Coursera vs Udacity: Which Should You Choose?

Learning a new subject might take time and effort on your part, but where you learn is equally important. If you’re struggling to choose between Coursera vs Udacity, you can’t afford to make a mistake. Why? You could choose wrongly and miss out on real value for your money. There’s also the possibility of paying for a course you could have scored for free.

The fact is there’s a lot you don’t know about these e-learning platforms. A few years ago, I had a friend who never knew they could get their master’s degree online from Coursera without having to travel thousands of miles to an expensive university. Last month, they landed their dream job. Little bits of info like that could reshape your career, and getting the wrong info could ruin it. So, you need to choose wisely.

Thankfully, I recently paid to take online courses on both Coursera and Udacity. From my experience, I created this detailed review. It has all the info you need to make the best choice for you and your career.

Don’t have time to read every detail? The overview section comes next, and it should be enough to help you make an informed decision you won’t regret.

Coursera vs Udacity

Coursera vs Udacity: Summary and Overview

CourseraUdacity
Course Categories●        Data science
●        Computer science
●        IT
●        Personal development
●        Business
●        Linguistics
●        Mathematics
●        Engineering
●        Health
●        Social science
●        Art
●        Data science
●        Artificial Intelligence
●        Programming
●        Autonomous systems
●        Cloud computing
●        Product management
●        Career
●        Cybersecurity
●        Business
Price Range$39 – $45,000$399 – $2,394
No. of Courses10,800+270+
% Of Courses that are Free24%70%
Service Packages for:Individuals, Businesses, Universities, and Government OrganizationsIndividuals, Businesses, and Government Organizations
One-one-one Tutor InteractionNoneAvailable
Support QualityVery poorExcellent

Coursera is an online learning platform with over 10k courses in nearly a dozen categories. It offers most of its courses (free and paid) in multiple languages for individuals and organizations. Coursera partners with top universities to offer accredited degree programs and certificates to successful students. Unfortunately, student-tutor interaction is limited, and there’s a lack of adequate support for.

Udacity is an e-learning platform with hundreds of course programs related to the tech industry. Their programs are highly interactive, with lots of student-mentor communication and technical support. They also serve both individuals and organizations. However, their courses are not University accredited.

Still unsure of which to choose? Next are some key differences between the two services.

Coursera vs Udacity: Key Differences

CourseraUdacity
Main NicheGeneralTech
Accredited Degree ProgramsYesNo
Mobile AppYesNo
Accepts Prepaid CardsYesNo

Coursera vs Udacity: Courses and Subjects

CourseraUdacity
No. of Courses10,800+270+
Course FormatsVideo and TextVideo and Text
Subject Categories●        Data science
●        Computer science
●        IT
●        Personal development
●        Business
●        Linguistics
●        Mathematics
●        Engineering
●        Health
●        Social science
●        Art
●        Data science
●        Artificial Intelligence
●        Programming
●        Autonomous systems
●        Cloud computing
●        Product management
●        Career
●        Cybersecurity
●        Business
Course Languages58 languages1 Language
Skill Levels●        Beginner
●        Intermediate
●        Advanced
●        Beginner
●        Intermediate
●        Advanced
Degrees Available●        Bachelor’s degree
●        Master’s degree
Nanodegree (Non-accredited)
Certificates Available●        Professional
●        MasterTrack
●        Diploma
●        Graduate
●        University
Credential of completion
Main NicheGeneralTech

The most important factor to consider when choosing an e-learning platform is its course structure and quality.

In this section, I’ll show you what to expect in terms of courses and academic credentials on Udacity and Coursera.

Coursera

Coursera Courses Explore

Courses Overview

The more online courses an ed-tech company offers, the more your chances of finding exactly what you want. There’s also the added advantage of having more options.

Coursera has over 10,800 courses available on its platform. Since I only recently signed up, I can assume this number hasn’t changed too much since then.

Also, they offer courses in video and text format that cover a wide range of topics in the following categories:

  • Data science
  • Computer science
  • IT
  • Personal development
  • Business
  • Linguistics
  • Mathematics
  • Engineering
  • Health
  • Social science
  • Art

When it comes to languages, most online learning platforms prefer to provide their course content in English. A few go the extra mile of offering versions in other languages, either as translated, dubbed, or subtitled content.

Coursera offers courses in up to 58 languages, including English, French, Spanish, German, and Portuguese.

If English is not your first language and you’ll be more comfortable learning in your native dialect, the abundance of linguistic options should help you a lot.

Skill Levels

I once had a bitter experience, which I feel the need to share with you.

I was trying to upgrade my employability by learning a new skill. So, I went looking for the best online course on the subject. I found it (on a platform that I won’t mention here). It had great reviews, and its scope seemed wide enough. So, I paid for it.

Unfortunately, right from the first lesson, it was clear that I was out of my depth. The syllabus was too complex, and I ended up spending way too much time on each lesson without learning much. It turns out the course was for advanced students, and I was a humble beginner.

In summary, to avoid wasting your time and money, you need to know two facts:

  1. Your present skill level in the subject
  2. The skill level of the course in question

Most online learning companies will mention this. Coursera does, and the courses there are either for beginner, intermediate, or advanced level students.

Degrees Available

Yes, some ed-tech companies partner with institutions to offer accredited degrees that are just as valuable as those given in traditional universities and colleges. Others simply offer their own degree that top universities may not officially recognize, but big companies do.

Coursera partners with top institutions such as the University of Illinois and Arizona State University (ASU) to offer programs that will earn you a Bachelor’s Degree or Master’s Degree upon successful completion.

Certificates Available

After you complete the course, you may need something to show companies that may want to hire you. That’s where certificates come in.

There are several differences between a degree and a certificate, but perhaps the most prominent is how long it takes you to get them. While a degree requires your full attention for several years, a certificate only takes weeks to months.

Certificates usually serve as credentials for your skill or specialized expertise, and degrees qualify you to work in a field.

The certificates on Coursera are:

  • Professional
  • MasterTrack
  • Diploma
  • Graduates
  • University

Key Niche

Some e-learning platforms are more effective in teaching certain fields or subjects. It happens. They could have better instructors, more courses, or higher-quality material on one subject than others.

Although Coursera has more tech courses (data science, programming, IT), I could tell this was because online tech courses are in higher demand now more than ever. However, there’s a broad range of non-tech course categories available. So essentially, the platform has no specific niche but covers the general scope of e-learning fairly well.

Udacity

Udacity courses

Courses Overview

Numbers are not on the side of Udacity as they offer just over 270 courses overall. This is a lot less than Coursera’s catalog.

Their programs come in video and text format, spanning the following categories:

  • Data science
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Programming
  • Autonomous systems
  • Cloud computing
  • Product management
  • Career
  • Cybersecurity
  • Business

I could only find courses in the English language. This means non-speakers might face some challenges.

Skill Levels

Like Coursera, Udacity offers programs for beginner, intermediate, and advanced student levels.

Degrees Available

You can’t get an accredited degree with Udacity. However, they do offer a trademarked credential called Nanodegree. This online degree is useful because it is approved by Udacity’s industry partners. These are companies like Shell, Toyota, and even the US Air Force. So, I believe it should have tremendous value for job seekers.

Certificates Available

The only certificate you get with Udacity’s courses, even with the Nanodegree programs, is the certificate of completion for each program.

Key Niche

All of the courses on Udacity are almost solely related to the tech industry. Safe to say, Udacity focuses on rendering tech course material.

Winner is: Coursera

The platform has a better course structure and certificate value.

Coursera vs Udacity: Tutors and Community

CourseraUdacity
Tutor Selection Criteria●        University instructor
●        Industry expert
●        Enterprise company
Industry professionals
One-on-one Tutor InteractionNoneAvailable
Active CommunityYesYes
Community Response TimeWithin a dayWithin two days
No. of Users87+ million14+ million

Next, we’ll explore the actual learning experience on each of these platforms. I’ll let you in on what it felt like learning in these programs and how much help I got from the lessons, tutors, and communities.

Coursera

Tutor Selection Criteria

The quality of the lessons rendered by these ed-tech companies will greatly depend on their tutors. Sure, there are platforms that allow just about anyone to create a course and sell it, allowing the ratings to speak for themselves. However, others like Coursera have to properly vet each instructor’s knowledge and teaching credentials.

From what I dug up from their tutor application process, Coursera only accepts candidates who are:

  • University instructors
  • Industry experts
  • Enterprise companies

From the classes I took, I could tell that my instructors were fully qualified to teach the subject. I did some fact-checking on some of their claims, and everything seemed to check out.

One-on-one Tutor Interaction

Whether you’re learning in a physical or virtual class, there will come a time when you need to ask the instructors a question or two. I believe that for the right price, e-learning websites should allow students access to their tutors, even if it’s to a limited extent.

Unfortunately, there was no provision for one-on-one tutor interaction on Coursera. If you want to speak to your instructor, there are two tricks I recommend:

  1. Search the Partners community page, find your institution, select your tutor, and get their contact, website, or socials
  2. Run a Google search for the tutor’s name – you might find their email, phone number, website, or socials

Community

With over 87 million users on Coursera, it’s little wonder that they have an active community of learners from around the world.

I took some time to try out the effectiveness of their discussion forums. Discussions are opened regularly, and the community members usually respond within a day.

Udacity

Udacity Instructors

Tutor Selection Criteria

Udacity’s tutor selection criteria are a little laxer. They don’t really require candidates to be employed in an institution. However, they only accept industry professionals.

I must say, the quality of the classes I took was great. The tutors obviously knew what they were saying. They also conveyed information in fun and interesting ways.

One-on-one Tutor Interaction

I understand why most e-learning platforms don’t give students unlimited access to their instructors’ personal email (the internet is an unpredictable place). So, I was pleased to find that Udacity found a way to give you the closest thing to one-on-one tutor interaction via technical mentor support.

With that feature, I was able to ask questions and get helpful answers from mentors, and even session leads related to my course. I prefer this to what Coursera is doing.

Community

With a user base of over 14 million learners, Udacity also has an active community. However, they typically respond within two days, which is slower than the Coursera community’s time.

Winner is: Udacity

They provide better student-mentor support that greatly enhances the learning experience.

Coursera vs Udacity: Online Software

CourseraUdacity
Compatible Platforms●        Web
●        Android
●        iOS
Web
InterfaceEasy to useEasy to use
Key Software Features●        Course recommendations
●        Inbuilt media player
●        Progress saver
●        Offline learning
●        Course recommendations
●        Progress saver
RecommendationsGoodGood
Average Software Store Rating4.3 stars
Support QualityVery poorExcellent

These are SaaS platforms, so the quality of their software matters a lot. You want something with great UI, UX, compatibility, and features that make learning more convenient.

Coursera

Coursera apps

Compatible Platforms

While learning on the go is not for everybody, I don’t mind having that option. To help students access their courses more easily, e-learning platforms build mobile apps that are very similar to their web versions.

You can download Coursera apps on your Android and iOS devices.

Interface

You also want an ed-tech product that allows you to find new and old courses, settings, and payment methods with ease.

All versions of the Coursera software have a similar interface which I found easy to use.

Key Software Features

The Coursera mobile apps came with the following features:

  • Course recommendations
  • Inbuilt media player
  • Progress saver
  • Offline learning

My pick of features here would be the offline learning that comes with both mobile apps. I simply downloaded a lesson and watched it in-app later on, even whenever I was on a bus or anywhere without a Wi-Fi connection.

Recommendations

If you’re learning to begin or advance your career in a field, course recommendations are for you. They help you figure out what to learn next and give you an idea of your career path.

The Coursera website and app gave a few good recommendations that I found helpful. I knew exactly what to learn next after finishing my short course.

Average Software Store Rating

Although I felt the mobile apps were nice, not everyone would share my opinion. So, I checked their ratings and reviews on the various stores to see what other users thought. Here’s what I found:

iOS (App Store): 4.8 stars from 96.4k reviews

Android (Google Play Store): 4.0 stars from 133k reviews

Average Rating: 4.3 stars

This is a pretty solid rating that shows the developers did a good job. However, there’s still lots of room for improvement.

Support Quality

Having quality websites and apps means nothing if you can’t provide users with the same level of customer support.

For e-learning, support is even more important as we’re paying to learn and need to receive as much guidance and assistance as possible.

I reached out to the Coursera support team with an issue I was facing. They got back to me within 24 hours, and their response solved my problem.

Well, that was my experience, and I’m guessing the millions of other users on the platform might feel differently. So, I dug up 20 of Coursera’s latest customer support reviews on Trustpilot.

Of the 20 reviews, only 3 were excellent. The remaining 17 were pretty bad. The picture was clear: Coursera has very poor support.

Udacity

Udacity apps

Compatible Platforms

The only version of Udacity available now is the web version accessible through browsers. There are no mobile or desktop apps.

Interface

The Udacity interface was easy to use.

Key Software Features

The website still offers the following features:

  • Course recommendations
  • Progress saver

No offline learning here, so that was a significant disappointment for me.

Recommendations

Udacity’s course recommendations were good. I knew what I needed to know before registering for a course and what other courses to learn after completing the program.

Support Quality

When I tried to reach Udacity’s support team, I got a helpful response within 24 hours. On Trustpilot, I checked 20 of their latest customer support reviews. 17 were excellent and 3 were bad.

Udacity users seem to get lots of help on their lessons and technical issues. So, it’s safe to say they provide excellent support.

Winner is: Coursera

They have a mobile app that offers more learning flexibility.

Coursera vs Udacity: Pricing

CourseraUdacity
Subscription Type●        Single course certificate: one-time
●        Multi-course certificate:
Monthly
●        Plus (Unlimited certificates):
monthly or annually
●        MasterTrack certificate:
one-time
●        Degree:
one-time
●        Monthly
●        Multiple Months Access Bundle
Price Range$39 – $45,000$399 – $2,394
Free Trial7 to 14 daysOccasional
Free CoursesAvailableAvailable
Discounts & Aid●        Financial aid
●        Scholarship
●        Personalized discounts
●        Bundle payment savings
●        Coupons
●        Scholarships
Refund Policy14 days (Plus and Single course only)2 to 14 days
Certification PricingFreeFree
Payment Methods●        Credit cards
●        Debit cards
●        Prepaid cards
●        PayPal
●        Credit cards
●        Debit cards
●        PayPal

Depending on your budget, pricing details should play a major role in your decision to choose between Udacity vs Coursera.

I’ve got all the info you need right here!

Coursera

Subscription Pricing

There are five ways to subscribe to Coursera:

  1. Single Course certificate: You pay to learn one course and get a professional certificate. Pricing ranges from $39 to $99.
  2. Multi-course certificate: This is a certificate that requires you to complete multiple courses over several months; hence, you pay $39 monthly.
  3. Plus (Unlimited certificates): You pay monthly or annually to get access to an unlimited number of courses at $59/month or $399/year.
  4. MasterTrack certificate: This involves a one-time payment of $2,000 to$ 5,000.
  5. Degree: You’ll also pay for an accredited degree program. They typically cost from $9,000 to $45,000

Note that although the base fee is $39/month for many courses and they are self-paced, it may take you several months to complete each.

Free Trial

A free trial allows you to get limited access to a course for some time without paying a dime. You can use this to see if it’s the right fit.

Coursera offers a 7-day free trial for monthly plans and a 14-day trial for annual subscriptions.

Free Courses

Looking for some free courses, I did a deep dive into their catalog and found that about 24% of the courses on Coursera are free.

Discounts & Aid

If you want to take a paid course or degree program, but you can’t afford it, discounts and aid can help out.

Although there were no ongoing discounts on Coursera, I found some good stuff. You can apply for financial aid and the scholarship program.

Refund Policy

You can only get a refund on your subscription if on a single course plan or the Coursera Plus package. You need to request a refund within 14 days after your payment.

Certification Pricing

I strongly believe it’s a bad practice to charge extra to get certificates for a course you’ve already paid for and completed.

Thankfully, Coursera will give you your certificate for free at the end of the program so long as you paid for the course.

Payment Methods

It’s one thing not to have the money to pay for your programs; it’s another to have it and be unable to pay due to payment method issues.

I’ve been in this situation in the past, and I managed to find an alternative. So, the more options an e-learning service offers, the better.

Coursera allows the following payment methods:

  • Credit cards
  • Debit cards
  • Prepaid cards
  • PayPal

Although I’ve seen services with more options, it’s very unlikely that all four channels will fail you when it’s time for you to pay.

Udacity

udacity pricing

Subscription Pricing

Most courses on Udacity are priced the same, with differences in their average duration. This splits your package option into two forms:

  • Monthly: You pay $399 for every month you remain enrolled in a course.
  • Multiple Months Access Bundle: You pay for multiple months of enrollment at once (usually with discounts). The maximum bundle price is around $2,394 for a six-month bundle.

Free Trial

Although I didn’t get a free trial, the company occasionally offers a 30-day free trial to some users.

Free Courses

From my research, about 70% of all courses on Udacity are free. This is awesome for anyone looking to learn high-income skills for free.

Discounts & Aid

Udacity also offers the following:

  • Personalized discounts
  • Bundle payment savings
  • Coupons
  • Scholarships

These opportunities will help you save on their paid programs.

Refund Policy

The typical Udacity refund period is 2 days after purchase. However, if you’re in the EU, it’s 14 days.

Certification Pricing

Certificates of completion are free of charge once you’ve earned them.

Payment Methods

You may pay with any of the following methods:

  • Credit cards
  • Debit cards
  • PayPal

This is one method less than Coursera’s options, but I believe they should suffice.

Winner is: A Tie

It’s hard to decide here as both services have their pricing benefits. Coursera’s free trial and low starting prices get canceled out by Udacity’s discounts and clear package pricing. Hence, we have a Udacity – Coursera tie.

Coursera vs Udacity: Pros and Cons

I’ve compiled a shortlist of the key advantages and disadvantages of choosing each service.

Coursera

Pros

  • You have a large number of courses to choose from and in various categories.
  • The programs come in a wide range of languages.
  • Coursera is one of the few e-learning services that offer University accredited degrees and certificates.
  • There is a very active community to help you learn.
  • You may study faster with the mobile app.
  • They offer a free trial.

Cons

  • You don’t get one-on-one interactions with tutors or mentors.
  • Coursera has poor support.
  • It’s difficult to determine the exact price for many of the programs.

Udacity

Pros

  • Udacity provides some of the best tech-focused programs (machine learning, cybersecurity, programming, etc.) on the internet.
  • You can interact with mentors and tutors one-on-one.
  • They have excellent support.
  • The service offers lots of discounts and coupons to help you save.

Cons

  • You can only learn effectively if you understand English.
  • Udacity doesn’t offer accredited degrees.
  • There are currently no mobile apps.

FAQ

Which one is better Coursera or Udacity?

From our Coursera vs Udacity review, you can tell that Coursera scores higher because it wins slightly more rounds (2 to 1). Coursera is better for general career advancement with more courses and degree options.

Which is better Udemy or Udacity or Coursera?

Udacity’s course quality is the best, especially in the tech space. Their programs are enjoyable and easy to understand. They also give better support than Udemy and Coursera.

What is the difference between Coursera and Udacity?

The key difference between Coursera and Udacity is that the latter offers university-like learning programs in nearly all fields, while Udacity provides courses that enhance vocational tech skills.

Alternatives to Coursera and Udacity

What happens if neither Udacity or Coursera catches your fancy? Well, I’ve compiled a brief section that lists their top alternatives:

Udemy

This is one of the most popular online learning platforms in the world. They offer a wide variety of courses, even more than Coursera. You can access over 80,000 courses on your PC or mobile phone. They also give free courses and 100% off coupons.

Courses on Udemy are non-accredited. However, you will receive a certificate upon completion of a course.

Also read: Coursera Vs Udemy

Skillshare

With 27,000+ programs to choose from, Skillshare has a lot to offer. You can learn anything, from video animation to web development. You also get access to a free trial and free courses.

However, Skillshare courses are not accredited – neither do they come with certificates to show you completed a program. If all you care about is learning, then you should be able to live with having no proof of completion.

LinkedIn Learning

This company is owned by LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network. So, you can tell they know what they’re doing when it comes to career development. Although non-accredited, their 16,000+ courses offer high value.

You can learn nearly anything about tech and business on LinkedIn Learning. Once you’re done, you should get a certificate that you can automatically add to your LinkedIn profile as a credential.

MasterClass

As the name implies, MasterClass only provides the best, at least when it comes to instructors. The company brings in world-famous experts and borderline celebrities to teach. Here, you’ll get a lot of experienced insights into subjects like cooking, acting, filmmaking, sports, games, and business.

Although the platform has a light catalog (80+ courses), you’ll definitely gain a lot from every single one of them.

Which Should You Choose?

Clearly, both platforms offer unique perks and drawbacks, but they are undoubtedly great services.

So, which is better for you?

Choose Coursera if you…

  • need an accredited Bachelor’s or Master’s degree
  • want to gain non-tech skills
  • have serious problems learning in English
  • spend a lot of time in places without internet connection
  • have a budget of less than $100 to learn something valuable
  • are a university looking for extra courses for your student

Choose Udacity if you…

  • want to learn a tech skill without accredited credentials
  • find it difficult to learn without regular support from mentors
  • have a large budget to learn from top tech professionals

My Final Verdict

If I were to choose a winner in this Coursera vs Udacity battle, I’d say Coursera is better. In the overall scope of things, the platform has a more affordable starting price, more course options, and accreditation.

I cannot overstate how massive university-recognized online degrees and certificates are for learners. It’s like attending a prestigious University from home. And although many companies recognize Udacity’s Nanodegree program, accreditation is a lot safer and more official.

Whether you go for Udacity or Coursera, you have my complete approval.

References

https://northeastern.edu/bachelors-completion/news/degree-vs-certificate/

https://startuptalky.com/future-top-skills/

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *