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Oct 22

Udemy vs Lynda

By Jeremy Kallowitz | Course Wars

How convenient would it be to bring the classroom environment into the comfort of your home?

Udemy and Lynda (recently absorbed into LinkedIn Learning) are online providers that take common learning techniques such as lectures and practice exercises out of the classroom to people globally via the internet. These classes can be accessed anywhere internet is available, making it possible for a student to learn at home, work, or even a coffee shop if they wanted!

Lynda and Udemy specifically focus their content towards adult aged people who already have experience in the working world.

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Disclaimer

 It allows customers to educate themselves on their own time and invest as much or as little money they feel necessary.

These two online learning courses each have their own benefits, leading to the question: Which is better? This Udemy vs Lynda review will go over the basic offerings of each, so you can get a good idea of what will best enhance your instruction and educational development.

Udemy: Description & Review 

This learning site is primarily focused on providing a platform for people to teach and learn about a topic of their choice. Going against other websites that offer classes online, Udemy uses a different technique. Instead of selling college courses, they allow people to sign up and make a course themselves to then sell for a profit. This also differs from massive open online courses because you do not receive college credit for completing a class.

Here are some of the features of Udemy that stood out in this Udemy vs Lynda review:

Lifetime Access

When buying a class, the student does not have to commit to a certain time frame to complete it in. Once a course is paid for, the buyer has lifetime access to those recourses. This allows people to learn at a pace and time that is most convenient for them.

Eliminating timelines and added pressure will make this information more likely to sink in and provide a better learning experience. It is Udemy’s goal to offer a service that ensures unlimited learning potential in a much more accessible way.  They have an app for both iPhone and Android users in order for twenty percent of their customers to access their content on the go.

Business Development Opportunities

Another service that is offered by this company is Udemy for Business. This allows businesses to pay for their employees to take certain classes that will improve overall success.

These companies can select from over 2,500 courses, ranging on topics from technology to design. Giving employers an opportunity to customize a course plan can guarantee their workers are learning the exact skills they need and in a consistent manner.

Udemy also has the capability for the bosses of these companies to see how well their employees are doing on the courses. Having access to these learning patterns is crucial in making sure the content is understood.

Subject Matter Experts and Certifications

Udemy’s courses are taught by subject matter experts and some classes can give the student credit towards a technical certification. Dependent on the teacher, some classes may be cheaper or even free.

Diverse Course Selection

One of the great things about Udemy is the wide variety of class options there are. For instance, many businesses and individuals nowadays recognize that an important precursor to succeeding at work is a healthy lifestyle. If you want to start living healthier to improve your life in all aspects, there is a course offered called “Nutrition Masterclass: Build Your Perfect Diet & Meal Plan.” As busy as life can be in the working world, it is imperative to keep your body healthy which will make your mind healthy, too.

This company offers courses that will improve your life in more ways than just work.

Udemy Program Specifications

  • Over 14 categories of classes to choose from
  • Price dependent on specific course
  • PowerPoints, live classes, and discussion boards are among available resources
  • Customizable based on needs/wants

Pros

  • Over 80,000 course options
  • Customizable business options
  • Lifetime access
  • No reoccurring fees
  •  Mobile accessibility

Cons

  • No free trial option
  • Only technical certification credit options, not college credit

Lynda (LinkedIn Learning): Description & Review 

Lynda is a website that focuses on offering mostly software, business, creative skill and technology courses. It is also an online resource for learning that is not college-based content. For many years, Lynda was a site for its founder Lynda Weinman’s students to have access to her teachings and books. As the website progressed, it started offering multiple courses focused on producing creative leaders and entrepreneurs.

A review of Lynda vs Udemy brought out these interesting differences:

Customizable Learning Platform

Lynda was eventually bought by LinkedIn and incorporated into a customizable learning site. By combining the job portfolio aspect of LinkedIn and the teaching platform from Lynda, a website was born that can suggest courses based on your work experience and current employment.

One of the biggest differences noted in this Lynda vs Udemy is the customized recommended content based on current job and experience. When linking these two accounts together, LinkedIn Learning can generate recommended classes based on the customer’s skill level and interests. They also suggest classes that other professionals in related fields are taking. This gives the buyer an extremely customized list of the best options to better themselves in the environment they work in.

Extensive Networking Options

Another premium feature this company offers is the ability to contact people one may not be connected with already on LinkedIn.

This allows the opportunity for workers to reach out to other people who might have insight on a certain job or to receive professional advice. It also allows the buyer to see who has looked at their profile in the past ninety days and gives them more information on potential competition for jobs they are interested in or have applied for.

Downloadable Courses for Ease of Access

One of the ways this company caters to its customers is by offering a downloadable option for all classes. Lynda knows people do not always have access to the internet when they want or need it.

By allowing people to download content on their mobile app, it guarantees wherever they are, students have the ability to spend time on their coursework. This further extends the opportunities to promote education passed school age.

Team Development Opportunities

They also offer classes for not only personal improvement but team developing as well. They promote assigning classes to employees to keep them productive and up to date on new skills or technology that might be newly implemented in the workplace.

With technology constantly changing, Lynda offers courses that can help keep people up to date. It can also prepare potential promoting employees stay on the upward movement by giving them the skills they need for proper leadership and management.

Monthly Subscription—with a Free 30-Day Trial

One thing to note in this Lynda vs Udemy review is the difference in payment options. With Udemy, enrollment is a one-time purchase. LinkedIn Learning is a monthly, subscription-based company. They offer a thirty-day free trial for anyone interested to try it out.

Within that monthly subscription, a customer has access to over 12,000 courses in five different languages. These languages include English, Spanish, French, German and Japanese. There is no limit on how many courses a subscriber can watch. With new classes being added every week, this gives the customers access to many different options and unlimited skill learning potential.

Videos for Personal Development and Success

In any job, it is important to know your strengths and weaknesses. A highly viewed and to the point class called “Discovering Your Strengths” is available on LinkedIn Learning. If you find out that one area where you need further development is productivity, a course called “Enhancing Your Productivity” is also available.

Find new elements in Udemy and Lynda

The more you promote the more you will earn in these websites 

These general skill-improving videos take you back to the basics when it comes to how important self-awareness is in being successful.

Lynda (LinkedIn Learning): Program Specifications 

  • Business, Tech, software and creative skill categories
  • Monthly or annual subscription
  • Combines teachings with LinkedIn account
  • No limit on class amounts
  • Quizzes and practice sheets available

Pros

  • Over 12,000 courses and more added every week
  • Unlimited access to classes
  • Recommended and customized options
  • Offline accessibility
  • Premium LinkedIn perks

Cons

  • Monthly cost in order to receive unlimited access
  • Non-refundable but able to cancel subscription at any time

Verdict - How Can I Try Online Learning?

As has been seen with this Udemy vs Lynda review, both online learning initiatives have a lot to offer, and each one is beneficial in its own ways. This may not be a learning style that is for everyone, but it is worth a try. For anyone that is on the go or enjoys learning on their own time, you would be a great candidate to try out these new educational systems.

If continuously learning about yourself and new skills is appealing to you, a subscription to Lynda is a smart investment. The benefits of a personalized list of suggests and unlimited class selection are worth the money.

Best of all, you can sign up for a LinkedIn Learning 30-day free trial. If improving your professional skills is something you are thinking about trying out, there’s no better way than a free trial. It is given as an option for customers to feel out the waters. The extremely knowledgeable teachers will undoubtedly pass on useful information, and the many resources will ensure an easy learning process.

For someone already aware of the areas and skills that they need to work on improving, purchasing an Udemy class on that subject is a beneficial move. It is the quickest way to purchase only what you need and gives you the opportunity to take your time and soak in the information the experts will teach you.

Oct 17

Cognitive Class (Previously Big Data University) Review

By Jeremy Kallowitz | Course Provider Reviews

Cognitive Class is an online school offering courses which teach data science, AI, and computing. As a prior student who's completed multiple courses I would like to share my experience with potential newcomers.

Perhaps you're interested in Cognitive Class for its data science curriculum. Especially, because they're formerly known as Big Data University", so data science is what they really specialize in.

The reason for the companies name change was to appeal to a broader audience. However since the companies founding Data Science has been their main priority and still is. I took their DS course and will breakdown its pros and cons with you.

We make some money when you purchase a product from a link on our website. If you found the content helpful, please use the link to get to the chosen provider of your choice. It doesn't cost you a thing and it helps us put out great content. The money involved does not effect the ratings of any given product or service, we just link to an affiliate if there is one available after we write the article.

Disclaimer

Course Material - 9/10

Ranked #2 best free online data science course by Forbes. Receiving an average of 4.5 stars from over 3,000 reviewers. The course is a smash hit and users everywhere are recommending others to Cognitive Class.

You can learn python for data science and machine learning. Students agree its the complete data science course with hands on programming. Each course will take on average 22 hours to finish. After completion you are rewarded with a badge/certificate

.Users who have had previous computer science experience will have an easier time than beginners. From my experience it was very beginner friendly but still advanced enough to challenge a computer science major like myself.

IBM is one of the largest technology companies in the United States. They founded <em>Big Data University</em> and then rebranded the company to its new name Cognitive Class. So the courses are made by one of the most credible and massive corporations in America.

Customer Service - 8/10​


Unfortunately the customer service is not really there. There's only an email for support. Without a phone number or chat box it makes immediate solution for simple problems seem impossible.

There is a huge community of students and open forum board to post in. Most questions posted on this community board are usually resolved very quickly. In case you wanted to try something aside from email support.

Pricing - 10/10​


Save money with Cognititve Class, actually save all your money! It's completely free. That's as good as it gets which is why the pricing receives a 10 rating. You should sign up for a free membership now and start learning today.

The customer service may not offer phone support but that's because it's a completely free to use website. Most free to use things don't have premiere features like incredible customer support and that's ok! We're perfectly happy with its quality and being free.

Conclusion

If you want to take your data science learning to the next level there is a more advanced course. As a beginner I really liked the Cognitive Class data science course. However I learned more later on from th​is coursera course.

Starting a new career in IT making 100k a year is possible. You just need to prove you have the skills to be hired. Sign up for the Cognitive Class courses which are completely free. Once you've earned your badges then go learn from coursera to complete your curriculum. Afterwards you can look for work programming if you've truly mastered the skill.

Wondering what the best course provider is for what you want to learn? Take a look at our easy to understand comparison table below to fully understand the best options available to you.

Oct 10

Skillshare Review | Is It Worth It?

By Jeremy Kallowitz | Course Provider Reviews

Thanks to the internet, people can gain knowledge from sources beyond universities and school. Online education is becoming increasingly more important as aspects of our society shift. Learning in this manner is easily accessible. Anyone from around the globe can learn new things.

The first wave of online education mimicked the more traditional ways of teaching. Like teaching someone face-to-face, these early incarnations had the same form and content. Teachers would deliver lectures via audio files or slides, and students would listen. But recent developments allow these lessons to be more interactive, and they fulfill the potential that their digital status offers.

We make some money when you purchase a product from a link on our website. If you found the content helpful, please use the link to get to the chosen provider of your choice. It doesn't cost you a thing and it helps us put out great content. The money involved does not effect the ratings of any given product or service, we just link to an affiliate if there is one available after we write the article.

Disclaimer

Skillshare has developed out of this online education revolution.  When it was established in 2012, the platform offered only 15 courses. Today, it’s grown into so much more. The website is now an international e-learning environment that has over 15,000 courses and 2 million students signed up for their services. They even have some well-known influencers enrolled such as Gary Vaynerchuk (social media), Marc Ecko (branding), Guy Kawasaki (business), and Seth Godin (entrepreneurship). 

Skillshare Logo

In this Skillshare review, you’ll learn all you need to know about what the platform offers. You’ll also have some common concerns answered, like “Is Skillshare a scam?” and “Is Skillshare worth it?” You’ll also learn how it’s different from other services that offer the same or similar opportunities. Through all of this, you’ll get an accurate sense of whether it’s something that’s worth checking out.

What Is Skillshare?

Skillshare is a community that is completely based on the internet. It’s designed for teachers to pass on real-world skills to students. These skills can be discovered on the platform by simply browsing through specific categories. Students learn these skills with the help of classes that are project-based.

The way the site is set up allows students and teachers an opportunity to access courses, content, and presentation related to almost any subject they’re interested in. These subjects vary and include business, cooking, crafts, design, DIY, gaming, fashion, film, marketing, music, photography, technology, and more. 

Professionals seeking to teach other tricks of their trade can utilize this site as well. They can do this simply by creating and publishing a class.

This platform’s entire mission is to empower both students and teachers. It gives users a way to improve their lives, perform their passion, and excel in their career. Skillshare is an online learning community that guarantees that their users will have access to high-quality learning.

What It Has to Offer

Skillshare homepage

As of today, you will find that Skillshare has more than 23,000 classes that are dedicated to developing skills. Of these courses, many of them focus on well-known and useful topics. Topics are dedicated to the arts, business, graphic design, cinematography, motion graphics, technology, and a vast number of other topics. Many of these subjects are either extremely useful to today’s job market or are expensive to pursue in traditional education spaces.

With over 2 million students from around the world connected through this online learning and teaching platform, you have access to so many different perspectives. On Skillshare, you can find all different types of interactive lectures. They’re presented in the English language and very easy for most people to grasp.

Those looking to teach on the platform have the opportunity to earn a big boost to their overall income. They also offer a premium membership for their platform that allows people to access an unlimited number of items from their library.

The Benefits of Skillshares

Flexible to Diverse Learning Objectives

Skillshare is a tool that is very useful to students who have different learning needs or objectives. It’s a platform that has a robust amount of content. The courses and classes that they have are aimed to improve, enhance, or expand your set of skills.

Whether you’re looking to add some useful tools to your belt or are wanting a refresher on a topic you’re familiar with, Skillshare has courses that can help you.

Shared Learning Experiences

When you use Skillshare, you’ll see that they don’t offer classes that are just one-on-one. Some people will see this as a disadvantage. However, this focus on a shared learning experience allows students to share their insights and perspective with each other.

This not only gives students a chance to learn unique skills but also allows them to widen their worldview. This setup is also useful as students can offer each other support and gain networking opportunities in fields they’re interested in.

The platform is specifically designed to enhance and promote creativity. Their use of video lessons and project creation helps students unlock this creativity.

Community and Networking for Teachers

Skillshare isn’t designed to just help students looking for a unique learning environment. The platform makes it easy for teachers to join their network. Those looking to teach can simply create a class, add a class description, and publish their creation.

The tools that Skillshare provides for teachers makes creating their classes an easy process. The site also gives instructors a step-by-step guide to creating and publishing their content and allows you to promote it by building a channel.

Lucrative for Professional Development

Additionally, the platform helps creators, entrepreneurs, and professionals earn extra money. Skillshare offers compensation for instructors when students enroll in their courses and watch their instructive videos lessons. They can also earn some extra money by referring students to the premium subscription membership.

Membership Benefits

If students take advantage of this membership, they gain access to the complete catalog of premium courses. They can also view classes offline if they opt for the premium membership. However, offline classes can only be viewed through the Skillshare mobile app. Those not interested in paying the premium price can easily access the free courses that Skillshare offers.

Notable Features

Skillshare has a number of features that both students and teachers can utilize. These features include the aforementioned referral program, class creation and publication tools, building channels, free classes, networking opportunities, a shared learning experience, and offline viewing for premium students. Other features that have been around for a while are the high-quality learning materials they offer and their catalog of premium classes.

While the features listed above have been a part of the platform for a while, Skillshare has recently introduced quite a few new features. These features include helpful tools that make broadcasting and finding courses easier and that offer the ability to attach files. These additions and more help make the process of creating courses and experiencing the course easier than ever. 

  • Skill Tags. As an instructor, you can use skills tags when you create or edit a course. You can add up 5 of these tags. The purpose for teachers is to increase the discoverability of the course. As a student, this new feature can now narrow down your search to what you specifically want. Students can also follow these tags to help personalize the classes they’re recommended from the platform. 
  • Upload Video Lessons. Instructors are now able to upload their video lesson directly from their desktop to Skillshare. This means that your courses are hosted on the website, and exclusive to only your students on the platform.
  • Interactive Project Steps. The platform is specifically project-based, which makes the project step an integral part in teaching and learning on the site. Skillshare has recently stepped up this feature by allowing teachers to expand what they include in each step. Instructors can also determine how students interact with each project step.
  • The process is easy. Teachers can add rich text and attach photos directly from a computer for every step in the project. This gives teachers the ability to display information exactly how they want in each step.   
  • When students take a class, they can now expand and collapse each of these steps. They can now check off the steps they’ve completed and even mark off an entire unit when they’re done. This makes tracking their progress with lessons extremely easy.
  • Attach Files to Videos, Steps, & Resources. If for some reason, an instructor is unable to fit all the information they want into a course, they can now attach documents and files. This includes extra information about a specific project step, a slideshow, or a .psd that a teacher may find essential for students to have.

Who Is Skillshare for?

If you feel that there are areas or skills that you want to learn or expand to improve your life, then this Skillshare review is for you. The courses offered can improve your performance in business and your personal life.

Many of the classes they offer also give you the tools you need to grow professionally. They grow your business skills so that you can pursue your passion as a career. It doesn’t matter if that area of interest is in a certain field or is freelancing. Skillshare’s ultimate goal is to assist people to improve all aspects of their life.  

Who Is It Not for?

If you feel that you know everything there is to know about your field and your skills are perfect, then Skillshare may not be the best fit. If you find that you’re being judgemental of the courses offered in your area of expertise or reluctant to take them, this platform isn’t for you. This space is best for those who are open-minded and eager to learn.

How Much Does It Cost?

With so many features, you might think that a subscription to such a service will come with a hefty price. However, Skillshare is pretty affordable, and it has a few options for you to choose from.

 If you want, you can just become a free member. As a free member, you can browse and participate in a lot of courses at no cost to you whatsoever. Sometimes, instructors will provide links to free premium content to promote their classes.

Another option is for you to pay monthly. The monthly cost is $15 and gives you unlimited access to every course. This is virtually the same price as a Netflix subscription and way more affordable than taking a class at university or college.

If you want, you can pay for the whole year. With this subscription, you either pay $8.25 monthly or you pay out one payment of $99 per year. If you end up loving the service, this subscription will save you 33 percent each year.

For those struggling financially, Skillshare is still an option for you. If you want to use Skillshare but can’t afford it, then you can apply for a scholarship. Skillshare offers scholarships that can take 50 to 100 percent off their price. Be sure to read their terms of service before applying to ensure that you’re eligible. To test whether Skillshare is right for you, you can also sign up for a free one-month trial.

Pros & Cons

While Skillshare has many advantages and pros, it’s not completely free of issues and mistakes. The following is a look into the pros and cons of the platform.

Pros:

  • There are a wide number of teachers on Skillshare who offer insight that is invaluable and put a real focus on interactive teaching and learning.
  • It’s super easy to use; anyone can upload a standardized class on the platform.
  • The video quality of even their free video content is of high-quality, especially when compared to the majority of YouTube videos.
  • Once you’ve finished your course, you can share what you’ve completed with the community members on Skillshare.
  • The design of the platform is well-developed, straightforward, and engaging so users can easily navigate their way around.
  • The price is a lot more affordable than traditional classes and popular online learning platforms.

Cons:

Courses that aren’t as focused on creative pursuits don’t quite have that high-quality standard. Plus, these courses have lectures that tend to be a bit shorter.

The selection of courses that are creativity-driven is slim.

Skillshare doesn’t put a restriction on video length. With no standard, you can find videos that are 10 minutes and videos that are a few hours.

The learning process, while interactive, might not be for everyone. If you learn better by just listening to lectures or reading materials, you might struggle with the website’s setup.

A Look at Courses Offered

Intro to Surface Pattern Design: Learn Adobe Illustrator | Create Patterns. Artists and graphic designers can find numerous courses similar to this one. This course provides aspiring designers and artists some tips and tricks to learning Adobe Illustrator, a valuable tool in both job fields. The course focuses on the creation of repeating patterns, which can be used by freelancers and entrepreneurs to advance their career. This class starts with the very basics and builds up to more advanced techniques to give you the knowledge you need to begin designing.   

Context Is Key: Social Media Strategy in a Noisy Online World. Mastery of social media is essential for those looking to start their own business. Companies use social media to tell their story and build their brand. This course teaches you how to develop a social media platform that will develop results. The instructor promises to break down how to utilize all the major platforms — Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr. The teacher for this course is an expert in his field, working for brands like PepsiCo and GE.

This course promises to teach you how to build long-term relationships with your customers. It gives you the skills to customize your content so that it’s appealing to your specific audience. It offers real-world examples of social media accounts that work and ones that don’t so that you can apply them to your own campaigns. 

Context is Key encourages students to create their own platform while going through this course. If you don’t have your own brand, you can try to create a social media strategy for your favorite brand.

Introduction to SEO: Tactics and Strategy for Entrepreneurs. This course on Skillshare is focused on helping those interested in entrepreneurship. It teaches students tactics and insights that they can apply to their content. These tricks optimize your content and show you how you can organically raise your online presence. This class is advertised as offering bite-sized lessons that are easy-to-follow.

This class will work for everyone. SEO is a marketing strategy that doesn’t change across industries. The fundamentals gone over in this course can be applied universally.

At the end of instruction, students are invited to work on a project to put their new skills to the test. They’re encouraged to share their own SEO method by optimizing a blog post based on keyword research.

Is It a Scam?

Skillshare offers interested users a 1-month free trial to help you answer the question: Is Skillshare worth it? It’s a good offer that many subscription services have.

People who do sign up for this free month but don’t enjoy their experience sometimes find that after that month is up they get charged for the next month. This isn’t a scam like many people claim. It’s just that to get the free trial you have to sign up for a subscription. If you don’t cancel that subscription, you’re going to get charged like you would any other service. Just make a note in your diary or reminder app to cancel if you don't like the service.

Why There Are Complaints

If you look at other Skillshare reviews and feedback, you’ll see that there are a few complaints. You’ll also find that many of the articles question the validity of the platform. With a closer look at these complaints, however, you’ll notice that there are easy solutions.

Here are a few complaints you might run into when looking at other feedback and Skillshare review and the solution to them. 

  • The most common complaint is that a person forgot to cancel their subscription after their free trial. They expect the platform to remind them, but that’s not a common practice for any subscription service. When you cancel your subscription at least a few days before the trial ends, you’ll avoid all disputes and charges. You can cancel by going to your payment settings and do so.
  • Another complaint also deals with money. Quite a few people don’t feel comfortable giving out their credit card information for the free trial. As a legitimate business entity, the company has a physical location with real employees. However, it is based online, so payment information has to be collected this way. Collecting this information when you sign up for the free trial allows you to easily transition to the actual subscription when you’ve decided that Skillshare is right for you. It also filters out people who try to take advantage of the system by signing up using multiple email address.
  • Users who have tried Skillshare sometimes say that they never had the time to take any classes. This is understandable. Skillshare can actually help with that issue. They offer courses on time management. This will help you prioritize what you want to do, including taking other Skillshare classes.
  • A less common complaint is that people can’t find a course that they’re interested in, even though the platform has a wide range of topics. However, if you feel they might not have what you’re looking for, you can always browse their courses before signing up. You can browse their full list of courses here. This will let you know if there are classes that you’re actually interested in. 
  • An outdated complaint in itself, people use to complain that there was no way to see if a class was outdated. The site has actually tackled this problem. You can now browse through the course and filter them by their date of creation. You can also filter classes by how popular they are and which ones are trending.

How It Compares to YouTube

When you compare Skillshare to other online learning platforms, it beats them in almost every category thanks to the low price and high-quality content. But, how does it compare to a completely free service like YouTube?

When you look at both the production quality and the quality of the content, Skillshare comes out on top. While some YouTube videos have good production quality, they often lack organization and structure. The professionals teaching at Skillshare ensure that their video content has both. Also, Skillshare doesn’t pester its students with advertisements or other unrelated videos.

Skillshare also offers you an incentive to really learn. Since YouTube is free, you’re less likely to stay committed to learning what you want. The $12 that comes out of your bank account every month is a great reminder that you should be bettering yourself.

The most crucial feature that Skillshare has over YouTube is that it puts what you’re learning into practice. You’re given tasks to complete to ensure that you’re using what you’re taught. This practice helps create the neurological pathways needed to really cement these new skills into your brain. With YouTube, you’re left struggling to remember what was said.

Is Skillshare Worth It?

Deciding whether Skillshare is worth it or not is a pretty easy task! In this review we've gone over the biggest factors in favour and against Skillshare and this should help you decide if Skillshare is worth it for you. The next step is to sign up for a free 2 month trial and get exploring the different courses!


Other Options To Consider

While Skillshare is a great resource for a ton of different categories of learning, there are other options available. If you're looking at learning technology based course for instance, you may want to check out our Pluralsight review. You can also check out a comparison table below of the most popular choices.

Oct 02

Udacity vs Coursera: Which Is Better?

By Jeremy Kallowitz | Course Wars

The development of the internet has resulted in exponentially more options that were not available before. Its accessibility has changed lives in every way imaginable, and while this often means an influx of available goods and services to choose from when one is in need, it also refers to a highly available access to education that has never been seen before.

There are plenty of online courses programmed that assist people of all grade levels and various understandings to learn new concepts. These range from crash courses and semester-long courses to online colleges and universities.

We make some money when you purchase a product from a link on our website. If you found the content helpful, please use the link to get to the chosen provider of your choice. It doesn't cost you a thing and it helps us put out great content. The money involved does not effect the ratings of any given product or service, we just link to an affiliate if there is one available after we write the article.

Disclaimer

I myself have experienced this range of educational platforms, having tried both Udacity and Coursera, which led me to ask by the time I was done: Which is better between the two? 

Of course, they would have to be deconstructed in objective advantages and disadvantages as well as the various needs of its potential clientele, but I had my own things to say about these establishments. In this Udacity vs Coursera review, I’ll give you the overviews and insider insights for which of these online programs educational platforms works best.

Udacity

Coursera

Course Variety:

6/10

9/10

Course Quality:

5/10

9/10

Course Affordability:

6/10

9/10

Impact On Resume/CV:

6/10

8/10

Sign Up:

Udacity

Udacity is a platform that was founded by Stanford instructors with the purpose of making education accessible and affordable for an extensive range of individuals via artificial intelligence. It has seemed to achieve just that through its various available programs and hiring partners, with a heavy concentration on developing advanced technology.

They offer five different schools for its studies:

It has a wide multitude of available paths as well, including but not limited to Machine Learning, Robotics, Virtual or Augmented Reality, and Mobile and Web Development.

Within these schools, Udacity offers a wide assortment of subjects that can be rare and difficult to find among other institutions, such as Artificial Intelligence, Computer Vision, Flying Cars & Autonomous Flight, Self-Driving Car Engineering (see our review of their self driving car nanodegree here), and more. It is a highly specified institution that promotes accessibility to technology-based degrees and research regardless of one’s personal background.

These were some of my thoughts on the platform:

Pros

  • Developed with the deliberate intention of being accessible, affordable, and doable.
  • At least sixteen career paths available in pursuing their studies.
  • Offers about thirty different kinds of nanodegrees.
  • Provides career services such as resume review, practice interviews for technical job opportunities, and career consultations.
  • Partnered with big names such as AT&T, BMW, IBM, Mercedes-Benz, Uber ATG, and many more.

Cons

  • Strictly offers courses relating to science and business, discouraging potential individuals who want to partake in the fine arts, liberal arts, medicine, etc.
  • Only offers up to a nanodegree in terms of educational certification, which many people are not looking for when seeking out online courses.
  • Not extremely affordable considering the certification, as nanodegrees can cost up to $999, or $84 a month when signing up with Affirm, but sometimes as low as $599 as a one-time payment, or $50 a month with Affirm.

Coursera

Established in 2012, Coursera is an online education platform that caters to a wide range of individuals and their needs in intellectual spaces. They also excel in technology-based education, but offer courses in many different subjects. They award degrees ranging from a course certification to university-level authentication.

Its most highly regarded courses include but are not limited to:

  • Coursera Data Science Specialization (Check out our review here)
  • Algorithms, Part II, courtesy of Princeton University
  • Econometrics, courtesy of the National Research University of Higher School of Economics
  • Programming Languages, Part A and B, courtesy of the University of Washington.

In addition to these, Coursera also has popular courses such as Learning How to Learn, Programming for Everybody, and Neural Networks and Deep Learning.

As you’ll notice in this Udacity vs Coursera review, accessibility is a major factor in how well a school ranks. Coursera, not unlike Udacity, was developed with the idea of accessibility very much in mind. The courses offered, the levels of degree offered, and the many different platforms that Coursera adheres to in order to better serve their students are all very indicative of the school’s values and desire to help as many individuals as they can.

Regardless of the looming “Coursera vs Udacity” comparison, here was what I had to say on the institution itself:

Pros

  • Can be initially joined for free.
  • Largely affordable, as courses are $29-$99 for a 4-6 week period, specializations are $39-$79 per month for a 4-6 month period, and degrees range from $15,000-$25,000 for a period of 1-3 years of study.
  • Partners with a large number of prestigious schools and enterprises, such as Columbia University, the University of London, University of Copenhagen, the Museum of Modern Art, Google AR & VR, National Geographic Society, and many more that can be easily found on their website.
  • Offers course certificates, specialization certificates, professional certificates, Master Track™ certificates, and degrees.
  • Structures classes a vast assortment of ways (video examples, community discussion pages, etc.) to facilitate everyone’s different intellectual needs as well as strengthen one’s understanding by expressing it in various mediums.
  • Has correlating apps for both Android and iOS to optimize the learning experience.
  • Offers video subtitles in over thirty global languages.
  • A generally diverse institute, with students from 95 different countries.
  • Its website is extensive and provides a large amount of information on the school to better inform its readers and potential students.

Cons

  • While the courses are vast, the degrees and certificates are mostly limited to science and business subjects, making this institute not ideal for those who do not want to pursue said career paths.
  • Pricing varies, and while at times it can be very affordable, it can also skyrocket depending on the certification and/or degree you choose to pursue (specifically a university-level degree).

Comparing Udacity and Coursera

Affordability

When considering the two educational institutions, and acknowledging the many aspects that separate Coursera vs Udacity, I certainly felt that Coursera was the right platform for me. It had more course variety than Udacity, and ended up being more affordable for the route that I wanted to take.

Certificate and Degree Level Attainment

I also wanted to attain a certificate or degree over what Udacity can offer its students. I have a better idea of how the professional world views a variety of certificates or university-level degree than how it views the nanodegree that Udacity provides.

Because of the familiarity that Coursera was able to offer in regards to certificate and degree level, I was more comfortable pursuing my studies with them and knowing exactly what I was going to get out of it.

Range of Specializations

Additionally, I liked the fact that Coursera had specializations while still providing classes that maybe did not fall into said subjects, like their humanities and arts courses. That made me feel as though even if Coursera had its area of expertise, just as Udacity does, it can still offer a wide range of knowledge that I can take advantage of if I so please.

Coursera also offers a degree for public health, which Udacity does not. The two both have hints of business education, however.

Reputable Partnerships and School Credibility

I felt that Coursera had a stronger foundation of partners than Udacity did, which in the end made it seem like a more credible institution.

Udacity had strong names associated with it as far as former students who were hired once they received their education, but Coursera is affiliated with both universities and companies that are universally known and renowned. They also appeared to be a much more worldwide school, serving students of many different backgrounds and thus being revered in return.

In the end, I thought that Coursera was significantly more competitive than Udacity was in terms of not only my education, but the companies that would be more willing to hire me once I received my certificate or degree. I was more impressed by the way Coursera treated its students and its brand as an educational institution when it came down to it.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, what I took from my experience with the two online schools is that the wiser decision would be to sign up for Coursera. They simply offer a wider range of courses, a wider range of ways to access the courses that better align with one’s personal needs, and their certification and degree options (as well as the pricing that came with them) was just a better deal for me.

I was impressed by Coursera’s commitment to accessibility, diversity, and of course, knowledge. Their affordability encouraged me to take the next step, especially because of their association with top rated, world class universities and institutions. I knew that Coursera was the right choice for me very early on, and I was not disappointed.

For those considering online courses and degrees, I highly recommend looking into what Coursera has to offer. Like I mentioned, it is initially free to join, and if you are pursuing technology, business, or public health, Coursera likely offers something you would be interested in with the degree or certification you would most prefer.

Get Certification in Udacity and Coursera

Get  various understandings to learn new concepts in this course

The first step for the rest of your life starts now, and I feel confident that Coursera will be a part of it. It is never too late nor too soon to pursue a degree or certification, and Coursera will more than likely meet the needs you seek.

If you're looking for a monthly solution to online education, I highly encourage you to check our Pluralsight review and if programming is your main interest you may want to check out our comparison of Pluralsight vs Treehouse.

Sep 13

Pluralsight Vs Treehouse – Which Is Better?

By Jeremy Kallowitz | Course Wars

This post is written by one of our guest writers James Mckenzie.

Are you considering a high paying job in the IT field? Now a days it's possible even without a college degree. What really matters is your skill set and level of expertise.

With just a few tests you can earn IT certifications which quickly lead to big salary jobs. Everything you need to know can be learned from Treehouse and Pluralsight.

I've personally used both websites and studied their courses. There a pros and cons to each but they serve a purpose. Trust me, if I went from unemployed and broke in 2017 to making 100k this year than you can too.

We make some money when you purchase a product from a link on our website. If you found the content helpful, please use the link to get to the chosen provider of your choice. It doesn't cost you a thing and it helps us put out great content. The money involved does not effect the ratings of any given product or service, we just link to an affiliate if there is one available after we write the article.

Disclaimer

Treehouse

I used Treehouse first because the consensus is that it's better for beginners. Its courses are not as advanced as Pluralsight. However the course material is still very good and challenging for anyone who's not already experienced with IT.

They focus more on teaching web and software development, with over 300 different courses to choose from. There's plenty of success stories from students who used their course achievements to find good employment. (Like me!)

Course Material - 9/10

Treehouse caters to beginners, it's courses are designed to be the entry level for the topic of your choice. Most students will start with Treehouse to learn the basics before transitioning over to Pluralsight for more advanced courses.

Everything is very up to date and the content library is updated weekly. I noticed Treehouse specializes in web code and programming. However with more than 290,000 students, they're successfully teaching many skills for any new career in IT.

I really enjoyed the achievement system which rewards you with badge and points after each course completion. It really does make it more motivating. Personally I preferred the website structure of Treehouse over Pluralsight because it's a slightly easier to to navigate.

You'll be surprised at how extensive and complete the courses are. There's also workshops to test your progress. The only reason I didn't give a ten out of ten rating is because you need still need Pluralsight for the more advanced courses.

Customer Service - 9/10

The customer support is very professional and I never had an issue with them. No phone support which is a major negative in my book. However the email support always responded to me within 24 hours. They're quick resolve problems but without phone support it's a nine out of ten.

Pricing - 10/10

Did you know the average cost of public college is 25k a year? The majority of jobs college graduates find don't even pay half of what the IT field does. So being able to learn a highly valuable skill set for only twenty-five dollars or twenty pounds a month on Treehouse is why I gave it a ten out of ten.

The first week is free, after the trial period is over with you can decide if it's something that you truly want to continue. Some people learn that IT is not for them, but I promise if you do stick with it you can change your employment for good.

If you're looking for a more in-depth review of Team Treehouse, you can find out whether TeamTreehouse is worth it by checking out our Treehouse review. Keep reading if you want to find out more about Pluralsight and compare the two.

Pluralsight

I used Pluralsight second and recommend it to anyone who's successfully completed their courses on Treehouse. It's the next step up. Imagine you've graduated from high school and now starting your major in college.

While the courses do start with a beginners introduction, the material is still very advanced. There are 5x times more courses on Pluralsight than Treehouse. So they focus on teaching everything including cyber securities and manufacturing.

If you're already an advanced user and have developed the fundamentals of your chosen IT skill set than it's time for you to try PS.

Course Material - 9/10

The courses are great and cover a wide variety of information. However the main complaint I noticed is that the material is not regularly updated. Technology changes quickly and with such a large content library not everything is getting attention.

One thing a lot of users like is the production quality and completeness of the courses. There's course completion checks to insure you're understanding the information as well. They even have an achievement system for completing courses to keep you motivated, similar to Treehouse's.

The course instructors are professors and teach at a level which requires you to already know what's going on. In a sense it's not beginner friendly if you don't already know what's happening. For those who do it's what you need to reach the next level and master your craft.

Customer Service - 8/10

The customer service is the biggest downfall of this company. The courses and pricing may be great, but the customer support simply is not. Luckily I never had any issues which required attention. However those who did reported a difficult experience.

It seems the company grew so quickly in 2017 that they couldn't keep up with the new amount of clients. Management has changed since 2018 and it looks like things have gotten much better now. There's phone support now, so most their old issues are now resolved

Pricing - 10/10

There's not much difference in cost between Pluralsight and its competitors. The price is just $29 a month, which is only four more dollars than Treehouse. Considering that the average cost of private college is 51k a year, Pluralsight is practically free in comparison.

There is a promotion currently for the first 10 days free, you can leave without penalty at anytime. This is good because if you find the courses are too advanced and you'll need to start the basics elsewhere like TH.

TAKE PLURALSIGHT'S SKILL IQ QUIZ TO FIND OUT IF IT IS FOR YOU

Find out if Pluralsight is the right option for you, and if so, what courses you should take using their completely free quiz. It takes less than 5 minutes!

If you'd like to find out more about Pluralsight and what they have to offer, you check out our Pluralsight review to see if it is worth it or not.

PluralSight vs TreeHouse

From my experience I cannot say that one is better than the other. They go hand in hand. You'll need Treehouse to learn the fundamentals of whatever topic you decide to learn. Afterwards you need Pluralsight to finish mastering that topic.

The course achievements you complete through both websites will serve as credentials on your resume. You'll be able to prove to an employer you are a self-taught and certified for your chosen IT employment position.

It took me most of 2017 to fully learn Python. It's one of the highest paying programming languages. After two months of searching for employment I landed a job in San Francisco, making 108k a year.

The best part is I can work remotely from home. If I did it you can too and there's no better day to get started than today!

Interested in what else is out there?

There's quite a few different online education platforms out there, you can see a quick comparison below to help you decide which one is right for you.

Sep 07

Is DataQuest Worth it? Here Is My Honest Review

By Jeremy Kallowitz | Course Provider Reviews

This post is written by a guest author, Jessica Crawley, who is a data science enthusiast and who has hands on experience with DataQuest. Here is her honest review.

Hi! My names Jessica and I'm 24 years old and in the past few years I've been looking at getting into computer science and more specifically data science. I find it to be a really interesting subject and I'm always looking for ways to better my knowledge in the data science area.

We make some money when you purchase a product from a link on our website. If you found the content helpful, please use the link to get to the chosen provider of your choice. It doesn't cost you a thing and it helps us put out great content. The money involved does not effect the ratings of any given product or service, we just link to an affiliate if there is one available after we write the article.

Disclaimer

Mid-last year I stumbled upon DataQuest.io after seeing a post on Reddit in the /r/datascience subreddit, it had some good comments being said about it and some not-so-good ones too. I decided to check it out and I went on the website to see what all the fuss was about.

I was really tempted to sign up there and then, it looked like it was exactly my kind of thing and I was looking to get more into data science, but the price tag scared me away a bit as I'd not been working for awhile at that time and budgets were low. So, I left it for a bit and forgot about it.

A few weeks afterwards, a friend of mine told me he'd signed up for DataCamp and I mistakenly thought he meant DataQuest.io due to the similar names and I was surprised when he told me it was only $29 per month for the full set of courses. I thought maybe DataQuest.io had adjusted their pricing and I eagerly went on the website and was disappointed to find that the full set of courses was still $49/month. The basic version was available for $29 per month so I assumed my friend had just bought the basic version and not realized all the courses were not included.

I was more interested in Data Science at this point and I had recently gotten a job. And even though I hadn't really saved up enough money to justify buying the course, the glaring recommendation by my friend and the projects he was telling me he was working on got me excited and jealous enough to take a financial risk.

I paid the full $49/month for all the courses in DataQuest.io and begun my journey into data science! I was excited and for the first weekend, I did little else than eat, sleep and data science! And every night after work, I'd be doing more of the course. I got fairly far into the course and I was enjoying it but I was wondering when I was going to get to the projects my friend had been telling me about.

All became clear when I met him for coffee and he confirmed it was actually DataCamp, NOT DataQuest he had signed up to! That made a lot of sense. I took a look at DataCamp's website and they both looked pretty similar. I did a Google search for Datacamp vs Dataquest and that is actually how I ended up a reader (and now contributor) of this blog!

It looked like they were both fairly well respected places to learn data science, but DataCamp had the upper hand on quite a few things, including price. I was a little bit tempted to switch over to DataCamp, if not only to save on the money and I asked myself "Is dataquest worth it?" but I figured I'd already made a commitment to DataQuest, so I'd carry on as long as I could afford it.

Unfortunately, that didn't last for long. Not too long after that, I was let go from my job. Not even because I did anything wrong, the company was just downsizing.  Frustrated, I had to cancel my subscription, at least until I got another job. 

I told my friend how frustrated I was and he did something a little naughty - he gave me access to his DataCamp account. I didn't want to start all over again but starting again with DataCamp was the only choice I had at that time, and I was hungry to learn more with data science.

Immediately, I noticed a difference. DataCamp was laid out in a completely different manner. I breezed through the early lessons (as you might expect as many of it was taught to me in DataQuest) and when I got onto the projects, that's where I noticed the REAL difference! The projects were MUCH more exciting. Much more interesting and I felt like I was really learning something with real world applications.

After spending a few weeks working on DataCamp using my friends account, I managed to get another job and I had to make the decision on whether to go back to DataQuest or stick with Datacamp. It was a question of DataCamp vs DataQuest... who wins?

Well, from my point of view the money mattered. So immediately I thought of getting my own DataCamp account (although I could have stuck with using my friends - it wasn't ideal and I did feel kinda bad for misusing the service). DataCamp was cheaper and the quality of the lessons were much higher.

I'd been given a unique opportunity to compare both services, and in my honest opinion, if you were to ask me is DataQuest worth it, I'd say Yes - BUT and it's a big but. But, compared to DataCamp, it's just no competition. DataCamp wins hands down in every category.

If you're looking for a course in data science and you're wondering whether DataQuest is worth it, I would recommend you go with DataCamp instead. They are cheaper and provide a higher quality service.

That is my DataQuest review - they're great but DataCamp is better! If you're still not sure, this blog has a great DataCamp review and they also have the DataCamp Vs DataQuest comparison page too.


Eager to learn more about data science?

Get a free account with Datacamp to learn more.

Aug 30

Coursera Data Science Specialization Review

By Jeremy Kallowitz | Course Provider Reviews , Coursera Course Reviews

Welcome to my review of the Coursera Data Science Specialization. The Data Science Specialization course provided on Coursera in partnership with John Hopkins University consisted of 9 courses. Each course focused on a different element of data science.

I've taken many MOOC courses, including quite a few on Coursera and I have not yet been disappointed with their format and quality of the courses. This course has been no different, I've had a great experience taking the course and I believe I've really learned a lot and gained a certification that looks great on my Linkedin profile.

An interesting feature of this course is the way they authenticate students, they identify you by taking a photo of your face with your webcam and then recording your typing fingerprint. It's debatable how well this typing fingerprint method of authentication works but in combination with the webcam image, I'm sure it's more than suitable.

We make some money when you purchase a product from a link on our website. If you found the content helpful, please use the link to get to the chosen provider of your choice. It doesn't cost you a thing and it helps us put out great content. The money involved does not effect the ratings of any given product or service, we just link to an affiliate if there is one available after we write the article.

Disclaimer

What Courses Are Included?

There are a total of 10 courses included in the Data Science Specialization offered by Coursera. I'll go over them briefly below and let you know my personal opinion on each one of them.

The Data Scientist's Toolbox: This course is the foundation course that introduces you to the basic tools and ideas that will be involved during this entire course. I found it to be quite easy to understand and if you're already familiar with data science, this course might not be necessary for you. If you are new however, then it is a great starting point and I personally found it very useful. The course is split into 2 separate sections, one being an introduction to the concepts behind analysing data and making it into actionable knowledge and the other is a more hands on lesson in using the tools that will be used throughout the course including, but not limited to git, GitHub, Markdown, Control, R and RStudio. This course was a great help for me, and I personally didn't find it too challenging. I highly recommend it to beginners in this area. This course spans a course of 4 weeks which is very manageable given a small time commitment per week.

R Programming: This course is where things start to get really interesting and we begin making use of the language of R - a necessity for any data science enthusiast! This course helps you get to grips with the process of programming in R and how to use R to correctly analyse data. We were taught how to properly setup our programming environment to handle the tasks at hand and we were taught the most important functions of R including, profiling R code, commenting R code, putting data into R, utilizing R packages, making R functions, debugging and more. It was a very helpful introduction to R programming and by the end of it I felt like I had a good grasp on the subject. The course completed over 4 weeks and this is an adequate amount of time to complete it to a decent level providing you put the time in each week.

Getting and Cleaning Data: This was one of my favourite courses and it teaches something incredibly valuable. It's all well and good wanting to analyse data but where do you get that data from? It's rare that data will be readily available in a clean format for you to just download and analyse. You need to be able to gather data and then clean it so that it is ready to analyse. A lot of the time, in the real world when I have been analysing data it comes from the web. This course does a great job at teaching how to grab data from the web and clean it to make the data tidy. It also includes instructions on how to get data from APIs, Databases and from other people in the correct formats. A very useful course! This course takes 4 weeks and I didn't find it too difficult to complete while putting in a decent amount of hours per week.

Exploratory Data Analysis: Summarizing data using exploratory techniques is an essential part of data science and that is exactly what is taught in this course. You are taught how to implement these techniques before formal modelling is done and this can help with the development of more advanced statistical models. The plotting systems available in R are discussed and the basic elements of constructing data graphics is covered. There is some discussion on the multivariate statistical techniques that can be utilized to visualise high-dimensional data.

Reproducible Research: Reproducible research is a very important concept in data science which focuses on creating data analyses and reporting them with the associated data and code so that they can be reproduced and verified by anyone who has the reason to do so. This is increasingly important in today's world where datasets are becoming bigger and bigger and more complex computations are involved. Having this data available allows the focus to be shifted to the actual content of the data analysis instead of on the sometimes unreliable written report. In this course we are taught several literate statistical analysis tools which make it easy to publish data analyses in a document that is easily shared with others so that they can replicate the analysis and get the same results. I found this course to be quite challenging, if I'm honest. But the help available was able to get my by and by the end of it I did feel I had a strong grip on the concepts. Again, this is a 4 week course and I'd say that is an adequate amount of time to complete the course if you are able to put enough time in each week.

Statistical Inference: This course covers the topic of Statistical Inference which involves finding out scientific truths from data and the course covers many different types of modes for statistical inference including data oriented strategies, explicit use of designs and randomization in analyses and statistical modelling, This course does a very good job of making sense of the different types of complexities involved in statistical inference, personally I found this course quite challenging and I had to reach out for help multiple times, however by the end of the course I had a solid understanding of the broad directions of statistical inference and I was able to use statistical inference to make educated choices for analyzing data effectively. This is another 4 week course and I did find it slightly challenging to complete it in that timeframe, however I was struggling with other work at the same time so for you it might be easier.

Regression Models: In this course we covered linear models which makes use of linear assumptions. Sometimes described as the most significant tool in the data scientist's toolkit (and I'd have to agree). Both ANCOVA and ANOVA  special cases of regression models are covered as well as using regression analysis, inference using regression models and least squares. This course provided a modern understanding of regression model selection and demonstrated various uses of the regression model including scatterplot smoothing. I found this course to be quite easy and to be honest, I felt it could have had a bit more involved. But overall, it provided a good understanding of regression models and I now feel comfortable using them in day to day situations. The course is 4 weeks and I was able to complete it way ahead of time even though I was still struggling with other work as well.

Practical Machine Learning: I found this course to be particularly essential to understanding how to gain a proper real world understanding of the uses of data science. This course provided me with the most useful information for real world applications of my data science knowledge and I am frequently able to use the knowledge in this course in real world use cases. The training included concepts for grounding in tests sets, overfitting, errors rates and training. There was plenty of algorithmic and model based machine learning methods involved which gave a through understanding of classification trees, Naive Bayes, regression and random forests. I was able to create a complete set of prediction functions including feature creation, algorithms, data collection and evaluation. This course was challenging and I did struggle to complete it within the 4 weeks provided, but I did manage to do it and I learned a lot from it.

Developing Data Products: Perhaps the second most essential course in my opinion in this list of courses, it helped me gain an understanding of data products and how to create them using R packages, interactive graphics and Shiny. I was able to create a story that could be understood by a mass audience using data science using the techniques involved in this course. This is another 4 week course and I was able to compete it with plenty of time to spare. I thought this course was easy, but essential learning.

Data Science Capstone: Here comes the exciting stuff! A real world application! This looks great on my CV and I'm sure it's convinced a recruiter or two that I know my stuff when it comes to data science. We created a fully functional data product and I was able to make it look really good. I recommend spending some time on this one to make it the best you can, as it's a perfect showcase for your skills on your CV or on Linkedin.

Is The Course Worth It?

It's entirely up to your individual needs and current level of understanding, but for me as a relative beginner to data science I found it incredibly helpful and it has made my CV much more interesting to recruiters. I have received many more job offers since becoming qualified with this course and in general I feel more capable of performing data science tasks.

For the price of the course, you're not going to get anything better than this. That's for sure. $49 per course is incredibly cheap and the only downside is that it's marked by other students but that's the price to pay for such a cheap and quality education in this field.

Overall, I cannot recommend Coursera's Data Science Specialization courses enough. I found them to be incredibly valuable and they helped me further my career and skill-set. If you're at all interesting in data science and you're not sure where to get started or you just want to brush up on your skills, give it a go. You won't regret it!

GET CHEAP AND QUALITY EDUCATION HERE

Get Qualified With This Course



Aug 29

Pluralsight Review – Is Pluralsight Worth It? Worth The Money?

By Jeremy Kallowitz | Course Provider Reviews , Featured Content

If you're reading this, you're probably wondering if Pluralsight is worth it? Will your money be well spent if you invest in a Pluralsight subscription? Well, you're about to find out. Welcome to this pluralsight review where we go over the pros and cons of Pluralsight and let you know everything you need to know.

If you're looking for a quick answer to whether Pluralsight is worth it - our general answer is Yes. It is. It's a very high quality education platform that is available for a very affordable monthly rate.

However, depending on your needs it may be the right platform for you or maybe another one will be better suited.

The best way to find out is to utilize this free trial and try it out for yourself. There's no risk involved - just sign up and try it out. Don't forget to cancel your subscription if you don't like it (but we're sure you will!). Set a reminder on your phone to make sure.

We make some money when you purchase a product from a link on our website. If you found the content helpful, please use the link to get to the chosen provider of your choice. It doesn't cost you a thing and it helps us put out great content. The money involved does not effect the ratings of any given product or service, we just link to an affiliate if there is one available after we write the article.

Disclaimer

If you're in need of a bit more information, check out our pros and cons listed below:

Pros

  • Affordable Monthly Fee For Access To All Courses
  • High quality courses that teach useful skills
  • Mobile apps to take learning on the go
  • A certificate on completion of course (great for a CV)
  • Courses taught by top industry instructors and subject matter experts.
  • Can repeat sessions whenever if a section is not fully understood (way better than a classroom setting!)
  • Email & Phone support

Cons

  • Only courses about technology. For a wider range of courses for a similar monthly price, check out our Skillshare review.
  • Some videos have poor quality audio, but this is mostly fixed now with most recent videos.
  • Lacking some advanced courses - best for beginners and intermediates.

If you're still unsure, we recommend trying out Pluralsight with this free trial to get an idea of the experience of using Pluralsight and seeing if it suits your learning needs.


What Is Pluralsight?

Pluralsight is a course subscription service provider that caters to beginners as well as experts. You can find a wealth of information on their website and it is all accessible for a monthly fee. The quality of the courses is very high. There are courses taught by experts in their field and seen as you get full access to their catalogue of over 6,000 courses you can pick and choose which course you are working on at any time.

How Much Does Pluralsight Cost?

Pluralsight has a Personal subscription available for $35 per month and $299 per year (a 28% saving). There is also a Personal Premium subscription for $449 per year which includes all the features of the personal plan but also certification practice exams, interactive courses and projects.

They also have business plans which are $499/year per user for the Professional plan and $699/year per user for the Enterprise edition.

Pluralsight sometimes runs promotions with generous discounts, you can check out their current promotions here. At the time of writing this, there is a 33% off promotion on-going.

Is Pluralsight Any Good?

You can get plenty of tutorials and free training on the internet for free, why go with Pluralsight? Well, the quality of the courses on Pluralsight is very high. They provide high quality education on a wide variety of topics including Software Development, Architecture & Construction, IT Ops, Manufacturing & Design, Business, Creative, Data and Information & Cyber Security. Not only is the information high quality and complete (often lacking in free resources) but the support available is top notch as well. Pluralsight is some of the best online training available in the technical training elearning space right now. If you're looking to expand your current skillset or start a new career, Pluralsight is a great option for self paced learning.

You also get a certificate of completion for the courses you complete, which is very useful getting an IT job, head hunters on LinkedIn will pay more attention to you if you have these certifications.

Not only is Pluralsight available on desktop, you can also opt for mobile learning with the Pluralsight app.

Is Pluralsight Premium Worth It?

Aside from their usual subscription plans, Pluralsight offers Premium versions that come with extra features. We would recommend Pluralsight Premium if you are truly dedicated to improving your skills and especially if you are looking to land a job using the skills taught in Pluralsight. To see what the difference is between Pluralsight regular and Pluralsight Premium, check out this link here

Is Pluralsight Suitable For Business Training?

Pluralsight actually excels at corporate learning, they have a specific category of courses for businesses. These are perfect for training up staff members on new skills and increasing the knowledge base of your work force. The ability for distance learning also helps train remote staff anytime anywhere.

What Is the User Experience Like?

We have thoroughly reviewed Pluralsight as well as interviewed other users and we have not found much to complain about. There is some discrepancies on the quality of some courses, but the vast majority of them are well received. Users generally feel the courses are well made and provide all the necessary information, however more advanced users may be annoyed by the basic information provided in the beginning of a lot of courses, but it can be easily skipped over. If you'd like an idea of what it's like to be a Pluralsight user, check out some of the customer stories available.

Pluralsight incorporates social learning into it's system which is a great way to get help and ensure that you are able to complete the course when you get stuck, and also provides a unique environment to start networking and get to know other people in a similar situation to yourself. There is also an element of gamification to the Pluralsight learning management system, which makes learning really fun and enjoyable, especially for those that enjoy games!

Where Can I Learn?

With Pluralsight, you can learn from anywhere in world, on almost any device! Pluralsight works on Mac, Windows, iOS, Android and even on smart TVs. You have the freedom to learn at any time of day as well, so if you have a full-time job - no problem. Just learn in your spare time. Check out their full course catalogue here

What Can I Learn?

Pluralsight provides a wide variety of business skills and programming courses related to the IT industry. Their selection of IT courses include, but are not limited to:

  • Database Development
  • Javascript Programming
  • Python Programming
  • Microsoft Courses
  • Object Orientated Programming
  • Autodesk Revit
  • Compliance Training
  • Certified Ethical Hacker Training
  • Comptia Security Training
  • Scripting in various languages
  • And plenty more we haven't listed! Check out their full selection of courses here.

With their high quality selection of programming courses,  you'll be writing code professionally in no time at all. 

Improve Your Skills Today

Check out the Pluralsight blog to see if there's any special offers for Pluralsight. At the time of writing this, there is an offer for 33% off!

Aug 29

Udacity Self Driving Car Nanodegree Review – Is It Worth It? An honest review

By Jeremy Kallowitz | Course Provider Reviews , Udacity Nanodegree Reviews

Are you interested in learning the technology behind today's self driving cars? Do you want to get involved in the industry and make your mark in a new sector? Then you're probably interested in Udacity's Self-driving car nanodegree.

The big question is, is it worth it? Are there better opportunities to learn out there?

Well, in this blog post I'll be providing my honest review of the course and letting you know whether it is worth your time, effort and money.

We make some money when you purchase a product from a link on our website. If you found the content helpful, please use the link to get to the chosen provider of your choice. It doesn't cost you a thing and it helps us put out great content. The money involved does not effect the ratings of any given product or service, we just link to an affiliate if there is one available after we write the article.

Disclaimer

Udacity Self Driving Car Nanodegree Syllabus

Let's start by taking a look at the syllabus of this course.

Term 1 - Deep Learning and Computer Vision: The first term concentrates on Computer vision using mostly the Python programming language. There are a total of 5 projects in the first term. These include

  1. Lane Finding: This is the intro to computer vision. I had to build a system from scratch that would be used to identify road / lane markings on a road using OpenCV
  2. Traffic Sign Classifier: This project focused on building a DNN (Deep Neural Network) in Tensorflow for identifying and categorizing the different traffic signs in a data set of German Traffic signs.
  3. Behavioural Cloning: Perhaps one of the more exciting projects in the first term, this focuses on building an end-to-end DNN (Deep Neural Network) that is used to train a car to drive by itself like a human being does. Quite an impressive project for the first term, I thought so anyways!
  4. Advanced Lane Finding: This one continues on from the first lesson and makes things a little more interesting, it integrates classical computer vision techniques such as color masking, Sobel etc. This helps us find the road markings more accurately. It's interesting to learn these classical approaches but using the DNN has always shown better results in my experience.
  5. Vehicle Detection and Tracking: I chose to use the YOLO network for this course but it is taught using a classical approach known a HOG. You can also use an  SSD network and some of the other students on my course did just that. The idea in this section is to create a system that detects and tracks cars in a video stream. It's a fun project and I enjoyed doing it, I had a few issues but my teacher was able to help me out and the forums was very useful.

Term 2 - Robotics: This term focuses on Control, Sensor Fusion and Localization and some other elements of robotics. C++ is the primary language in this term, so it's good to have at least a basic functional understanding of how C++ works before taking this course. As a complete newbie to Robotics and having only a basic understanding of C++ this term proved quite difficult for me to master, but there was help at the ready for when I got stuck. This term consists of 5 projects, just like the previous term. These include:

  1. EKF (Extended Kalman Filter): This section is all about Sensor fusion (which is basically combining data from multiple unclear sensors) and then you put that knowledge to use in building an EKF from the very beginning to the end in C++.
  2. UKF (Unscented Kalman Filter): The second section focuses on learning the different pros and cons of using EKF and introduces UKF as a solution to the problems involved with EKF. You are tasked with building a UKF that is able to handle non-linear motion.
  3. Stolen Vehicle: This sections focuses on solving the problem of losing a vehicle or having it stolen. It uses localization to pinpoint the position of the vehicle and the task is to build a particle filter compatible with an SDC to help perform this task.
  4. PID (Proportional-integral-derivative) control: Very similar to the Behavioural cloning project in the first term, this time we were required to build a PID Controller and this project in particular really helps you fully understand why robotics is an important part of the self driving car pie and the benefits it has for some situations compared to the data driven ways.
  5. MPC (Model Predictive Control): Again, with some similarities to the Behavioural cloning project and therefore the PID project with a little added fun and complexity. The purpose of this project is to build a Model Predictive Control from scratch that allows a car to navigate around a track all by itself.


Term 3 - Concentrations, System Integration and Path Planning: The hardest and final term of the entire course, it's filled with 3 fantastic projects that really get your brain going and will take some serious thought and effort to complete. It will be challenging, but you will learn a lot here. Both Python and C++ is used in this section, bringing the power of the two together. Without further delay, here are the different projects included in the final term:

  1. Path Planning: Perhaps one of the most challenging projects in all three of the terms, one that almost everyone I know struggled with is the path planning project. It ties together a lot of what we already learned in the previous terms and challenges us to create path planner. The path planner is often known as the brains of the self driving car - so it's a pretty crucial part of it. You'll most likely need help with this one, but the help is at the ready and easily available.
  2. Functional Safety/Semantic Segmentation: You are given a choice here, you can complete one of two projects. I personally chose Semantic Segmentation as that works brilliantly when object detectors like SSD and YOLO are hit by limitations because of bounding boxes etc. In the Semantic Segmentation  project I learned how to segment out road pixels and as an added (but non-mandatory) lesson I built and end-to-end segmentation Deep Neural Network for different categories of obstacles such as people, buildings, roads etc. Freezing the computational graph of a DNN and optimizing it for inference time was definitely one of the most important parts of this course.
  3. System Integration: Here's where things get a bit interesting as you are given the chance to pair up with other students to work on a project together. We formed a team of between 4-5 students and built different modules for Carla (Udacity's self driving car) including, but not limited to, a classifier, path planner, traffic light detector and all sorts of other modules.

How Much Time Do I Need To Put In To Complete This Course?

It's going to vary - Udacity recommends between 15-20 hours per week but in my experience it took a lot more than that. You will run into problems and sometimes things don't get fixed for awhile, even with the expert help. Be prepared to work extra hard for this degree. If you really want to make the most out of your Udacity Nanodegree experience, you'll want to be doing other cool projects with the knowledge you're learning along the way - this will increase your likelihood of receiving job offers at the end as well.

I'm not going to lie - it's a really tough course. But once you've completed it you will have applicable real-world skills that can help you land the job you want.

Is the content of the course worth the money? Is it quality?

The content in the course is of a very high quality and I was incredibly pleased with the level of support offered during the degree.  It provides an understanding of the classical approaches to self driving cars but also includes a good amount of deep learning approaches. It really gets you up to speed enough that you could handle an entry level job in the industry.

Do I Need To Know How To Program To Start The Course?

Definitely. The course goes pretty in-depth straight away and it doesn't cover the basics. It's important you have a decent understanding of both C++ and Python syntax and structure.

What if I don't know how to program?

Not to worry, if you are not a capable programmer just yet, there is a wide variety of course available online to get you up to date with the latest programming languages.

We highly recommend Pluralsight as a great starting point to take you from novice to expert in a variety of languages including Python, which is featured heavily in this nanodegree.

Aug 28

Skillshare vs Lynda – Course Wars – Which Is Best?

By Jeremy Kallowitz | Course Wars

Welcome to this episode in our series of Course Wars!  We put the world's most popular online course websites to the test and compare them to help you decide on which one is worth your time, effort and money.

In this post we'll be pitting Skillshare vs Lynda and putting both of them to the test to see which one wins on terms of features, price and quality.

Let's get started!

We make some money when you purchase a product from a link on our website. If you found the content helpful, please use the link to get to the chosen provider of your choice. It doesn't cost you a thing and it helps us put out great content. The money involved does not effect the ratings of any given product or service, we just link to an affiliate if there is one available after we write the article.

Disclaimer

Skillshare vs Lynda - A Quick Comparision

Course ProviderCostVariety Of CoursesCertificate Upon CompletionQuality of Content
Skillshare$15/month8/10No6/10
Lynda$29.99/month6/10Yes! And they integrate with Linkedin8/10

Contender #1 - Skillshare

Skillshare is the underdog in the game, it was founded in November 2010 by Michael Karnjanaprakorn and Malcom Ong. The courses are available in a variety of categories including: business, fashion & style, design, film production, photography, writing and publishing, accounting, entrepreneurship, finance, management, productivity, data science, web development as well as a variety of other courses on business, technology and creative pursuits. The courses are taught by qualified people and in some cases, by industry leading individuals. The courses are self-paced and do not impose a strict deadline or due date to complete them. You can view their entire course catalogue here to see if there's anything that takes your fancy.

Skillshare courses are not accredited, so they are mainly for learning new skills that you can apply to your work or personal life.

Skillshare is a subscription service and costs just $12 per month for access to unlimited classes. You can also get 30% off if you prepay for a years subscription. If you're still not sure if Skillshare is for you - you can give it a test run for a free 2 month trial using this link.

There may even be better special offer on-sale depending on the time of year, you can check for the latest offers here.

Contender #2 - Lynda

Lynda has been around for a long time, dating back to 1995! They have been acquired by Linkedin - which was subsequently acquired by Microsoft. They provide courses in a variety of disciplines including business, marketing, design, CAD, Audio & Music, IT, photography, video and web development.

After it was acquired by Linkedin, it has been rebranded to Linkedin Learning, the content is the same but it is now featured on the LinkedIn website.

Lynda (or Linkedin Learning) does certificates that you can earn and show off on your LinkedIn profile upon completion. These are acknowledged by some companies. There are over 10,000 courses on Lynda to choose from. There are courses on Business, Creative and Technology.

Lynda is however, quite a bit more expensive than Skillshare. In the battle of Lynda vs Skillshare on pricing, Skillshare definitely wins. Lynda costs $29.99 per month or $299.88 if purchased for the entire year (this is before taxes).

It's definitely the more expensive option, but it does have it's benefits.

Lynda like Skillshare does offer a free trial, but only for a period of 1 month. We recommend signing up to both platforms free trials and seeing for yourself which is better suited to your needs!

So, who wins?

Well, it was a tough battle! Both have unique features and they both hold their own, but Skillshare has the best value for money and if your deserved courses are available on there, we recommend you give their free trial a go and test them out first. Be sure to check out our in-depth Skillshare Review for more information on what Skillshare has to offer before you try out their trial.

However, Lynda/Linkedin Learning does have a higher level of variety in their courses, so if you can't find what you want on Skillshare, give Lynda a try as well to see if they have what you need. If you'd like to find out more about Linkedin Learning and what it has to offer, I would recommend taking a look at our Linkedin Learning review to find out whether it is worth it for you.

Are there any better alternatives than both Lynda and Skillshare?

If you are interested in learning technology based skills such as programming, IT security, data science and more we highly recommend Pluralsight as the superior option compared to both Skillshare and Lynda/Linkedin Learning. For more information on Pluralsight, check out our Pluralsight review

There's a lot of online course providers out there, you can see a quick comparison between them all below to help you decide who to go with.