When I first started looking for online resources to help me top up my graphic design game, two names came up frequently: Udemy and Skillshare. But I wasn’t sure which one of the two was the best, in fact, I didn’t know what each exactly offered.
Of course, both providers offer courses on many topics other than graphic design (what I was looking to learn). So what is it like to use their platforms? And more importantly, which one will be the best choice for you?
To answer these questions I’ve created an in-depth Udemy vs Skillshare comparison. I’ll tell you all about their prices, course quality, instructors and much more.
Let’s make a Start!
Table of Content
Udemy vs Skillshare Summary
Udemy courses are between $19.99 and $199.99 (1-off payment), Skillshare works on a subscription model ($8.50 to $15 monthly) for unlimited access to its library. Both offer thousands of courses (hundreds for free), but there’s more choice at Udemy – Skillshare focuses on creatives and entrepreneurs.
Let’s dive in and examine both providers in detail, so by the end of this comparison, you’ll know if Skillshare or Udemy is right for you.
Warm Up Round: Which One Is More Popular?
As you can see in the Google Trends screenshot below, when it comes to popularity, there’s one clear winner: Udemy.
Udemy and Skillshare popularity at Google Trends
In fact, Udemy is most likely the most popular elearning platform across the planet. Co-Founded in 2010 by a Turkish chess fan, Udemy has grown impressively: around 300 million students have enrolled in one of its courses, over 150,000 courses can be founded on its platform and it has 65 languages available.
Skillshare’s numbers seem very humble when compared to Udemy’s. I want to add that this New York-based learning community has grown quite a bit since it was first founded in 2010: it has over 25,000 courses and has more than 5 million students – not bad if you think they target a smaller niche (creatives and entrepreneurs).
But this isn’t a popularity contest, we are looking for the best elearning platform objectively. So let’s explore more important features to find out which one is better: Skillshare or Udemy?
Round 1: Ease-of-Use & Interface
Alright, we all want easy to follow and intuitive interfaces and straightforward workflows, so let’s find out which one provides the easiest to use system. Shall we?
The registration process at Udemy is very simple To create an account you’ll only need your name, email and set a password. After that, you’ll only need to confirm the email that they send you.
Udemy registration process
Skillshare works similarly. You can create your account by simply adding an email account and a password. On top of that, you are also allowed to create an account using your Gmail or Facebook account.
Backend & Design
Once you log in at Udemy you’ll realize that an effort has been made to keep the interface intuitive and well-designed. I like how easy it is to create your own ‘Collection’ of courses organized using the same topics (e.g. programming, design, etc.).
The actual course interface is also very smartly designed. Besides the usual video player options (playback speed, video quality, subtitle management, etc.), you also can add a note to a certain moment of a video (see image below).
Udemy adding a note to a lesson
It’s also very convenient how the course lessons are organized in the right-hand sidebar (above image). It provides easy access to each chapter and lesson of the course. You can also tick or untick each lesson to keep track of your progress.
Access Udemy using your favourite internet browser on laptops and desktops, or download the iOS or Android app to watch courses on the go.
Skillshare also offers a way to create course lists to keep your resources organized and adding notes to your courses. I would say that its design is good, but maybe not as modern-looking as Udemy’s (not a big issue though).
Skillshare video player options
The Skillshare’s video player isn’t as advanced as Udemy’s, it lacks some options like being able to set up the video quality or managing captions. The course sidebar with the lessons is also a more simple version of Udemy’s.
As with Udemy, Skillshare is available for desktops and laptops using a browser, and via apps for iOS (iPhone and iPad) and Android devices. You won’t be able to watch courses offline with the free version.
Winner: Both are super easy to use, and this is a tough call, but I think Udemy is a bit fancier looking and a tiny bit easier to use.
A couple of questions that you’ll need to ask yourself before choosing between Udemy or Skillshare are: What platform has more choice? Which one allows you to choose easily?
A big issue of these platforms is how to filter the vast offering they have. With thousands of online courses available, you could spend days choosing your next class. So they all make efforts to make your life a bit easier.
Skillshare offers some categories to browse its library, you’ll be able to narrow down your searches by topic (currently it has 16 categories). There are also a couple of filters that will offer a more defined search: free vs paid courses when the course was created and the class duration. There is also a section with ‘Recommended Classes’, a selection of internally picked Skillshare classes.
All Skillshare courses come with information about the class structure, access to resources and a presentation video about the course and the instructor. There is also an easy way to assess the course level (e.g. beginner, intermediate or advanced), this is based on students’ feedback. Finally, the review section of each course will allow you to read what other students think about a certain course – this is a bit basic as it doesn’t have an aggregated value.
Udemy offers a similar approach. All its courses are classified into topics (13 categories and dozens of subcategories). Udemy’s filters are much more advanced as you have more flexibility, filter by level, student rating, language, duration, available resources and more.
There is also the ability to read reviews from other users, a video presentation of the course and the instructor and a useful summary of the available resources (e.g. assignments and quizzes).
In terms of the number of courses, Udemy offers a 6 times larger class repository (150,000) and 8,000 free courses versus 2,500 complementary courses from Skillshare and over 25,000 premium courses.
The course quality is difficult to assess, as pretty much everyone can publish on both elearning platforms. Both Udemy and Skillshare have formal requirements instructors must meet (e.g. HD videos, minimum length and educational goals). However, some of the courses at Skillshare are produced internally and by big companies (e.g. Moz, Adobe or Mailchimp), so maybe they offer a tiny bit more.
Winner: Sure, Udemy makes it easier for you to read reviews and find courses, but since I believe the course quality is a bit higher at Skillshare, the point goes for them.
Skillshare equalizes the game, 1-1.
Popular Skillshare & Udemy Courses
Let me mention a couple of popular Udemy and Skillshare courses to get an idea of what types of topics they cover:
Complete Guitar System – Beginner to Advanced – This is a course that has taught around 150,000 people how to play the guitar. It is around 35 hours long and over 15,000 reviews gave it a 4.4. out of 5.
Complete Python Bootcamp: Go from zero to hero in Python 3 – Jose Portilla’s Python course is a Udemy top seller, more than 900,000 people have enrolled in the course. There are 24 hours of lessons and past students awarded a 4.5 out of 5 to this course.
The Complete Financial Analyst Course 2020 – There are also courses about finances, this one was joined by almost 200,000 students and has an average rating of 4.5 out of 5.
Photography Masterclass: A Complete Guide to Photography – This Udemy best seller is a 22-hour long course that will teach anyone how to take better pictures. Around 150,000 students have enrolled and it has a 4.6 out of 5 in the reviews.
Intro to UX: Fundamentals of Usability – Marieke McCloskey teaches in this Skillshare Original course the fundamentals of usability and user experience. So far around 15,000 students have seen this on-demand video course.
Learn How Young Guru Engineers for Jay Z: An Introduction to Audio Recording – This course has taught, more or less, 6,000 people sound engineering in 9 lessons (44 minutes in total).
YouTube Success: Build an Authentic Channel That’s Worth the Follow – Another popular Skillshare Original that has shown around 12,000 people how to build a YouTube audience more effectively.
Round 3: Free Courses at Udemy & Skillshare
I have to say that some of the questions I get asked a lot are related to free courses. What platform is better for free courses?
Free Udemy development courses (almost 2,000)
Udemy availability of free courses is overwhelming, I checked manually the main categories and let me tell you how many free courses I found:
Development, 1,951 courses
Business, 1,401 free courses
IT & Software, 1,338 free courses
Personal Development, 1,303 free courses
Teaching & Academics, 1,273 free courses
Design, 807 free courses
Marketing, 764 free courses
Health & Fitness, 465 free courses
Finance & Accounting, 393 free courses
Office Productivity, 302 free courses
Lifestyle, 296 free courses
Music, 289 free courses
Photography, 164 free courses
In total, Udemy has, at the moment of writing this Udemy vs Skillshare comparison, almost 11,000 courses that you can access are for free. That is around 7% of the total available courses at Udemy. A nice perk is that you can set free courses to offline viewing with its mobile app too.
Skillshare is also very generous, they offer around 2,500 courses for free. If we consider that it has around 25,000 courses in total, about 10% of the whole library is available for free. No offline option is available for free courses.
Winner: Even if Skillshare makes a huge effort by making free about 10% of the courses, the truth is that Udemy offers 5 times more free courses. Udemy deserves this round.
Things are pretty tight, Udemy has taken two rounds (ease of use and free courses) and Skillshare has bagged the courses round. So 2-1 for Udemy.
Round 4: Available Languages At Skillshare & Udemy
Alright, I promise this will be a short round.
Whilst Skillshare encourages teaching in any language, the reality is that their community is primarily English speaking. It does have several language learning courses (e.g. for Spanish, German or French), but I haven’t been able to find courses about other topics in other languages than English.
Udemy courses in other languages
On the other hand, Udemy does offer courses in many other languages, even some of the English courses have subtitles in Spanish, German or French. In fact, Udemy incorporates a filter to find courses in several languages (see image above).
Winner: This is another point for Udemy, they take a lead at 3-1.
Round 5: Udemy Vs Skillshare Certificates
Certificates are good to make your CV more appealing or to hang them on your office, they can help you get a better job or a juicy promotion. However, they have to be issued by a credible institution.
Once you complete a Udemy course, you’ll be able to print a completion certificate. However, Udemy is not an accredited institution so there’s no real formal value for you. Note that free courses don’t include completion certificates.
Example of Udemy certificate
Skillshare doesn’t provide a certificate after you complete a course, fair enough.
Winner: Since Skillshare doesn’t issue certificates and the ones Udemy issues aren’t accredited, no one gets a point for this round. Check our Coursera or edX as an alternative.
Round 6: Skillshare Vs Udemy Teachers & Community
Udemy is open to anyone who is willing to put in a huge effort to create a course, of course, you have to meet some requirements and you can’t just put together a poor quality 10-minute course about a topic. But yes, if you are willing to put the effort and create a course you’ll be able to sell it on Udemy.
And with Skillshare it is the same case. This elearning platform is open to anyone who is eager to teach a course. However, Skillshare does produce some courses (known as Skillshare Originals), and they team up with very successful professionals and companies to push some amazing classes.
SEO course from Moz at Skillshare
For example, you can find a beginner SEO course taught by Rand Fishkin, one of the most important SEO experts in the world – equivalent to having Michael Jordan teaching you basketball fundamentals.
Both Skillshare and Udemy have a way for students to communicate and interact with each other. Having a narrower range of topics and working on a subscription model, I think benefits Skillshare here and its community is a bit more engaged.
Winner: Having a more engaged community and featuring big industry professionals and companies as instructors, this point goes to Skillshare.
And Skillshare is back in the game, the score is now 3-2 for Udemy.
Round 7: Is Skillshare or Udemy’s Support Better
Alright, one thing that we all get frustrated with is slow support and bad customer care, right?
It’s not easy to contact Udemy with your questions, you can try contacting Udemy’s support via email at email@example.com or pestering them on social media.
On the other hand, Skillshare’s knowledge base is a bit more rudimentary, and sometimes I found its support articles a bit thin (not detailed enough). However, reaching out to their support is easy (by email at firstname.lastname@example.org) and I always had a good experience with them – support seems slower when you have a free account, but hey, it’s free.
Winner: Both have good and bad things, so Udemy gets a point for having a clearer support system, and Skillshare gets it because it has friendlier support.
Things are getting exciting, the score is now 4-3.
Round 8: Which One Is Better for Businesses
Elearning platforms are a great way to have your team or company improving skills and learning new drills, especially for fast-changing industries such as marketing or development.
Skillshare offers the Teams plans that will let companies create premium accounts for employees so they can keep on learning. Basically you get access to the whole Skillshare library, over 25,000 courses, not bad. It also gives the company user management control over the Skillshare accounts. It starts at $99 per year and user (minimum 3 users).
Skillshare teams plans
Udemy has a similar plan for businesses, but you’ll need at least 5 users and it costs $360 a year per user (minimum of $1,800 a year). However, it does give access to 130,000 of its courses – can’t vouch for the quality as I’ve never tested this service for companies.
Winner: It’s another hard one to pick as Udemy offers more courses, but it’s way more expensive than Skillshare. So another point for both.
The score is right now at 5-4 for Udemy.
Round 9: Udemy Vs Skillshare Pricing
Probably the most important category is the pricing, it’s great if a platform comes with all the blows and whistles, but if you are not able to afford it won’t be useful for you.
Both Udemy and Skillshare have different pricing models, so let me explain to you how much they are.
Unless you have a Udemy Business plan (not cheap), you’ll have to pay for each Udemy course ($19.99 – $199.99 a course) you’d like to enrol. If you only need a couple of courses that’s OK, but if you are planning on becoming an expert on a field, you will most likely need several resources to get your game up. That’s when Udemy can become expensive.
On the other hand, Skillshare lets you have access to the whole library for $15 a month or $99 a year, for that price you can join as many courses as you like. If you decide to pay yearly, it works out $8.25 a month – cheaper than 2 Venti Iced Caramel Macchiato at Starbucks.
Winner: This will depend on your needs, but I would say that Skillshare is probably a better option for most, so I think they deserve this point.
And Skillshare equalizes the match on the last round!
Bonus Round: Udemy & Skillshare Alternatives
There are a bunch of cases in which Udemy and Skillshare aren’t good matches. For example, you need accredited certificates, or when you are looking for career advice and help to write your CV.
So let me mention a couple of alternatives you should consider:
If you are after earning an accredited degree certificate, Udemy and Skillshare won’t get you one, Coursera partners with universities like Duke, Michigan or Johns Hopkins. This obviously means that the courses that they produce are the best around (with edX’s permission).
Coursera is a good alternative to Skillshare and Udemy
Most Coursera courses are free to join, but if you need a certificate you’ll have to purchase a paid version. Coursera has several types of courses: individual ($29 to $100), Specializations ($39 to $89 a month), yearly subscriptions ($399) and even full degrees (starting at $15,000 per program).
Similarly to Coursera, edX offers courses from leading universities like Harvard, The University of Texas, MIT or Berkeley. You’ll be able to earn accredited certificates too for industries such as business, computer science, engineering or humanities.
edX can be a good alternative to Udemy or Skillshare
There are several free courses, but if you’d like to get a certificate from edX, you’ll need to pay for the course ($50 to $300 depending on the course).
Udacity doesn’t offer as many courses as Udemy or Skillshare, but it creates its own resources partnering with leading companies for all their courses (e.g. Google, Mercedes or Nvidia). The list of topics they cover is also limited (mainly business and technology), but the areas are almost Sci-fi (from AI to autonomous driving).
Udacity career advice
There are also a bunch of free courses (about 200). It groups its courses into Nanodegrees, a bundle of 4 to 10 subjects that will let you deepen in a topic. Career advice is also offered and its certificates, even if they are not accredited, certificates are taken seriously by many companies.
However, it won’t be cheap, a Nanodegree will cost you between $700 to $2,000 depending on its duration.
There’s a lot to consider when choosing an elearning community, so if you still have some questions, leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to help you.
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.