Founded in 2010, Udemy is one of the largest (in 2020) online education offerings available to the aspiring coder. Within our review, we found that they allows instructors to create material specific to the subject matter they are experts in and upload it, charging a fee for use. Anyone who is an expert in a topic can create a series of instructional material and upload it, often times in chapters. Udemy in 2020 has gained so much traction in the micro learning community, it is seen as a resource to college professors now too!
This means you get an extremely wide variety of topics from which to choose from development and coding to business, law, and even music lessons. Udemy (Official site here) has tens of thousands of courses and 6 million students currently enrolled in coursework. For the purposes of our review, we will stick with the coding and programming track, focusing on hard programming and web and mobile development.
The biggest difference between Udemy and any of the other course offerings online is its structure. Other online education facilities use a guided structure and courses to lead you through their paths. Udemy takes an entirely different tack. Their structure is one of a marketplace of learning, not unlike shopping at an e-commerce site. Udemy the official company has put an awesome introductory video that sums up what they are really about in under 2 minutes:
Udemy covers nearly any topic you can think of. From beginner to advanced, their coursework runs the gamut in all topics. There are approximately 35,000 courses available to be had, with the average course price running from $19 to $99.
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No formal certifications are offered, but the coursework can be learned at the students’ pace and not a formal classroom setting with regular sessions. Coursework is typically delivered via video and written instruction. Multiple forms of media are used to deliver the lectures and practical material to the student.
Anyone who fancies themselves an expert in subject matter may become an instructor at Udemy, provided they are willing to put in the time and effort to create the coursework. Therefore, it is essential that you look at the ratings and reviews posted by other students of the coursework being offered. Some courses may not fit the bill for you, or may not cover the topic in the way that you want.
As with an on-ground college, the teaching style varies from teacher to teacher, so each learning experience may vary widely from teacher to teacher. When you search for a course, you will be given multiple options to choose from delivered by multiple instructors.
Unlike some online schools, your progress is tracked, and you can leave notes for the instructors, most of which are responsive to their student base.You can take notes through Udemy and review them at any time. Teachers can upload video, PowerPoint, and various other documents for such things as notes, handouts, practical material, and exercises.
What will be delivered depends on the teaching style of the instructor and how they choose to deliver the course. Not all teachers will use the same materials or offer certain things. Your own learning curve will determine the usefulness of the course material and offerings.
Content by Industry Experts
As previously stated, almost 35,000 courses exist. That’s plenty of education to pick through in order to find the right course match for what you are trying to learn. Courses come and go, and there are no guarantees that a course that is offered right now will be offered in the future—that is at the discretion of the course instructor. Because Udemy is a marketplace of education, there are many courses from long, detailed coursework in a given subject to introductory or basic courses. On the bright side, if you didn’t get enough out of a class there will always be another course right behind it to bridge the gap on your path to coding education.
Udemy employs a robust search engine that helps you find the coursework you would like to study. Searching for a given topic is easy, and returns the most popular topics first so you will find the courses that people are taking right away instead of having to search through a mixture. You can sort or filter the results even further by choosing to sort by:
- Spoken language
- Age of course
- Student reviews
- Academic level
- Closed captioning
- Course Exercises
In addition to the search filters, students can rate the course on a scale from one to five stars, and what they feel is the appropriate knowledge level for attempting the course. These filters make it easy for you to find the course you are looking for, and know that it is a good value and will be worth an attempt before you buy the course. Whether you get a good education from Udemy will depend in part on how much you research the courses and their appropriateness before you commit to them.
You are free to take any course you are willing to pay for, but there is little usefulness in taking a course that is advanced beyond your capabilities. Also, taking a course with more practical work than you have time for can be a recipe for failure as well. The instructor may not be one that you care for. These are all things you can get a feel for from the student reviews and ratings as well as the detailed notes.
A first look at any course gives you the star level of the course, the number of students enrolled, a synopsis of the length and content, and what is included. If you find a course that you like, you can always add it to a wish list where you can revisit courses you were interested in but might not be able to take now.
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Careful, though—offerings on Udemy, unlike more static sites, come and go with the availability of the instructor and therefore a course you like may not always be offered. You can take one or more courses at once, up to your ability to keep up with the coursework. Much like an on-ground university, you are limited here only by your time and ability to master the material.
Further down the page, we can view the about section. In this area, we can see the most relevant student reviews, as well as full details about the course. System requirements, language, expectations, and goals are spelled out here. Alternate courses are also recommended by Udemy that have similar traits. So, if you’re curious about whether you will be able to complete a Udemy course on your machine, or whether the course is for you, this is the place to go to find all the fine print.
Accessibility and Support
Udemy is tuned into the needs of disabled and impaired learners. Besides the fact that Udemy is accessed entirely from the student’s own system, some courses are offered with transcripts and closed captioning. However, at this time, the majority of courses do not offer all of these accessibility features; therefore, a student must use the accessibility feature to determine whether or not a course will be sufficiently accessible to them.
Support varies across Udemy, because the lessons are not centralized and are instead instructor-driven. Most instructors are helpful if you get stuck, need answers, or are having problems completing the course exercises. Some instructors may take longer to get back to you than others; however, this is no different than taking on-ground courses where students are often at the mercy of a professor’s office hours.
Since students rate the courses, though, it is in the best interest of an instructor to provide the best course experience they can at Udemy. It is through providing a superlative educational experience that a course moves upwards through the ranks to become one of the favorites, and only the better educators who invest the time and effort are going to be able to meet the crucial balance between cost and content while providing excellent delivery. This leads to value, and is the driving force behind positive student ratings and reviews.
As with everything at Udemy, lesson and course quality varies from instructor to instructor. You should pay heed to the reviews and the recommendations before taking a course so that you have a better idea of the quality of the coursework you are getting into. Once again, anyone can be an instructor at Udemy but that does not necessarily mean that everyone should be.
That means that the quality of given courses from the most popular to the bottom can vary to a level of extremes. Use the search features at your disposal and pay close attention to feedback from former students and you should have a good experience.
Subscriptions and pricing also vary widely due to the depth and breadth of subject matter being taught. However, the adage “you get what you pay for” applies, so don’t let the concept of paying more for a course that is more intensive run you off from the idea.
Every teacher charges a different amount and may offer packages of coursework for a fee. The nice aspect is that you can take courses in a linear fashion and you only pay for the courses that you want to take, and it is always free to browse the marketplace of courses.
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Udemy offers a lot of great content. The lessons and professors at Udemy may vary widely, but you are bound to find a course that is adequate for you. When you do find a course that you would like to take, a reliable teacher often teaches them, and they are easy to follow. It may take time to find exactly the course you are looking for.
That is one consideration with Udemy, you need to know what you are looking for. If you need to be led into the world of coding (what what is coding) and learn what it is that you still need to know, sites like Lynda and Treehouse provide a more structured approach. But if you know what skill sets you need to adopt, Udemy is a great place to get an education and decide on courses and prices that you can afford.
Don’t let the myriad course offerings stop you—go to Udemy.com and shop the marketplace for a course in development and you are bound to find a course at your academic level in your field of interest. You may need to brush up on job skills for a new career path or revisit old skills to hone your abilities. Either way, Udemy is a great way to get the knowledge you need from an expert at a price you can afford.
Looking for an alternative? Need something with a little more structure? Check out our reviews of Treehouse, Lynda, and Code School. Outside of Treehouse which is an online monthly subscription plan, Udemy is by far the best and most affordable way to up your skills in education.