eLearning platform Udemy’s most popular courses – and great alternatives

Udemy offers a wide range of classes on work- and business-related topics. Since 2020, Udemy has seen a 60% increase in enrollment in web development and a 58% increase in registration for data science courses. 

The site also has many courses focusing on hobbies, including cooking and photography. Data shows an astounding 402% rise in Pilates enrollment and 111% for meditation classes since 2020.

But Udemy isn’t the only place to take classes online. This review breaks down what you need to know about how Udemy compares on cost and classes.

What is Udemy?

Udemy is an online learning platform that offers self-paced, non-degree learning. It doesn’t hold accreditations like a trade school, community college, or university. However, the platform provides over 155,000 Udemy courses to millions of students worldwide.

Costs vary. Some courses are free. For paid courses, learners can purchase each class individually or sign up for a personal subscription with a 7-day free trial. 

Individual subscriptions cost $29.99 per month, giving you access to a curated collection of Udemy’s top 5,000 courses. Included are in-demand professional topics, such as:

  • Web development

  • IT certification

  • Data science

  • Web design

  • Digital marketing

Additionally, you’ll find personal development topics such as finance, art, and language learning. Whether you invest your time in Udemy free courses, work on a certificate, or subscribe, there’s probably a Udemy course to fit your needs.

Who is Udemy for?

Udemy is for adults who want to learn new skills related to their careers or personal interests.

For example, professionals will find courses to enhance their experience and keep them up to date in their industry. Businesses use Udemy’s online courses as well. A business subscription makes training available to a business’s employees.

Many of the courses can substitute for in-person training and help employees fulfill additional skills requirements.

What class categories does Udemy offer?

You can learn soft skills like written communication, problem-solving, and leadership with personal development courses. Udemy also offers classes to advance your hard skills, including web design, video editing, and computer programming.

The platform divides its content into 13 umbrella categories:

  • Personal development

  • Lifestyle

  • Photography

  • Health and fitness

  • Music

  • Business

  • Office Productivity

  • Finance and Accounting

  • Web development

  • Marketing

  • Design

  • IT and software

  • Teaching and academics

What are the most popular courses on Udemy?

Below, you’ll find overviews and prices for some of the platform’s most popular courses. Each class in this Udemy review also comes with a certificate of completion. Udemy promotes sales events that can reduce class prices by over 80%.

The best Udemy courses typically have a 4-star rating or higher. They offer plenty of resources. And they provide a certificate of completion as an incentive to meet your goals in the self-paced course.


Beginner to Advanced

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Image: nikkimeel/ Getty

Course creator: Code Star Academy

Price: $109.99

Level: Beginner to advanced

Video hours: 20 on-demand

Lectures: 94

Resources: 45 downloads, 10 articles, 2 coding exercises

Rating: 4.4/5


Beginner to advanced 2021

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Course creator: Aman Anand

Price: $89.99

Level:  Beginner to advanced

Video hours: 10 on-demand

Lectures: 55

Resources: Course notes

Rating: 4.6/5


Hands-on Python & R in data science

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Course creator: Kirill Eremenko and others

Price: $89.99

Level: Beginning to intermediate

Video hours: 44 on-demand

Lectures: 320

Resources: 38 downloads, 73 articles

Rating: 4.5/5


Complete data science bootcamp

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Course creator: 365 Careers Team

Price: $94.99

Level: Beginner to advanced

Video hours: 29 on-demand

Lectures: 476

Resources: 501 downloads, 90 articles

Rating: 4.6/5


Excel from beginner to advanced

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Course creator: Kyle Pew

Price: $129.99

Level: Beginner to advanced

Video hours: 18 on-demand

Lectures: 215

Resources: 37 downloads, 1 article

Rating: 4.6/5


Excel from beginner to advanced

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By The Art of Pics — Shutterstock

Course creator: Kirt Kershaw and Certified Microsoft Trainer

Price: $129.99

Level: Beginner to advanced

Video hours: 15.5 on-demand

Lectures: 158

Resources: 6 downloads, 1 article

Rating: 4.7/5 stars


Udemy course

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Getty Images/iStockphoto

Course creator: Colt Steele 

Price: $149.99

Level: All levels

Video hours: 63.5 on-demand

Lectures: 615

Resources: 122 downloads, 47 articles, 62 coding exercises

Rating: 4.7/5


Udemy course

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(Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Course creator: Dr. Angela Yu

Price: $119.99

Level: All levels

Video hours: 55 on-demand

Lectures: 440

Resources: 21 downloads, 80 articles, 8 coding exercises

Rating: 4.7/5


12 courses in 1

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Natee Meepian, Getty Images/iStockphoto

Course creator: Rob Percival and others

Price: $149.99

Level: All levels

Video hours: 22.5 on-demand

Lectures: 246

Resources: 10 downloads, 35 articles

Rating: 4.5/5


18 courses in 1

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scyther5, Getty Images/iStockphoto

Course creator: Robin and Jesper

Price: $129.99

Level: All levels

Video hours: 84 on-demand

Lectures: 624

Resources: 83 downloads, 46 articles

Rating: 4.5 stars

What are alternatives to Udemy?

If you’re researching eLearning platforms, you’ll find some focus on a specific industry, such as writing or technology. Others offer personal enrichment classes. And others, like Udemy and Coursera, provide subjects ranging from personal growth to web development.

A Udemy review wouldn’t be complete without discussing alternative eLearning platforms.

Pluralsight Skills

Pluralsight Skills is an eLearning platform focused on technology. These courses prepare learners for certifications with hands-on activities, practice tests, and other assessments. 

The subscription pricing structure offers options for individuals and businesses. Individuals can register for a 10-day or 200-minute free trial period.

A standard level subscription for personal use is $299 per year. Subscribers receive the core course library and paths and skill assessments. 

A premium subscription opens the entire library of core courses. It includes more in-depth courses, with exams and projects for hands-on learning. 

Additionally, there are three price levels for companies, ranging from $399-$779 per year. 

Pros: 

Current courses

Courses available from beginner to expert

Practice tests 

Cons:

Expensive 

The course list can be tough to navigate

Can’t download content to consume offline

LinkedIn Learning

LinkedIn is a social networking platform where job seekers connect with businesses and other industry professionals. LinkedIn Learning‘s connection to the learner’s LinkedIn profile adds value. Certificates from LinkedIn Learning show up on your profile page and alert recruiters searching for specific skills.

There are over 17,000 expert-led certificate courses which deploy a combination of video tutorials, project files, and quizzes. Some include assessments along the way.

LinkedIn Learning offers subscription options to individuals and businesses. Subscriptions start at $19.99 per month for individuals. Contact LinkedIn for custom quotes for teams.

Pros: 

Video transcripts 

Variety of relevant courses

Audience can see your certificates

Cons:

Courses aren’t consistent in testing competencies

There’s a need for more in-depth content

Individuals can’t purchase single courses

Udacity

Udacity focuses on technology courses and developing in-demand skills. The project-based courses feature a curriculum designed with industry partners, including Google, AWS, IBM, and Microsoft.

Udacity offers courses in artificial intelligence, autonomous systems, cloud computing, cybersecurity, programming and development, data science, and project management. The platform’s pricing structure includes individual, business, and government plans. 

Pros: 

Big-name industry partners

Mentors are available 24/7 to answer coding questions 

In-depth courses that get students job-ready

Cons:

No clear price structure 

Courses may take longer to complete than the time given

Some courses require extensive research outside the classroom

Coursera

Udemy vs Coursera: the two are more similar than the others on this list. Coursera offers a learning experience equivalent to Udemy, featuring video presentations, downloadable resources, and assessments. The instructors are typically professionals in their field. 

Like Udemy, account creation is free. A Coursera Plus subscription gives you unlimited access to over 3,000 certificate courses with hands-on projects. It costs $59 per month.

There’s also a business-level subscription that requires a custom quote.

Pros:

Well-organized

Partners with educational institutes

Certificates approved by educational institutes

Cons:

Some courses are lower-quality

Limited free courses

Some courses need closer monitoring in the forums

Is Udemy worth it?

While Udemy’s certificates aren’t accredited, the learning is worth it if you pick classes with good ratings and put in the work. Your company could offer handpicked Udemy classes to help employees advance their skills.

Don’t underestimate the value of personal improvement classes. Learning new skills and taking on hobbies can improve your life.

Is Udemy really free?

There are some free classes. However, free courses don’t provide as much information. You’ll get more robust courses and certificates of completion with classes that charge a fee. The cost and certificate incentivize finishing what you start.

Can Udemy courses get you a job?

Although these aren’t accredited classes, the skills you learn may help you land entry-level positions. Udemy courses teach essential skills, including Excel and Microsoft Office. These eLearning classes can also help you be a life-long learner and update your skills.

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