Udemy is a learning platform for those who want to work on their professional skills, pick up a new skill to help them in their careers, or even try out a new hobby. Read our Udemy review here!
What is Udemy?
Udemy is a MOOC (massive open online course) platform that allows customers to take courses on a wide range of topics. It was founded in San Francisco in 2010 by Eren Bali, Gagan Binavi, and Oktay Caglar and has offices in Denver, Ireland, Turkey, Brazil, and India. Udemy has over 155,000 courses taught by 70,000 instructors, with more than 40 million customers using the platform.
How Does It Work?
To take a course on Udemy, you must first sign up for a free account. Once you’re an official learner on Udemy, you can browse through the more than 155,000 courses in over 65 languages in order to find one you want to take. Before signing up for a course, you can look at the reviews for the course and its instructor as well as a brief overview of the topics that will be covered. You can then pay for the course using a credit card or PayPal before you get started. Once you’re officially signed up for a course, you can click through the video lectures, slideshows, and documents from the instructor at your own pace. You can even download the course to your laptop or smartphone to be browsed offline! (Udemy offers an app for both iOS and Android.)
Most courses have a set of main modules which are broken down further into categories and sub-categories. You can watch, skip, and jump around on your own time, with no need to keep up with or wait for an instructor in real time. If you do have trouble understanding something in the course, Udemy offers a message board that allows you to connect with the instructor as well as other students.
Udemy for Business is a setup for businesses who want to allow their employees to develop their professional skills. The Team plan lets your business create profiles for between 5 and 20 employees and gives them access to over 5,000 highly rated courses. The enterprise plan, which is made for businesses with more than 20 employees, gives users access to the same courses and also allows businesses to create custom content for their employees to view.
How Does Udemy Make Money?
Udemy makes money by taking a commission off of what you pay to the instructors of the courses you take. Udemy for Business also comes with its own set of fees that are paid straight to Udemy by the business.
Can Udemy Help Me with Personal Finance?
In short, the answer is absolutely. Check out some of their personal finance courses here!
Udemy has an entire category dedicated to Finance & Accounting, with courses in everything from investing basics to cryptocurrency to financial statement analysis. Some courses are taught by MBAs, professors, and successful venture capitalists, while others are taught by everyday individuals with a knack for money. Whatever finance skills you’re looking to learn, Udemy definitely has a course for you!
Want to check out some of Wall Street Survivor's very own in-house finance courses? Click here!
Pros of Udemy:
Anyone can publish a course. This can be both a pro and a con, so it is included in the cons section as well. The good thing about anyone being able to publish a Udemy course is that it lets regular, everyday people with special skills share their knowledge with the world. Let’s say you want to learn how to play the popular video game League of Legends. Do you think you need (or could even find) a teacher with a PhD to teach you how to play? There are plenty of individuals out there who are incredible at the game and who built their skills through practice and research. Udemy may be one of the only places where you can find a course to teach you this skill and skills in many other niche areas.
You Get Lifetime Access to Your Courses. Once you’ve purchased a course, you can keep coming back to it forever. You can download courses onto your phone or computer or return to the website or app to access your courses online.
The User Interface is Smooth. While there have been some complaints about course quality and customer service, students are generally very pleased with the quality of the actual Udemy platform. The UI seems to be very easy to work with, and almost no bugs in the system have been reported.
It is (Generally) Inexpensive. Courses on Udemy range from around $15 to around $200. Udemy is known for its heavy discounts, so if you find a course that you’re interested in but it just costs too much money, you can be almost certain that the price will eventually drop significantly if you keep an eye on it. There are also over 500 courses you can take for free!
There’s a 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee. If you are unhappy with a course you’re taking on Udemy, you can simply click the “Request a Refund” button to get your money back within 5-10 business days, as long as it’s been less than 30 days since you’ve signed up for the course. You can’t get a refund for a course you’ve already downloaded for future use. If you abuse the 30-day money-back guarantee by requesting too many refunds, you might find yourself suspended from Udemy. This is so students don’t constantly sign up for courses, quickly learn what they need to learn, and try to get their money back.
Cons of Udemy:
Anyone can publish a course. Now, let’s talk about the downsides of a platform where anyone can be an instructor. Unfortunately, some instructors on the site just do not have the knowledge they claim to have about the subject material of their courses. Other instructors may be very knowledgeable but aren’t very good at teaching, so their courses are rigid and difficult to understand. Still others have plenty of knowledge and are great at teaching, but they have mediocre audio and video equipment that leads to a poorer learning experience. The presence of some poor-quality courses may just be the price to pay for a platform that connects students to so many different instructors at low prices. Just be sure to do a thorough check of the reviews before you enroll in a course; and if you do have a bad experience, take advantage of the 30-day money-back guarantee!
The Review System Can Be Misleading. One of your first checks before buying a course should be making sure that it has good reviews. The problem with reviews on Udemy, though, is you don’t know whether the reviewers purchased the course at a discount or not. Let’s say you buy a course and find the quality to be very average. If you bought the course on sale for $15, it was probably worth your money and you would be satisfied. If the course had cost you $200, your expectations probably weren’t met and you might leave a scathing review. Be sure to look at not only the reviews for the course, but the reviews for the instructor as well.
The Message Board Isn’t Always Useful. While the ability to communicate with course instructors and other students is a great feature, it isn’t always used as much as it should be. Most of the instructors on Udemy have full-time jobs and use Udemy as a side hustle, so responding to students’ questions isn’t their top priority.
Who is Udemy For?
Udemy is a great platform for those who are looking to work on their professional skills, gain new skills to help with their careers, or pick up a new hobby. With such a large amount of courses covering so many different topics, you’re bound to be able to find a course that fits your needs.
On the other hand, if you are looking to earn an official, professional certification that is required for a job, Udemy may not be the right platform for you. Udemy is not an officially accredited institution, so it can’t give out professional certifications. Anyone can create and publish a course on Udemy, so the contents of its courses won’t be recognized by employers looking for official titles. However, while it may be true that a certificate of completion from a Udemy course won’t get you very far on your resume, the skills you learn from a course can absolutely help you to further your career. Let’s say you spend a couple of weeks on a Udemy course learning a new coding language and take those skills into your next job interview to demonstrate your knowledge of coding. While you may not have earned a degree in computer science, you’ve learned the language and are able to complete the tasks required by your job.
While not every Udemy course is going to be a home run, you simply can’t beat the amount of topics you can learn about or the prices at which you can purchase the courses. Next time you want to learn to play an instrument, pick up a new coding language, or even figure out how to solve a Rubik’s cube, sign up for a course on Udemy!