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Udacity Review: Is This Elearning Platform for You?

Posted in Review
Udacity Review

Udacity is one of the best online learning platforms today. Since 2011, it has offered individual paid courses and Nanodegree programs to help learners pick up new skills that can help them land the job of their dreams. Students learn from high-quality courses created by vetted industry experts and can access Udacity’s exclusive mentorship experience.

Instructors

5/5

Courses

5/5

Experience

3.5/5

Total

4.5/5

At-a-glance:

  • Udacity’s certificates are not accredited but are nevertheless widely recognized by employers, thanks to collaborations with industry leaders like IBM and Google.
  • Instructors at Udacity undergo stringent vetting processes that ensure they are experienced experts in their fields. These instructors must also have at least one year of teaching experience.
  • Students at Udacity enjoy the strong mentorship experience.
  • Students enrolling in Nanodegree programs get access to Udacity career services.
  • The platform has over 200 free courses available.

So, is Udacity worth it? 

Read on to see a full Udacity review where we’ll discuss courses, instructors, costs, and even look at how employers view the platform.

What is Udacity?

Udacity is what’s known as a MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) platform offering several hundred top-notch programs called Nanodegrees. Each Nanodegree requires anywhere from 3-10 single courses to earn a certificate of completion. Udacity frequently partners with industry leaders to provide courses, created and instructed by experts in the field.

Is Udacity Legit?

It makes sense to have reservations about Udacity, especially considering the high prices for Nanodegrees. However, we can unequivocally say that Udacity is 100% legitimate. Since being established in 2011, Udacity has offered high-quality courses on in-demand and employable skills. The platform also continually partners with industry-leading companies.

If you’re worried about paying for a course only to find out it isn’t for you, you’ll be glad to know Udacity has a refund policy. However, the refund period is limited, so you should read the policy thoroughly before investing in a program.

Is Udacity Recognized and Accredited?

If you’re wondering about Udacity certificate value, you are not alone. Considering the value of the certificate you earn upon finishing a relatively expensive program is understandable. Unfortunately, Udacity’s certificates are not accredited because it’s a private institution. If you want to transfer your certification into college credits, you’re out of luck.

That might stop you in your tracks, but don’t worry — the fact is many employers recognize Udacity certificates on resumes. This is largely thanks to the platform’s reputation for providing top-quality courses in collaboration with leading tech companies.

Who Should Use Udacity?

Anyone who wants to advance their careers by learning skills in business, programming, data science, and more can benefit from Udacity’s programs. The mentor support on the platform enables individuals to learn well. Udacity’s career services can also help prepare students like you for applying to and interviewing for jobs.

It’s worth mentioning that Udacity isn’t just for individuals — it’s also available for Enterprise and Government customers.

How Does Udacity Work?

Even if you’ve never tried using an e-learning platform before, Udacity makes the experience straightforward and user-friendly so there’s no doubt you can find your way around. Getting started is easy — just create an account, choose a program or single course, and purchase the necessary subscription (don’t forget to answer your personalized discount survey first).

Once you’ve successfully enrolled, you’ll need to complete the onboarding process, a feature unique to Udacity that helps you set learning goals to help you succeed. You’ll answer a questionnaire, look at your syllabus, and plan your schedule throughout the process. You can also set up reminders for studying and completing assignments, which can sync with your calendar apps!

Then, all that’s left is to learn.

Know that you can take your courses in any sequence you please, as long as you complete them all. Lessons are usually in video lecture format, with some quizzes and student projects (graded) weaved in between.

How to Open a Udacity Account

Signing up for Udacity is a breeze. Simply follow the steps below:

1. Go to the Udacity website and click the Sign In link in the top-right corner.

2. Choose to sign in using Google, email, or Facebook. Otherwise, go to step three.

3. If you’d rather sign up with your email address, click Sign Up and fill out the form.

4. Verify your email address.

The Pros and Cons of Udacity

Is Udacity the right choice for your situation? Let’s look at the pros and cons and find out:

Pros

Cons

  • Top-quality courses created by industry experts
  • Vetted instructors usually respected pros from Global 2000 and Fortune 500 companies
  • Udacity often collaborates with industry-leading companies such as Google, Amazon AWS, IBM, and NVIDIA.
  • Mentorship experience
  • Enrolling grants immediate access to Udacity’s career services which include things such as resume templates and reviews for cover letters, resumes, GitHub, profiles and LinkedIn profiles
  • Udacity offers an exceptionally user-friendly and intuitive learning experience.
  • There are more than 200 courses offered for free on the platform.
  • Peer chat feature allows collaborations and discussions with other learners on the platform.
  • Finishing a course grants you a certificate of completion that, though unaccredited, is widely recognized in the industry.
  • Monthly subscription pricing model
  • No mobile apps
  • Courses are only available in English, though some programs may have subtitles available in other languages.
  • Udacity’s courses don’t offer as many practical exercises as other platforms might.
  • Not many courses outside the scope of business and computer science

 

How Much are Udacity Courses?

If you search the internet for Udacity Nanodegree plus cost, you’ll likely find out that programs typically cost $399 per month for the monthly subscription. Both single courses and Nanodegree programs cost $399/month.

Nanodegrees are composed of single courses, each estimated to take a month to finish. The good news is if you pay upfront for multiple months, you’re entitled to a discount of 15% off your total. Take the Nanodegree Program in the image below, for example.

If your program takes five months to finish, you can pre-purchase five months of bundled access at a 15% discount. Instead of paying $399 per month ($1995 total), you’ll pay $339 per month ($1695 total).

See the “NEW Personalized Discounts!” on the top right there? Udacity recently introduced the personalized discount, which helps you get the best deal possible. To get the discount, you’ll need to answer a couple of questions first, as seen below:

Udacity will then get back to you with your personalized discount.

Does Udacity Offer Free Courses?

Is Udacity free? Unfortunately, no. Most of the courses and Nanodegree programs on the platform cost money — and many students agree the fees aren’t cheap and can quickly add up.

Fortunately, Udacity has some free courses. Some 200 courses cost nothing to take, but the drawback is you won’t earn a certificate upon completion. You’ll also have no access to the exclusive mentorship experience on Udacity.

Most of the free courses serve as intros to some of the platform’s Nanodegrees, while others help students with career-related concerns like interview prep.

Can You Return a Udacity Course?

Yes. Udacity has a refund and cancellation policy but to be honest? It’s not the best we’ve seen. Pay close attention so you can return your courses and get a full refund if you’re unsatisfied. It may also benefit you to look at a Udacity Nanodegree review or two before taking the plunge.

Monthly Subscriptions and Bundled Offerings

Once you enroll, the refund period begins. You have two days to cancel your enrollment to receive a full refund of your subscription fee. We know: two days hardly seems like enough time to decide if a course is right for you. Unfortunately, that’s the policy!

If you miss the two-day window, you’re out of luck. Canceling and unenrolling after the window will no longer grant you a refund, but it will mean that Udacity will no longer charge you for the next billing period. Your subscription remains valid until the end of the current billing period.

In the unlikely event that you graduate from the program within two days, you will be ineligible for the refund.

EU Residents

Thanks to the European Union’s strong consumer protection laws, EU residents get a reprieve from the short refund window. If you live in the EU, you get a full refund as long as you request cancellation within fourteen days of your enrollment. Upon enrollment, the refund window immediately begins and ends on or before fourteen days from your enrollment date.

Again, in the unlikely event that you graduate within these 14 days, you’ll no longer be eligible for the refund.

[Important] Additional Information

Udacity’s refund policy also states that only one refund is allowed for each student per Nanodegree program, executive program, or individual course. Enrollment in a program entitles you to the two-day refund window. If you cancel for a full refund and enroll again in the same program, you will no longer be eligible for the two-day refund policy.

What Kinds of Courses are Available on Udacity?

Despite Udacity’s primarily tech-related courses, there’s quite a variety of other courses available. You’ll find major categories like:

  • Cloud computing
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Business
  • Data Science
  • Autonomous Systems
  • Programming & Development

Under the major categories, tons of subcategories help narrow down your search for the perfect program, as seen below:

The Cybersecurity category has seven subcategories.

How to Find the Best Udacity Courses

Udacity courses’ reviews are available all over the internet to help you decide whether to enroll or not. Although we have no doubt that you can choose the best course for your needs, we’ve also put together these tips to empower your decision:

Use Udacity’s Search Filters

When browsing through the platform, filters help you narrow down the results. There are filters for difficulty levels, course/program duration, price, and field.

Check Instructors and Program Organizers

To help you gauge a Nanodegree program’s quality, look at the course instructors. Many of the platform’s instructors are field experts and work for some of the biggest and best companies. You can also check to see who Udacity collaborated with to create the program.

Look at Program/Course Syllabuses and Curricula

Udacity’s programs and courses all have detailed curricula and syllabuses. In them, you’ll find detailed information about the topics or subjects, what project(s) you’ll be working on, and the courses’ weekly plans. When you view the landing page of any program, you’ll see information like the estimated learning duration, program difficulty or level, and program prerequisites (such as existing knowledge or experience in a subject), if any.

Read Reviews

Udacity allows past learners to leave reviews on courses and programs they’ve taken. Unfortunately, you won’t always find a Udacity course review for every course on the platform — some of them may be too new for feedback.

Watch the Presentation/Preview Video

At Udacity, every Nanodegree program has a preview video describing the syllabus, program, and instructors. These preview videos can be helpful, but you may not want to base your decisions solely on them because they are also designed to get you to spend your money.

If you still have trouble deciding, you can always purchase the course to take a closer look. You can return it for a full refund if you aren’t satisfied. However, Udacity only allows two days from the time of purchase for you to request a full refund (don’t miss your window!).

Best Udacity Programs

Udacity course reviews tell you whether a single course (or Nanodegreee program) is worth taking. However, the platform certainly has a few programs we could easily classify as the best:

  • The Introduction to Programming Nanodegree program takes an estimated four months to complete. Because it’s designed for complete beginners, students are not required to have any experience. This program serves as the first step toward a career in web development, app development, AI/machine learning, data science, and more.
  • Deep Learning is a Nanodegree program developed in collaboration with Facebook Artificial Intelligence and AWS. As an intermediate program, students are expected to have basic Python knowledge. The course teaches students about deep learning (and deep neural networks) and how it’s driving the advancement of AI. 
  • The Android Basics Nanodegree program developed in partnership with Google takes around four months to complete. As a basic program aimed at beginners, students aren’t required to have any experience with Android development. With this course, students learn Java programming, Android development, XML layouts, Android Studio, and more.
  • If you’re less technically inclined, the Digital Marketing Nanodegree might be for you. This beginner course is shorter, taking only three months (estimated) to complete. Taking this course helps you master the necessary skills to succeed as a digital marketer in today’s competitive environment. Learn about marketing fundamentals, social media marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), Google Analytics, branding strategy, and more. No experience is required.
  • The Front End Web Developer Nanodegree program is an intermediate course that requires students to have basic knowledge of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. The four-month program aims to teach students all they need to become a successful front-end dev. Students learn how to build amazing websites and dynamic web apps to help provide memorable user experiences.
  • Creatives who want to learn more about user experience design can enroll in Udacity’s UX Design Nanodegree program. This beginner-level course requires no previous experience and teaches students how to make impactful UX designs. Students learn about user research, UI design, UX, interactive design, prototyping, and more.
  • Developed in collaboration with Google subsidiary Kaggle, the Data Analyst Nanodegree teaches intermediate-level students how to develop data-driven solutions. It also helps students learn how to use SQL, Python, and statistics to find insights while showing them how to effectively communicate their critical findings. Must have previous Python and SQL knowledge.
  • Business Analytics is a Nanodegree program developed in partnership with Mode. This beginner-level takes an estimated three months to complete and requires no prior knowledge or experience. Students gain fundamental skills that apply to any industry and learn to collect data and later analyze it. Students also learn to communicate their findings in Excel, SQL, and Tableau.
  • The Data Scientist Nanodegree program was developed with a long list of companies. Developed in collaboration with Kaggle, Bertelsmann, IBM Watson, Figure Eight, Insight, and Starbucks (yes, that Starbucks!), this advanced program takes an estimated four months to complete. Students must be knowledgeable in Python, statistics, and SQL. The program aims to show students how to build elegant and effective machine learning models, among many other things.

Our Udacity Review: In Summary

Want a quick summary of our Udacity review based on various criteria? Have a look:

  • User-friendliness: 5/5 - There’s no doubt that Udacity offers one of the most intuitive and user-friendly learning experiences today. This experience is largely thanks to the numerous redesigns the platform has undergone over the many years of the platform’s existence.
  • Convenience: 3/5 - The self-paced learning possible at Udacity offers the utmost convenience. You can take your learning offline by downloading your lessons’ videos and transcripts, but that’s the extent of offline learning on this platform. Unfortunately, Udacity has no iOS or Android app available, which leads to us taking two stars away on this criterion.
  • Accessibility: 3/5 - Unlike some other platforms (like Udemy), Udacity’s courses are primarily only available in English. If English is not your first language, you may struggle to follow along. There are some courses with subtitles available in other languages, but that’s not nearly enough to make the platform more accessible to all.
  • Affordability: 3.5/5
    • Although there are free courses available on the platform, there’s no denying that Udacity’s Nanodegrees cost a lot of money. Udacity isn’t necessarily one of the most affordable platforms out there, but you can save 15% on the fees if you pay upfront for several months of course access.
    • One thing that sets Udacity apart is its many third-party scholarships available. These are often full scholarships awarded to qualifying individuals. The scholarships come from companies like Cognizant, Infosys, Microsoft, Accenture, Standard Chartered, and more.
  • Certification: 5/5 - Udacity certificates are unaccredited, so universities will not accept them as credit. However, employers often recognize Udacity certificates as credentials because of the quality of Udacity’s courses.
  • Catalog: 4/5 - Udacity has undoubtedly found its niche in business and tech. For this reason, the courses on the platform all fall within this umbrella. There are six main categories: AI, programming, data science, cloud computing, autonomous systems, and business. Each category has a variety of courses available.
  • Course quality: 5/5 - Thanks to partnerships with top tech companies and the vetting procedures and stringent requirements to become an instructor at Udacity, you can rest assured that the courses on the platform are of the highest quality. Your courses will include tests and real-life projects to help you apply your learnings.
  • Course curricula/structure: 4.5/5 - Beyond the intuitive user interface, Udacity’s courses are well-structured to provide a smooth learning experience. Every course is divided into five lessons, with each lesson focused on a different topic. Topics are further broken into concepts to make everything even more digestible. You can also search lessons for key terms and find videos and transcripts in the lessons’ resources. Our only gripe is it can sometimes be difficult to find information on a course.
  • User support: 4.5/5
    • Udacity provides a wealth of information in its knowledge base. The database is full of information about the platform, frequently asked questions, and troubleshooting support. If you have a question about the platform, you can probably find the answer here. Alternatively, you can reach Udacity support via chatbot or email, though it may take some time for them to respond.
    • Udacity has a pretty neat feature: it allows students to send feedback on courses and Nanodegrees. If you’re having issues, you can give detailed feedback to point out issues or give suggestions to the platform.
    • Students at Udacity experience a fantastic mentorship experience exclusive to the platform. Through this mentorship, you can ask an expert for advice or feedback. You can also get answers to your burning questions about the program.
  • Payment methods: 4/5 - Udacity accepts various payment methods depending on your location. Generally, Udacity accepts credit cards and PayPal payments. However, in some locations, students can choose to break up the payments and lighten the immediate financial cost via PayPal Credit or Affirm Payments. Both allow you to split the cost into several months, but it’s worth mentioning that you will be charged interest for the deferred payments. In the case of Affirm, interest rates can be exorbitant (sometimes as high as 30%!).
  • Refund policy: 2/5 - If you’ve read the section on Udacity’s refund policy above, you’ll know why we’ve only awarded the platform two stars on this criterion. In our opinion, two days is not nearly enough to assess whether a program is right for you. Thankfully, EU residents get fourteen days to refund their purchases.

Final Verdict and Rating

No doubt, the top-quality programs and unbeatable learning experience at Udacity warrant praise. We also love the fact that Udacity offers its students career services and a unique mentorship experience they likely won’t find anywhere else.

So how good is Udacity, exactly?

Well, for us it’d be an impressive 4.5/5 stars. Udacity is one of the best e-learning platforms for courses that can help you achieve your dream job. 

Unfortunately, we did have to dock half a star from the overall Udacity experience for three reasons: the lack of a mobile app, the unavailability of courses in other languages, and the extremely short two-day refund window.

Still, we’d gladly recommend this platform for students who want to learn in-demand skills and earn an industry-recognized certificate.

Alternatives to Udacity

Udacity is an excellent online learning platform offering top-notch education that can potentially help you land the job of your dreams. However, its cost can be quite prohibitive for many. If you find Udacity out of reach or if it’s just not for you, you can consider other platforms such as:

  • Edureka! is an excellent instructor-led e-learning platform that provides students with courses and programs to help them advance their careers. Although it’s still on the pricey end, Edureka!’s pricing model doesn’t require monthly subscriptions (you can purchase courses outright with a one-time payment generally costing $300 and up). The platform not only has certification courses to help you prepare to earn your certificates, it also offers advanced programs in collaboration with top Universities in the field. Some programs can earn you certificates from institutions like Purdue University, while others can even culminate in a degree.
  • Udemy is likely the world’s largest online learning platform, with hundreds of thousands of courses on various topics and industries. The best thing about Udemy is its affordability, thanks to its courses going on sale at frequent deep discounts. Additionally, Udemy offers unparalleled learning convenience thanks to its mobile apps and offline learning functions. Udemy’s courses often come in many different languages for accessibility. If unsatisfied, you can return your course within 30 days. If you want to know more about Udemy, you can read our comprehensive review.

Conclusion

Overall, Udacity remains one of the best e-learning platforms. Despite the high costs of earning a Nanodegree, many will agree that the expert-created courses on the platform can help you become more knowledgeable in your chosen field.

Udacity’s course selection may seem limited, but the truth is they’ve simply settled quite comfortably in their niche of computer sciences and business. There are many ways to check whether a course is right for you — and if it isn’t, you have a small window of time to request a full refund.

We hope this Udacity review helps you as you explore this renowned e-learning platform. If you aren’t ready to invest in the high Nanodegree fees, you may want to check out our Udemy review.

See Our Udemy Review

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are Courses on Udacity Worth It?

Is a Udacity Nanodegree worth it? Search the internet for “Udacity Nanodegree plus review,” and you’ll likely see former students weighing in with their experiences. However, only you can decide if Udacity’s programs are right for you. Weigh the cost/benefit tradeoff to see if you’re willing to pay for Udacity’s fees — let’s face it, they’re not cheap. Nevertheless, the features, career services, mentorship, expert instruction, and widely recognized certificate can benefit your career journey.

2. Can a Udacity Nanodegree Get you a Job?

Udacity Nanodegrees are developed by industry experts who know their stuff. Although Udacity courses won’t necessarily guarantee employment, completing a Nanodegree can give you the skills to help you land your dream job. You also get the help of Udacity’s career services and industry-recognized certificates.

3. Is Udacity Safe?

Yes! Udacity is a 100% legitimate platform that has been around since 2011. In this time, it has helped countless students advance their careers. The company also has a refund policy should you be unhappy with your purchase (be sure to read through the policy before investing in a course!).

4. How Much Does Udacity Cost?

You can find over 200 free courses on this platform, though completing a free course does not grant you a certificate of completion. Nanodegrees are available on a monthly subscription basis, with each month typically costing $399. You can pay as you go or pay upfront for several-month bundled access at a 15% discount (for example, buying five months of access reduces costs to ~$339 per month).

5. What Makes Udacity Different? 

There are many Udacity reviews out there that will agree that Udacity is unique because it works with massive tech companies to create its programs. As a result, their certificates are widely recognized in the industry despite being unaccredited. Additionally, students undergo a unique onboarding experience upon enrolling to help them succeed in their courses. The mentorship experience also helps set this platform apart from others.

6. Can I Put Udacity on my Resume?

Yes — some may even encourage you to do so. Udacity is renowned for offering high-quality and up-to-date courses made by industry experts.

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Jenna Inouye

Jenna Inouye

Jenna Inouye has been a full stack developer for two decades, specializing in web application design and development. For the last eight years, she has worked as a news and feature writer focusing on technology and finance, with bylines in Udemy, SVG, and The Gamer. View all posts by the Author

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