on).
- Any content communication requirements from the guest’s employer. (e.g. needs to approve the final audio)
We will evaluate your proposal in this way:
- Is the topic within our scope?
- Is this topic original for us (not too close to those we’ve already covered)?
- Is the guest the best person we could interview on this topic?
- Is this topic compelling compared to others in our queue?
The show editor evaluates all incoming topic proposals.
Those proposals that the Editor considers to be a good fit are passed to the hosts for consideration. The hosts are free to choose their own episode topics. The hosts in most cases prefer to come up with their own ideas.
We receive several hundred guest or topic proposals each year. We generally record 5 to 10 episodes from external proposals each year compared to 40-45 internally generated topics. External topics thus compete against not only other external proposals but also the hosts’ own ideas.
Once all the hosts have seen a topic, a successful proposal usually gets picked up within 24 hours. We can give you a response quickly once we reach that stage.
Topics with the best chance of approval by the editor and selection by a host have these qualities:
- Within our scope.
- Very technical guest.
- Novel topic to the show.
- Not too specialized.
- Guest has written a book, articles, given conference talks, or is involved with the open source project. We have had guests who have not done any of those things, but they will increase the guest’s chance of approval.
If a host wants to do your topic, they will reach out to schedule. The development queue is generally four-to-six months. After recording, the pre-publication queue is about 2 to 3 months.