Howdy fellow online learners. I've been on a bit of a cheap course binge the last few weeks as my consulting work has dried up, and I thought now would be a good time to do a review for Udemy! The past few weeks I've bought courses from a variety of places, but it's no doubt that Udemy has been the most affordable.
I've had a really good experience with a lot of the course material and tutors available on there. There are some things you should really take into consideration when learning from Udemy though.
I'm somewhat of a veteran to learning things online (I've been doing it since I was 9) so I know what to look out for and what to be aware of when scouting for the right courses, but a newbie to the scene might find themselves wasting valuable time and money on something that isn't right for them... I'm hoping if that's you reading this, I can save you that unnecessary hassle and disappointment.
I'll try my best to split this article up into easily digestible headers, so if you're looking for some specific information you should be able to find it by scrolling through or using the Table of Contents below, however if you want to make a really informed decision, I would recommend reading the whole thing. It'll take you about 15-20 minutes but you'll be left with enough knowledge to really know whether Udemy is right for you, or if you should look elsewhere (and if so, what to look for in other providers for your goals).
Naturally, the first thing that comes into a lot of people's minds when they see so many highly discounted, affordable (and seemingly high quality) course materials available is... is this a scam? I'm happy to say that Udemy is a legitimate company. They are not some fly-by-night company selling pirated course materials or some other similar dodgy scheme. Your personal information and your card details are all safe.
Here I'm going to have to be a little annoying and say "It depends", however, for most students who use Udemy it is worth the money. They buy the course on sale, get it for a very affordable price, they learn a lot and they have no problems (or if they do have any minor problems, it pales in comparison to paying the $100-1000's to learn the same thing elsewhere)
However, it's important to understand how they operate as a company and the platform functions to protect yourself from some of the poor quality courses available on there. A fairly good comparison to help you understand how Udemy functions is that it is similar to eBay. It's a marketplace for courses where anyone can create and submit a course to Udemy.
This does unfortunately mean that there are a lot of people who make poor quality courses in an effort to make a quick buck - not to mention the good intentioned people who try to make good quality courses but just... suck at it. (Think of your aunty trying to sell her "creations" on eBay when they look like they've been made by a 4 year old with co-ordination problems).
Personally, I actually think this is an amazing thing. I love the idea of experts in different topics being able to share their knowledge with others and make a decent side income from it (or perhaps even a full-time income if they are really good at it).
But it does invite in people who try to abuse the system. For instance, I happen to know through some networking with my colleagues in India (whom I won't name!) that there are whole offices in India dedicated to pumping out low quality course content on platforms like Udemy in the hope of making as many sales as possible... Now just to be clear - I'm not saying avoid Indian instructors on Udemy, far from it! Some of the best courses I've taken on Udemy where by instructors from India, however, it does mean that when looking at courses to purchase you should look out for some tell-tale signs that they are made by a course-mill, rather than by an actual expert in the subject.
Well, here's the good thing. Udemy as a platform is very customer focused and while it might annoy instructors from time to time, they have a no questions asked 30 day refund policy. So if you do purchase a course that you're not a fan of, you can just get a refund providing you initiate the refund request within 30 days.
You certainly do, if you complete a Udemy course you get a fancy lil certificate to display on your website, resume, portfolio or Linkedin. It's not exactly the same as a college degree, but if you use it correctly it can definitely help you in your job search endeavors.
Udemy is not regarded as an accredited institution, which means that any course you take won't count towards college credits or anything like that.
Well, that goes down to the individual recruiter, but to get an insight on this I talked to my friend who does IT Recruitment in Norway. The IT scene in Norway is very competitive, and he personally says that when it comes to IT Recruitment if a relevant Udemy certificate is on the resume he will consider it a plus. It won't quite mean as much as having relevant experience in the field or a degree from a recognized institution, but it's much better than nothing.
One thing I'd say is that Udemy might not give you the qualification you need alone, but if you can use the skills you learned through Udemy to create a project yourself and show that off - as someone who hires people regularly, that would impress me a lot more than a college degree. (although maybe I am a bit biased as the owner of a website dedicated to helping people learn online and ditch the colleges haha!)
If you've seen Udemy around before, you'll probably notice they are pretty much always on sale. They're kind of a meme in the online education space because of this. Some people say they have a shady pricing strategy, but I don't know. I don't mind it. They're not ALWAYS on sale, it just seems like it. They have a sale every month for a few days usually. And they frequently partner with other companies to provide deals for first time users for their readers (In fact, after I've written this blog post, I'm going to contact Udemy and ask them if I can get a deal for the GetEducated.Online readers, just in case you're reading this at a time when Udemy doesn't have a sitewide sale on).
If you're not in any rush and you can't find a link to a sale anywhere, I'd definitely suggest waiting awhile for things to go on sale. You save a ton of money and it happens very often.
If it wasn't obvious by now, I am a big fan of Udemy, although I do see (and have had experience) with the bad sides of Udemy too. The level of quality for courses does differ. Professional level courses do exist on Udemy, and there are plenty of them. But a slightly flawed rating system does mean it can be hard to separate the bad from the good at times. However, there rather generous 30-day Money-back guarantee does kind of ease those worries. If you do end up with a bad course... just get a refund. Easy as that.
If you're someone who wants to learn a LOT of stuff then it might be worth considering subscription alternatives such as Pluralsight (if you're looking for IT or business related courses) or Skillshare (If you're looking for more hobbyist type courses).
The beauty with these is that you pay one monthly fee and you get unlimited access to a wide range of courses but you do lose access to those courses once you stop paying for the subscription. Where as with Udemy, you pay one small fee and get only one course, but you do get lifetime access to that course and all updates for no extra fees.
My personal opinion is that if you're looking to learn something specific, always check on Udemy first to see if there's a good course available that ticks all of the boxes we listed above. If there is, wait for a sale and buy it. If it's rubbish, get a refund and go for a more expensive option. But a lot of the time the Udemy course is going to be just as good as any other course for 10x the price.
I had an idea while writing this blog post, I should make a little tool that tracks when Udemy is having sales and notify people. I'll put that on the todo list and put a link in here when I've managed to put it together! Pop a comment in the links below if you'd like to be notified when I have done it :)
In the mean time, if there's a sale on, I'll just update the button below to the latest sale page, so it'll always be on the current sales page.
Thanks for reading everyone - and if you have any specific questions about Udemy or online learning in general, please do not hesitate to post a comment below. I love reading comments from the readers and I WILL make the time to reply to your comment and help out as much as I can. Cheers!
I've made part of my tool to check, but not made a way to put it on the website yet, I'll just update the link below every time there's a sale on. Click on it to be taken to the sales page :) Thanks!