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

Catherine Cooke

21 September, 2021

Udacity’s mission is to teach and train learners for careers of the future. This popular platform partners with leading technology companies like Google and Microsoft to create learning programs on the critical tech skills that companies are looking for.

Udacity has had over 160,000 students from more than 190 countries enroll in its Nanodegrees (the name they give to its learning programs).

But of course, none of the above means that its Nanodegrees 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 in this innovative digital skills platform. And you can 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.

Career Services

Anyone who enrolls in a Nanodegree will have access to Udacity’s Career Services that include Resume & Cover Letter  Reviews and a LinkedIn and GitHub Review.

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.

Intuitive Interface

Udacity has a really user-friendly interface, which not only makes its platform easy to move around and find what you are looking for. But it really is an enjoyable learning experience.

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.

No Udacity App

The Udacity app for iOS and Android was removed from the app store in 2019. So if you are looking for on the go learning. Both Coursera and Skillshare apps allow you to download courses/classes.

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 60+ Nonodegree programs.

You will love Udacity’s Nanodegrees for its;

  • High-quality content
  • Strong mentor support
  • Student discussion forum
  • Industry professional Instructors
  • Career advice services

Udacity’s certificates are issued by Udacity itself and aren’t accredited by an external partner like a University. Its certificates are highly recognized by employers as its learning is renowned for being high quality. One of the reasons is that it partners with tech companies like Google and IBM.

Udacity for Enterprise

Udacity doesn’t only offer learning programs for individuals it also has customised programs for companies and organizations to transform your workforce. 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 check out Udacity for Enterprise here.

Udacity for Government

Udacity doesn’t limit its learning to individuals and Businesses, it gives learning opportunities to governments to bridge the people and skill gaps, increase job growth to reach new economic heights.

Udacity for Government

Udacity for Government

You can sign up for a consultation by clicking on Learn More (see image above) which you can submit and you will be contacted by the Udacity team.

How Much Is Udacity?

Udacity’s pricing, at first glance may seem a little overwhelming and more complicated than your standard pricing plan. But I will do my best to explain it in as concise way as possible.

Udacity’s Nanodegree Programs start at $399 (€359 or £329) a month. Each Nanodegree Program takes an average of 2-6 months to complete, assuming you work the required hours per week. All Nanodegrees offer a couple of ways to purchase their programs:

Pay As You Go (monthly access) 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.

All Access: Each Nanodegree will have an estimated amount of time it will take you to complete the program, e.g. 5-month access. This means you will pay the full access upfront and if you do need more time to complete it, you can switch to the Pay as you go (monthly access).

Let’s take the Become a Data Engineer Nanodegree Program as an example. There are a couple of options to pay for it, either with the Pay as you go for $399 a month option or the 5-months all access $1695 upfront option.

Udacity Become a Data Engineer Nanodegree

Udacity Become a Data Engineer Nanodegree Program

Each of these options have their pros and cons. If you decide on the Pay as you go option knowing that you were able to work more than the required 5-10 hours per week, this may end up cheaper for you, completing it in, say, 4 months or less. But if you already know that you can’t dedicate more hours than the 5-month access would work out better value for you. I have put together a table below to give you an idea of how the Nanodegree pricing looks like depending on the program duration.

Program duration Monthly Pay as you go Full Access Pay Upfront
2-month Nanodegree $399

(per month)

$558 for the program

(2 months access)

3-month Nanodegree $399

(per month)

$1,017 for the program

(3 months access)

4-month Nanodegree $399

(per month)

$1,356 for the program

(4 months access)

5-month Nanodegree $399

(per month)

$1,695 for the program

(5 months access)

6-month Nanodegree $399

(per month)

$2034 for the program

(6 months access)

Udacity often runs promotions and discounts across the platform on particular Nanodegrees, make sure that when you see these offers you take full advantage of them as it can mean you get a decent discount.

> Check out Udacity’s Nanodegree Programs here

Udacity’s Refund and Cancellation

Udacity’s refund and cancellation policy, you can cancel within 2 days of enrollment to be eligible for a full refund on your first month’s subscription. I know what you’re thinking, 2 days, it really doesn’t give you time to make a decision, but sadly that’s the policy. For citizens or residents of the EU you have 14 days to claim a full refund. You are, however, entitled to cancel your automatic subscription at any time during the month so that you won’t be charged for the following month.

Udacity’s Free Courses

There are close to 200 courses that you can enjoy for free at Udacity. These free courses are designed to give you an introduction to some of the Nanodegree topics, and others focus on career related content like Interview preparation and refreshing your resume. The free courses will come with some limitations, for instance, you won’t be able to get a completion certificate or be entitled to mentor support.

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.

Udacity Scholarship

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, Facebook or your Google account.
  3. Add First Name, Last Name, Email Address and a Password
  4. Confirm your email account if needed

Udacity Sign In

Udacity Sign In

What Programs can I find on Udacity?

Udacity’s Programs are made up of 9 main subject areas that include Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Systems, Business, Cloud Computing, Cybersecurity, Data Science, Product Management, Programming & Development and Career. Each of these 9 categories include Free Courses to Nanodegree Programs.

Udacity Programs

Its filter system makes it really easy to find what you are looking for. The Sort By option (see image below) helps you find the Best match, Most reviewed or Highest rated.

Udacity Program Catalog Filter

Udacity Program Catalog Filter

My Udacity Experience

The very best way for me to get to know the Udacity platform is by taking one of its courses myself. I will be honest with you here, I am no expert in digital skills. So, I thought the best place for me to start is with a beginner-friendly course. As you are reading this, you well aware that I have my website Upskillwise, so understanding a little more about what goes on behind the scenes can’t be a bad thing. Right?

So, I decided on What is Programming?

What is Programming Udacity

Udacity What is Programming? 

Lessons

This course is broken up into 5 lessons and each one focuses on a different topic. Then each topic has a number of Concepts which breaks up the video lessons, keeping them concise and engaging. The Search option is helpful as you can look for any key term related to that course and in its results it will show you all the times it appears and takes you directly to that section. As well as Search and Concepts, the Resources tab is a place where you can download Videos and Transcripts related.

Udacity What is Programming Lessons

Udacity What is Programming Course Lessons 

Once each lesson is completed, it will appear as 100% viewed and if you want to shrink the card so that it collapses it will appear as Completed (see image below).

Udacity What is Programming Shrink Card

Send Feedback

A pretty cool feature that Udacity has on its courses and Nanodegrees is the possibility to Send Feedback if you are having issues. It allows you to select an area of the Lesson’s page, and you can select in detail what you want them to know. It could be the ‘Video is lacking in detail’, ‘Video contains outdated information’ or the ‘Transcript is wrong’, you can then explain in further detail in the comment’s section the specific issue.

Udacity What is programming Send Feedback

Udacity What is Programming Course Send Feedback

To Summarize

Overall, the course is really clearly laid out and the interface is user-friendly. The video lessons are nicely broken up into topics. A nice mix of instructor and graphic visuals keep the video content engaging. This course is designed as a stepping stone for anyone looking to take a Nanodegree in Introduction to Programming. I must say that Udacity does a fantastic job of offering learners close to 200 courses for free, so you can be sure before financially committing to a Nanodegree.

You will Love Udacity for:

  • Its intuitive course interface
  • Engaging and bite size video content
  •  Downloadable Resources
  • Send Feedback Support
  • Stepping Stone before committing to a Nanodegree

> You can check out What is Programming? course here

> You can find the Nanodegree Introduction to Programming here

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 Nanodegree programs, you can use the filters to narrow down your searches. For example, it’s possible to filter courses by ‘Difficulty level’ (beginner, intermediate or advanced), or the Duration (from <1 month to 3+ months).

Udacity Filter Programs

Udacity filters

You can select the topic and Field which makes it easy to find what you are looking for. Plus, if you are searching for Free courses, you have that option when you click on Price.

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 and make sure 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.

Udacity Instructors

Udacity’s teachers are established industry professionals who have years of experiences and experts in their subject area. Udacity is looking for the following skills within their instructors;

  • 5+ years of demonstrated expertise
  • Ability to build engaging, effective and relevant course content
  •  1+ years of education or teaching experience
  • Available to work 15-20 hours per week
  • Effective time management skills
  • Growth mindset and team player

Udacity become an instructor

If this sounds like you, or you have these skills, then you can apply to become an Udacity Instructor. You will work alongside other Udacity experts, that will help you with the planning and executing your course successfully.

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 Udacity.

> Apply to be an Udacity Instructor here

Note: To be accepted as an Udacity mentor, means you’ll need to prove your level of knowledgeable on your topic and have first-hand professional experience in the subject you teach.

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.

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

Review Updates:

21/09/21 How Much Is Udacity?

19/08/21 My Udacity Experience

26/04/21 30-Day Free Access

20/04/21 Udacity’s Nanodegrees

09/04/21 Udacity Quiz

26/03/21 Udacity Instructors

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.

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Tronica
Tronica
2 months ago

Which nano degree has the highest chance of landing the job? Which nano degree has the most demand right now? How much money do you earn as freelancer? Is freelance better then job? How many interviews need before job offer? How many months is the career services support the new grads? Which part of USA is easier to land the tech job? How does Nano Degree compare to udemy courses? How does Nano Degree compare to APP Academy program? Coding Dojo teaches 3 programming languages (15k+forever job support) compare to 3 Nano Degrees (18 months or 9K+6 month job support)… Read more »

zoshosh
zoshosh
3 months ago

Thank you for clearing my all doubts. Udacity is an amazing place.

Aqsa
Aqsa
5 months ago

In-depth Review. Thank You!

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