Udacity Review: Is It The Most Compatible Elearning Platform For You?

Catherine Cooke

28 October, 2020

Udacity was started by 2 Stanford university lecturers who offered one of their courses (“Introduction to Artificial Intelligence”) for free in 2011. It turned out to be a massive success and more than 160,000 students from around 200 counties watched the course.

Udacity has around 12 million users and 300 employees and since it first started, over 100,000 students have graduated from this technology and business-focused elearning platform.

But of course, none of the above means that its Nanodegrees (programs) are going to be a good choice for you. And will you have to break the bank to join one of their programs?

Udacity Review

I’ll explain all there is to know about this (geeky) platform in my Udacity review, and we will figure out if Udacity is compatible for you.

Top-Quality Content

Udacity develops its own content with tight collaborations with (industry-leading) partners such as Google, AWS (Amazon), Mercedes or Nvidia.

Easy To Use

Its backend is intuitive and easy to follow.

Free Courses

Udacity offers over 200 free courses. This is great place to start and get an idea of what to expect from this popular elearning community.

Certificates

If you complete a Nanodegree (how its programs are named) with Udacity you’ll earn a certificate. However, be aware that these aren’t offered if you use Udacity with a free account. Be aware that Udacity is a private institution and their certificates aren’t accredited.

Improve your CV

Udacity has a high reputation among companies, so even if they don’t offer university-accredited degrees, having a Nanodegree certificate from Udacity can help you climb professionally. Career advisors are also offered to help you find and improve your professional path.

You’ll Need Some Budget

As we’ll see later on, Udacity isn’t cheap. If you’d like to join one of its programs you’ll need to have some budget.

Not A Huge Community

There doesn’t seem to be a thrilling engaging community behind Udacity courses. It’s more of a solitary learning approach.

Limited Topics

It’s true that Udacity offers a wide range of courses about computer science and business, however, there aren’t any courses outside these niches – check out Udemy or Coursera for more variety.

Only In English

The website and backend are available in other languages, but the course materials are mainly in English – some courses have subtitles in other languages.

Udacity Review Verdict

Udacity is a MOOC (Massive open online course)  elearning platform that offers hundreds of top-quality programs to help you move forward. Their programs are called Nanodegrees, these are a bundle of, more or less, 4 to 10 courses that will provide you with in-depth knowledge about a certain topic.

Its pool of available programs is not the most extensive and you are limited to certain areas (mainly technology and business-related). The lessons are designed to be hands-on and provide practical learning that you should be able to apply to your job.

Who Is Udacity For?

Udacity is for anyone that is looking to gather knowledge and earn new skills in programming, business, data science and more. Its courses are designed to give you real employable skills that are based around real-world projects where you can learn at your own schedule and ask for help from mentors 24/7.

Udacity Critical Factors
Nanodegree Programs & Courses

The learning programs that Udacity offers for individual learners are the Nanodegree program and the single paid course. Udacity’s Nanodegree programs consist of a series of single paid courses. The single course typically ends in a project where you demonstrate the skills you have learnt and an average learner can complete a single course in one month, working 5-10 hours a week. Whereas the Nanodegree is comprised of 3 or 4 courses and will naturally take longer. Udacity is currently offering 40+ Nonodegree programs.

Udacity certificates aren’t accredited as it is a private institution that ’just’ offers (high-quality) courses online. Check out alternatives like edX or Coursera if you need an official certificate.

Udacity for Enterprise

Udacity doesn’t only offer learning programs for individuals it also has customised programs for companies and organizations. Udacity for Enterprise prides itself on its customized learning paths tailored to your company’s needs and one to one support for you and your team.

Udacity for Enterprise

Udacity for Enterprise

If you are interested in upskilling your workforce with Udacity you can sign up for a consultation and they will get in touch. You can find out more here.

How Much Is Udacity?

Udacity programs cost $399 (€359 or £329) a month and each program will be between 2 to 6 months assuming you work an average of 5-10 hours every week. Some of Udacitys’ Nanodegrees can be completed at your own pace.  If you take longer than the estimated time to complete, the final course price will be higher as you’ll need to extend the program.

Note: There are about 200 courses that you can enjoy for free at Udacity. However, be aware that these free courses have some limitations, for instance, you won’t be able to get a completion certificate and you won’t be entitled to mentor support.

 

Program durationMonthly PaymentFull Course Prepaid
2-month Nanodegree$718

($399 a month)

$678 for the program

($339 a month)

3-month Nanodegree$1,077

($399 a month)

$1,017 for the program

($339 a month)

4-month Nanodegree$1,436

($399 a month)

$1,356 for the program

($339 a month)

5-month Nanodegree$1,795

($399 a month)

$1695 for the program

($339 a month)

6-month Nanodegree$2,154

($399 a month)

$2034 for the program

($339 a month)

Some Nanodegrees may offer a 1-month free promotional campaign (e.g. Programming for Data Science with R), make sure to take advantage of it as it can reduce the price considerably.

Udacity offers a couple of ways you can purchase one of their programs:

Pay As You Go (monthly) payment: You will be charged the monthly $399 (€359 or £329) for as long as you take to complete the Nanodegree, or until you decide to cancel your subscription.

Bundled Subscription Payments: If you are choosing an online course in the form of a bundled offering, you will purchase a fixed, multi-month subscription at a discounted rate (15% off) and will pay a one-off fee upfront. However, you’ll have to make sure you put in the work to finish the program within Udacity’s estimated time frame or you will most likely have to pay extra.

Note: To cancel your subscription you will go to ‘Subscription & Billing’ that is found in your account settings, then click ‘Cancel’ on your active enrollment. You can also contact Udacity at support@udacity.com and request to cancel your automatic subscription too. You will need to do this, at least, one day before your next billing date.

> Try Udacity’s Nanodegree Programs here

Scholarships And Financial Aid

There are a bunch of Udacity Scholarships you can apply to if you don’t have the financial resources to pay for a program’s fees. At this time, there are 10 scholarship programs available that have helped around 22,000 students in 48 countries.

Unfortunately, there are no federal, state or local aid programs accepted at Udacity. The Udacity Scholarships are exclusively sponsored by third-party organizations such as Google, AT&T, Lyft, Intel or Accenture.

Udacity financial aid

Financial aid at Udacity

Udacity will give you a couple of options to break down the course cost, so they are a bit more manageable. You can use:

  1. PayPal Credit: Purchase the program via PayPal and split the cost into several months. Interest will be charged.
  2. Affirm will let you create a monthly plan (loan) for 3, 6 or 12 months to afford the course. Please, be warned that the interest rates can be high (up to 30%).

How To Open An Udacity Account?

Opening a Udacity account is very easy, follow these steps:

  1. Visit Udacity.com and click on the top-left button ‘Get Started’
  2. You can decide to register with Udacity using your own email account, your Facebook or Google account.
  3. Add the date of your birthday
  4. Confirm your email account if needed

 

Examples Of The Most Popular Udacity Programs

Allow me to show you a couple of Udacity Nanodegree programs so you can check out what to expect from these programs:

  1. Data Scientist Nanodegree – This is a 4-month Udacity program developed in collaboration with Kaggle, IBM Watson or Starbucks. Past students awarded a 4.5 out of 5 rating to this program.
  1. Deep Learning Nanodegree – In 4 months you’ll be able to learn and apply the PyTorch deep learning framework to your projects (e.g. image recognition). This program is a collaboration with AWS (from Amazon) and Facebook. The Udacity community has graded this Nanodegree with a 4.6 out of 5 grade.
  1. Sensor Fusion Engineer – This is a Mercedes collaboration to provide students with advanced knowledge on sensor engineering for robotics. It’s going to take you 4 months to complete assuming you work about 10 hours a week.
  1. Digital Marketer Nanodegree – In collaboration with leading digital companies like Google, Hootsuite, Mailchimp or Moz. This 3-month program will put you in the digital marketing path. Over 1,000 previous students have graded this Nanodegree with a 4.7 out of 5.
  1. Predictive Analytics for Business Nanodegree – It’s a program that will take you about 3 months to complete and Udacity has partnered with Alteryx and Tableau to develop it.

6 Tips To Find The Perfect Udacity Course

Let me give you a couple of tips to find the perfect Udacity program for you, and show you how to find out if it’ll meet your requirements.

Use the Udacity filters

When you browse Udacity’s library, you can use filters to narrow down your searches. For example, it’s possible to filter courses by ‘Skill level’ (beginner, intermediate or advanced), or the estimated duration (from 1 month to 3+ months).

Udacity's filters

Udacity filters

You can also select the different areas that you’d like to study from the sidebar menu. This will filter out irrelevant courses and programs for you. Another option is to select some industry skills you’d like to learn (e.g. CSS, C++, Deep Learning or Digital Marketing), then relevant courses and programs will be suggested.

Read the program’s syllabus and information

All Udacity courses and programs have a detailed syllabus with the courses’ curriculum. Detailed descriptions about the subjects, the project that you’ll work on and the weekly plan of the course are available.

On the program landing page, you will also be able to find information such as the estimated duration of the courses, the level (from beginner to advanced), and if there are any prerequisites you should have (e.g. existing knowledge).

Udacity’s program syllabus

Udacity’s program syllabus


Note: You can download the entire syllabus of the program in a PDF format for extra information.

Make sure you check all these to ensure that the program is definitely what you were looking for.

Presentation video

Every program has a presentation video where they tell you a bit about the syllabus, you’ll get to check the instructor out and who (and why) you should choose it.

This video can be helpful, but don’t forget that its main goal is to make you open the wallet and pay for it. Don’t base your decision entirely on the presentation video.

Read reviews at Udacity

It’s possible to read some reviews for the programs that Udacity offers. Sadly, not all the courses and Nanodegrees have reviews – some are too new to have student feedback.

Udacity community review example

Udacity community review example

This feature is OK, but other platforms such as Udemy or Skillshare have a more intuitive way to organize reviews.

Who is the program organized by

As I’ve mentioned before, most of Udacity’s courses are collaborations with leading companies from different sectors. For example, Mercedes, Nvidia or Google partner with Udacity to teach some programs.

Udacity instructors’ profile

Udacity instructors’ profile

There is also the possibility to find out who the instructors will be. Among other things, you will be able to find out which companies they work for and what experience they have.

Check out what companies are organizing the program and the instructors to find out what type of learning you’ll get.

7-day trial

When you purchase a program you’ll have a 7-day refund policy. Therefore, I’d recommend you start checking the videos and the materials as soon as you’ve been given access. If you don’t like what you see, get a refund.

CriteriaComment
Ease of use

Udacity interface is neat, informative and user friendly making it easy to navigate. I particularly like the simplistic design that doesn’t have many distractions.

However, it could have more filters when searching for courses and checking reviews could be more user-friendly.

The course’s interface is also easy to use with a sidebar that will let you navigate throughout the course lessons easily.

Convenience

Udacity offers students courses that they can start at any time and follow along at your own pace. Although the Nanodegree courses (with a Udacity certificate) may begin at set times.

You can download the (video) lessons and the transcripts. Sadly, there is not a more advanced way to work offline.

Available platforms

You can, of course, use Udacity with a laptop or desktop, you’ll only need a browser to follow your course.

At the moment of writing this review, the Android and iOS apps have been removed from the app stores and you can’t use Udacity on your phone or tablet unless you open it on a browser.

Official certifications:

Udacity creates its own course content in collaboration with co-creators (e.g. companies like Google or Mercedes). Therefore, their credentials may be recognized and acknowledged by some employers.

They offer around 40+ Nanodegree programs and single paid courses which will give you a certificate at completion. Keep in mind that these certificates aren’t recognized by universities as they aren’t accredited.

Categories

Udacity offers courses in the following 6 main categories (all technical): programming, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, data science, business and autonomous systems.

However, it has dozens of subcategories (e.g. product management, UX design or digital marketing) and hundreds of courses.

Free courses

Udacity offers some of the courses for free, although you won’t be able to earn a certificate unless you decide to pay for a program.

Currently, there are about 200 courses that you can enjoy for free.

Content quality

Since Udacity produces its own content partnering with thriving businesses (e.g. Amazon or Nvidia), you can rest assured that the quality of the courses is very high.

Languages

Even if the website’s backend is in several languages (e.g. Spanish), the courses are mainly in English.

Udacity Nanodegree program videos have English subtitles. There are subtitles available in other languages such as Chinese and Portuguese, but this isn’t guaranteed across all the courses. It’s best if learners are fluent in English.

Instructors

Udacity develops its own content with industry experts in each field. They also partner with big companies such as BMW, Google or Nvidia.

Course requirements

Since Udacity creates its own courses there isn’t a list of formal requirements that each lesson needs to meet. Saying that each course is recorded in HD and they offer transcripts of the video.

Some programs (e.g. Nanodegrees) can have prerequisites for new enrollments.

Course structure

The information on the courses can be found online, however, sometimes you need to dig a bit to find it – e.g. download a PDF document with the syllabus.

They do a good job of detailing what you will learn, what existing knowledge you’ll need and the overall level of the course. There is also an estimate of how long each course/program will take you.

Quizzes & tests

All the courses come with real-life projects you can apply the learnings to, quizzes and feedback from experienced reviewers.

Payments & refunds

You can use a credit card or PayPal to pay for your Udacity courses or programs. There is also the option to use PayPal Credit or Affirm to finance your Udacity studies.

You have a 7-day refund policy since you were allowed to access the course.

Support

Udacity’s support team can be reached via email and chatbot. Sometimes, their help isn’t the fastest.

Overall rating

Enrolling on a Udacity course is a good choice for those looking to learn a new skill in detail. Even if it doesn’t have accredited certificates, many companies value Udacity’s Nanodegrees certificates. Udacity’s courses aren’t always the cheapest out there.

Will Udacity Help Me With My Career?

If you take its Nanodegrees seriously, you can certainly learn new skills and become an expert on the topic you choose. This should offer you new opportunities to develop new roles and put you in the right position for a potential job promotion.

Udacity career advice

Udacity career advice

Another good thing about Udacity is that you can get career advice, they can even help you rewrite your CV. You can also schedule a 1 on 1 chat with one of the career advisors. Keep in mind that this service is US-focused.  If you are looking to find a new job in another country it won’t be as effective.

Another perk of this platform is the Udacity Talent program where thousands of employers like Nvidia, Lyft, Mercedes, AT&T or Google hire Udacity alumni. The way it works is the following:

  1. Create and share your profile
  2. It will get added to the Udacity Talent database
  3. You’ll be notified by email if an employer invites you to apply for a role

Is Udacity Legit?

Udacity isn’t a scam, this popular elearning platform has been around for several years and over 100,000 students have graduated from one of its programs.

They also partner with popular and leading companies and organizations to create the courses and programs.

Udacity 1 month free trial

Udacity 1 month free trial

There is a 7-day refund policy too, so if you are dissatisfied with the course program you can always get your money back.

Become a Udacity Instructor

If you want to become a Udacity instructor you can get in touch with them. However, to be accepted isn’t easy, you’ll need to offer proof that you are knowledgeable about your topic and have first-hand professional experience in the subject you teach.

You will create the course alongside the Udacity experts, so they will help you with the planning and execution (e.g. final recordings).

Instructors are financially compensated based on completion of course development or may be entitled to a revenue-shared in relation to the number of enrolled students. Your classes will be able to reach thousands when published on this professional development elearning platform.

Udacity mentor application process

Udacity mentor application process

There is also the possibility to become a Udacity Mentor to guide students with their Nanodegrees, you’ll support and give feedback to the students.

Last Thoughts: Is Udacity Worth It?

OK, that’s all I have to say about Udacity.

I hope my review of this professional elearning platform helped you understand if its programs are a good fit for you. But let me summarize what you can (and can’t) expect from Udacity.

Udacity is a platform geared towards technology and business professionals to (mainly) help you master a certain topic. It’s a good option if you want to specialize and become an expert on a given field (e.g. artificial intelligence or digital marketing). The programs are very practical and big companies like Amazon or Google participate.

Sadly, the completion certificate you’ll earn isn’t accredited, check out edX or Coursera if that is what you are looking for. It’s not cheap, a Nanodegree can cost you anything between $600 to $2,000, you’ll need some budget. Even if it has hundreds of courses, the choice isn’t as varied as Udemy or Skillshare.

Catherine Cooke

Hey. I am Catherine and have been working as a freelancer for many years now and I believe that you are in charge of your own destiny. If learning a new skill or having a career change is something you want to do, then there is no better time than the present. If you have a question please feel free to ask me anything or leave me a comment.

Alternatives

Skillshare: This is a more affordable option, perhaps the course quality isn’t as high and it isn’t a professional career advisory team, but you can certainly learn some skills with its courses geared towards entrepreneurs and creatives.

Udemy: It’s certainly more affordable than Udacity as you can just pay for the courses that you want to enrol in. It has thousands of free courses available to everyone. At Udemy you can find courses about pretty much any topic you’d like to learn.

Coursera: Probably the best option if you are looking to earn accredited certificates from leading universities such as Duke, Michigan or The University of Texas (among others). It also has a broader range of courses for free and a more comprehensive list of available topics.

Please, leave a comment below if you have any questions and I’ll do my best to help you out.

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