Udacity vs Coursera: Which Is Better?

By Jeremy Kallowitz | Course Wars

Oct 02

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.

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.

About the Author

Leave a Comment:

Leave a Comment: