Udemy vs Udacity: 9 Rounds To Find The Winner

Catherine Cooke

22 August, 2020

udemy vs udacity

There are a lot of elearning communities out there that you can choose from, and Udemy and Udacity are among the top choices for many. However, choosing the right one is not always easy.

You may be asking yourself, What are their prices?, How do Udemy vs Udacity courses compare?, Which one will help me grow professionally?

To answer all these questions and help you out choosing the best platform for your goals, I’ve created this in-depth comparison of Udemy and Udacity.

Udemy Vs Udacity Summary

Udemy works on a pay-per-course approach ($19.99 to $199.99). Udacity offers short degrees (Nanodegrees) that cost $399 monthly and they’ll take you 2 to 6 months to complete. Udemy offers more courses and topics whilst Udacity’s strength is the course quality.

Warm Up Round: Which One Is More Popular?

Popularity is not really a category that should make us choose one provider over the other, as sometimes popular products or services aren’t always the best choice (anyone remembers the Facebook phone?).

However, it’s a good way to assess the market and see where each elearning platform stands.

Google Trends Udemy vs Udacity

Google Trends Udemy vs Udacity

Please, note that the screenshot was taken during the COVID-19 period, this explains the spike at the end of the graph for both Udemy and Udacity

As you can see in the graph above, there is a clear winner of this popularity contest, Udemy is clearly more popular than Udacity.

Udemy was founded in 2010, and possibly it’s the most popular elearning community worldwide. So far more than 300 million students have joined the platform, it’s available in 65 languages and it’s home to more than 150,000 courses.

Udacity however, was founded in 2011 when two Stanford instructors decided to offer one of its subjects for free to the world. Since then this privately-owned platform has grown: 12 million users have enrolled, it employs more than 300 people, and over 100,000 students graduated from one of its programs.

Round 1: Ease-of-Use & Interface

I don’t know for you, but for me having an easy to use interface and a platform that makes my life easy is a great plus. So let me tell you which one is the most straightforward.

Registration

Registering at Udemy is dead simple, add your email, password and name and you are good to go – you’ll have to check (and confirm) the email confirmation Udemy will send you.

Udemy account registration process

Udemy account registration process

The registration process at Udacity is similar, you’ll need to type your name, last name, email address password and set your birthday. However, it also gives you the option to register using your Facebook or your Gmail account if you prefer.

Backend & Design

After you register with Udemy and browse around its platform, you’ll notice that the interface is well structured and easy to follow. It’s really helpful that you can create your own Categories to manage different courses about the same topic (e.g. to keep together  Photoshop courses in a workspace or your photography ones in another one).

Using the course interface is also easy and pleasant. They have one of the best video players I’ve seen, you can change the video speed, enable subtitles, set the quality or even take notes at certain moments of the video (see screenshot below).

Adding a note to a lesson with Udemy

Adding a note to a lesson with Udemy

The way lessons are organized and presented in the right-hand menu is very useful (see screenshot above). It’s possible for you to tick and untick each one to track your course progress.

You can use Udemy from any modern internet browser on your desktop or laptop, or use the app for Apple or Android apps available for free.

Udacity also has a very easy-to-use system, however, it doesn’t come with a system to create lists of courses and categorize them but since it doesn’t have as many courses you probably won’t need this feature.

Udemy filters

Udacity video structure

However, Udacity has a clever way to structure the lessons. First of all, you’ll have a brief text introduction about the lesson, the resources can be found on the left-hand-side menu, and there is a summary with the concepts too.

It seems to use the YouTube video player to play the videos, and that’s good news because it’s an advanced player that will let you change the playback speed, manage your subtitles or even decide on the video quality.

At the moment of writing this Udacity vs Udemy comparison, there aren’t any mobile apps available for Udacity as they are working on a new experience for the mobile environment.

Winner: Udacity is super easy to use and its system is very smart, but the fact that there isn’t a way to have annotations on the videos and no mobile apps (at the moment) makes Udemy the winner of this section.

Round 2: Udemy vs Udacity Courses

It’s difficult to say who’s got the best courses around, but let’s try to answer a couple of questions so you know whether to choose Udacity or Udemy.

Course Information

With so many courses and programs available, it’s challenging to find which one you should use. But some elearning communities make it easier than others to find the relevant information.

Udemy has a vast collection of courses and it does a good job of categorizing them into 13 main sections (and dozens of subsections). Udemy has one of the most advanced filtering systems I’ve seen. You can filter out courses by level, language, duration, students’ feedback or price.

Udemy course filters

Udemy course filters

It’s also very straightforward to read reviews from previous course students, the classic star system grading courses from 0 to 5. Each course has a video introduction that will let you know more about the course structure and the instructor.

Udacity’s catalogue isn’t as extensive as Udemy’s, still, there are 7 main categories for their 40 something available programs. Udacity filters aren’t as advanced, you can narrow down your search by topic, free vs paid, course duration, level, and skills that you need to learn – probably it doesn’t need as many filters as the offer is a bit more limited.

Udacity filters

Finding reviews for Udacity’s programs on the website is a bit more difficult, as they are located on the course landing page. Sadly, several of the courses are too new to have reviews, so it feels a bit more challenging to find out what past students think of its courses and programs.

Each Udacity program has a video with an overall presentation of the program and feedback from already graduated students. However, it feels a bit more like an ad. It’s very easy to find the course information and a detailed overview of the course syllabus. There is also a section about the course instructors for each program.

At this moment, Udacity has about 40 programs and around 200 free courses, of course, this can’t be compared with the 150,000 (11,000 for free) Udemy courses. Be aware that the approach of these two platforms are different, as Udacity creates its own content (Udemy doesn’t).

Winner: It’s a hard one, as Udemy offers more courses and makes it very easy for you to find resources, but Udacity’s course quality is much higher. I would give a point to each.

There you go, Udemy is leading with a 2-1 score.

Popular Udacity And Udemy Courses

Udemy Courses:

Complete Guitar System – Beginner to Advanced – This 35-hour course teaches how to play the guitar, so far, it has helped with about 150,000 people. Previous students gave a 4.4 out of 5 to this course.

Complete Python Bootcamp: Go from zero to hero in Python 3 – This is Jose Portilla’s Python course, a best-seller with more than 900,000 enrolled students. This 24-hour long series had a 4.5 out of 5 from past students.

The Complete Financial Analyst Course 2020 – As you can see, Udemy also has courses about finances, this one has had 200,000 students and the reviews awarded a 4.5 out of 5 to this course.

Photography Masterclass: A Complete Guide to Photography – Another Udemy top-seller course with 150,000 students. With 22 hours of lessons touching the basics of photography. The rating from past students is 4.6 out of 5.

Udacity Courses:

Design of Computer Programs – This course taught by Peter Norvig will take you, more or less, 2 months to complete and it’s an advanced course for Python developers.

Software Testing (How to Make Software Fail) – Another development course at Udacity that will teach you how to test software and catch bugs. It is going to take 1 month to complete and it’s aimed for intermediate students.

Interactive 3D Graphics – This is a course organized by Autodesk (a reference in the 3D design), it’s aimed at intermediate users and it’ll take about 2 months to complete.

Product Manager Interview Preparation – This is a course taught by several product managers professionals that will prepare you for a product manager interview. It’s aimed at beginners and takes about 1 week to complete.

Round 3: Free Courses At Udemy & Udacity

A popular question I get asked frequently is: Where do I find the best free courses?

Truth be told, this depends a lot on what you are looking for. For example, do you want a big pool of free courses or are you looking for the best possible quality?

Udemy development courses at no cost (around 2,000)

Udemy development courses at no cost (around 2,000)

As you can see below, the free courses available at Udemy are endless and you’d need a lifetime of spare time to go through each resource.

  • Development: 2,181 free classes
  • Business: 1,576 free classes
  • Finance & Accounting: 463 free classes
  • IT & Software: 1,593 free classes
  • Office Productivity: 356 free classes
  • Personal Development: 1,603 free classes
  • Design: 875 free classes
  • Marketing: 870 free classes
  • Lifestyle: 341 free classes
  • Photography: 161 free classes
  • Health & Fitness: 571 free classes
  • Music: 310 free classes
  • Teaching & Academics: 1,485 free classes

Udacity has less than 200 courses offered for free on its platform, but this is to be expected as Udacity doesn’t have as many courses as Udemy.

Winner: Udacity’s (almost) 200 free courses can’t be compared to Udemy’s free library, so another point for Udemy.

The score is 3-1 for Udemy.

Round 4: Available Languages At Udacity & Udemy

This will be a short round, I promise.

Udemy supports many languages (65) and as you can see in the image below it even has a filer to let you find courses by language. Among others, you’ll find content in English, Portuguese, Spanish or German.

Udemy courses in other languages

Udemy courses in other languages

Even if Udacity’s backend can be set up in several languages (English, Spanish, German, Japanese, Portuguese, etc), the reality is that I wasn’t able to find any courses in different languages than English.

Winner: Udemy bags another point. This leaves the score 4-1, Udemy is leading the fight.

Round 5: Udemy Vs Udacity Certificates & Career Advice

If you are considering Udemy or Udacity for their completion certificates, let me tell you that neither offers official (accredited) certificates.

With Udemy you’ll be able to earn a completion certificate once you’ve completed a course, however, it (most likely) won’t be taken too seriously by potential employers since Udemy lacks formal tests or proper project grading.

Udemy certificate example

Udemy certificate example

Udacity also offers unaccredited completion certificates. However, its certificates are most likely to be valued by the industry because Udacity partners with big companies to put together programs (e.g. Mercedes, Google or Nvidia), and Udacity Nanodegrees are harder to pass (take months of constant work) than an average Udemy course.

Udacity’s career advice

Udacity’s career advice

On top of that, Udacity also offers career advising, coaching and help writing a CV, this can be a great help for some to professionally move forward.

Winner: Well, I think the clearer winner of this round is Udacity.

Things are 4-2 for Udemy.

Round 6: Teachers & Community

You can be the most hard-working student, but you won’t be able to reach your maximum potential unless you have a great teacher and a good classroom environment to rely on.

At Udemy, pretty much everyone that matches its formal course requirement (and is willing to work very hard on creating a course) can become an instructor. But of course, you’ll need to prove some knowledge and your course will need to pass a quality assessment.

It’s possible to interact with the instructor of the course and other students, but to be honest, the engagement isn’t the best and it really varies from course to course.

Udacity instructors

Udacity is very different.  To become an instructor you’ll need to be able to prove that you have a lot of professional experience in your field. Additionally, Udacity curates its own content partnering with big organizations such as Amazon, Uber or Google – you can imagine that the average Joe isn’t behind its courses.

Udacity community

Udacity community

At Udacity you’ll be able to interact with other students and the course mentors, who are there to help you with any question you may have. I can’t of course vouch for every program mentor and student at Udacity, but I have the feeling that their community is more active.

Winner: And this is the second round in a row that Udacity wins, as the instructors and the community are superior.

And Udacity is back in the game, the score is now 4-3 for Udemy.

Round 7: Is Udacity Or Udemy’s Support Better

I have to say I am a big fan of Udemy’s support system, it has pretty much a help article for any possible question you may have about its platform. Support articles are also generally very transparent, or at least that’s my impression (e.g. pricing, certificates, etc.).

Udemy help system

Udemy help system

On the other hand, chatting to a support agent at Udemy isn’t that easy, or at least I’ve failed at finding the right contact page. You can email for help at support@udemy.com.

Udacity’s support system is similar, well organized and easy to navigate. It also provided help articles about any question I had about its elearning community.

Udacity support

Udacity support

Contacting the support team at Udacity is much simpler. You only need to head over its help section and click on the help chatbot button, after you type in your question, you’ll be able to reach out to a (human) support agent for help – it may take longer to get an answer if you are a free user.

Winner: Because Udemy makes it difficult to get in touch, Udacity secures another round.

What a comeback! Udacity has just tightened the match 4-4.

Round 8: Which One Is Better For Businesses

Many businesses and organizations like to offer their employees a source to keep on learning and develop their professional skills. Udemy and Udacity aren’t an exception.

Udemy has a plan company-focused, it gives access to employees to over 130,000 Udemy courses for $360 per year (minimum of 5 users required). There is the Enterprise plan that will give users access to content in other languages (Spanish, French, German, Portuguese and Japanese), create custom content and set career paths – expect these plans to be super expensive.

Udemy for business plans

Udacity also offers a plan for Enterprises where you get an account manager, customization of Udacity programs to your business’ needs and personal on-boarding. I have no clue how much it all is, but I bet it’s more expensive than Udemy’s solution.

Winner: These are really different approaches, so I am afraid they can’t be compared and I am unable to give out any points for this round, sorry.

Round 9: Udemy vs Udacity Pricing

The price of your course will be a deciding factor when choosing an elearning platform, if you can’t afford its cost, maybe you should look for cheaper alternatives, right?

 

UdemyUdacity
Premium courses~150,000~45 Nanodegrees
Free courses~11,000~200
PlatformsDesktop, iOS & AndroidDesktop
Prices$19.00 to $199.99 a course$700 to $2,000 per program
More informationudemy.comudacity.com

With Udemy you’ll need to pay individually for each course (most courses cost between $19 to $199.99) and you’ll be granted lifetime access. For those users looking to just enrol two or three courses, Udemy will be a much cheaper alternative.

On the other hand, Udacity isn’t cheap. To enrol one of their programs you’ll need to pay $399 a month (you can put the price down at $339 a month if you pre-pay for the entire program duration in advance). Since Udacity Nanodegrees take between 2 to 6 months to complete, you’ll be looking to spend $700 to $2,000 to complete a program.

Winner: I know Udacity offers more quality and more serious programs (Nanodegrees), but if the price is important for you, Udemy will be a better option.

And Udemy wins this comparison at the last minute, 5-4 for Udemy is the final score.

Bonus Round: Udemy & Udacity Alternatives

There are times where Udacity and Udemy aren’t good alternatives (e.g. you want an official completion certificate). Therefore, I detail below the best alternatives for these two elearning platforms.

Coursera

For those students looking to get an accredited certificate, Coursera may be a good option as it partners with secondary educational institutions like Stanford, The Imperial College of London or Duke University.

Coursera is a good alternative to Udacity and Udemy

Coursera is a good alternative to Udacity and Udemy

You can join for free most Coursera courses, however, if you are looking to get a certificate, you will need to pay for the course (or program). There are different types of elearning programs available: individual courses (cost $29 to $100), Specializations (cost is $39 to $89 a month), Coursera yearly subscriptions ($399) and complete degrees (starting at $15,000).

More information

Visit Coursera.com

edX

Like Coursera, edX offers courses organized by world-class universities like MIT, Berkeley or Harvard. And since it’s an accredited organization, you’ll be able to earn official degrees from edX.

edX can be a good alternative to Udemy or Udacity

You’ll find many free courses on its platform, however, you’ll need to pay for the course (between $50 to $300) to be able to earn an edX completion certificate.

Read Review

Visit edx.com

Skillshare

If you want a cheaper alternative to both Udacity and Udemy that works under a subscription model, you can check Skillshare. This elearning platform for creatives and entrepreneurs has over 25,000 courses with its paid plan.

Skillshare a cheaper alternative to Udemy and Udacity

Skillshare a cheaper alternative to Udemy and Udacity

Be aware that Skillshare doesn’t issue completion certificates, but some of its courses are created by top industry professionals and big companies like MailChimp, Google or Moz.

Read Skillshare Review

Visit Skillshare.com

Final thoughts: Udemy vs Udacity

Hopefully, this long Udacity vs Udemy comparison has cleared most of your questions and you know which elearning community you should use. But let me summarise when to use each platform:

Choose Udemy if You:

  • Don’t need to do more than 1 or 2 courses
  • Need the largest choice for topics
  • Are looking for courses in other languages than English
  • Are looking for the largest pool of free courses
  • Don’t want to pay a monthly fee

> Try Udemy for free

Udacity is for You if:

  • You’d like to become an expert on a field (e.g. data analysis)
  • You have some budget for the program (from $700 to $2,000)
  • Are looking for the best course quality
  • Want good and responsive instructors and mentors
  • You value an engaged community

> Try Udacity for free

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.
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