Udacity is an educational platform that provides massive online open courses (known as MOOCs) for people all over the globe.
Udacity was founded by two Stanford instructors who decided to take the plunge and offer their ‘Introduction to Artificial Intelligence’ course online for anyone to learn.
The course was taken up by participants in over 190 countries and spurred the former Stanford professionals to pursue a mission to provide career advancement for those wanting to move up in the technological and business sectors.
Udacity has a range of both free and paid programs covering topics such as iOS Developer to even Self Driving Car Engineer that has been created by industry experts for a range of career levels.
Today we’ll be giving you a thorough look through the e-learning platform Udacity to show you what it’s all about and how it works. We’ll also be covering the costs of their programs and also are the nanodegree programs worth it.
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Pricing is almost always the deciding factor on whether potential students will commit to an e-learning course.
Many of these e-learning platforms offer a variety of pricing options, from subscriptions to one-off payments to even scholarships that people can apply for to partake in the course completely free.
The Udacity courses vary in difficulty, from beginner to advanced so there’ll be courses available that suit whatever level you’re currently at in your career, whether that be a complete amateur to the topic or looking to expand your current knowledge in the industry.
Udacity offers just under 200 courses completely free of charge for its users, unfortunately, these courses do not offer certification and don’t offer interaction or guidance between students and instructors of the course.
Some of their free courses include
Udacity has a good variety of paid programs that offer certification upon completion.
These courses aren’t credited and not recognized by educational institutions, but are taken into consideration by businesses and corporations in a job application scenario.
Some of their paid nanodegree programs include:
The pricing of their nanodegree programs can vary based on the length of the course and the type of course that it is.
A monthly subscription cost for a nanodegree program is $399, this you will pay on a rolling monthly basis until you’ve completed the course.
Some courses are short and will only take a week to complete where some are more long-winded and can span the duration of 12 months.
This monthly cost does seem quite high when you compare it to rival open online courses, some of which only charge a one-off fee for their courses.
You also have the option to pay for a bundle monthly subscription which covers the entire duration of the course, this bundle option comes at a discounted rate to try and entice users to commit to the full duration.
For example, a monthly rolling subscription would cost you $399 for a course and if the course takes you 5 months to complete, it’ll cost you $1995, however, if you were to commit to the 5-month payment, it’ll cost you around $300-500 less than that.
This discounted price may seem alluring, but may be misleading as the complete time is based on averages. If you’re willing to dedicate more time in the week working on the course, then you will complete it in a quicker time than the average, therefore needing to pay less.
If you commit to the bundle month subscription and finish before the average time recommended to do the course, then you’ll be unable to get the money back for the time you have left on the course.
On the other hand, if you don’t graduate from the course before your bundle deal runs out then you’ll need to purchase a new subscription to still have access to your content to pass the projects and then graduate.
If you’re willing to commit and dedicate more time to your learning then going for the monthly rolling plan is the most reasonable option. If you’ll only spend a couple of evenings a week working your course, amongst trying to balance it with full-time work and life, then the bundle subscription would work better for you as you’ll have more freedom to work as and when you can.
Some organizations or companies are given discount codes by Udacity to share with customers or employers. If this code is available to you then you should take full advantage of it and take a considerable chunk out of your monthly payment.
Udacity often does sporadic sales and offers on their courses throughout the year on their website, these sales can be up to 75% and which are the ones that you really won’t want to miss out on if you’re looking into doing a nanodegree.
The pricing of Udacity can seriously be disheartening, especially if you have your heart set on a particular course.
There is some good news however, Udacity has various scholarship programs that cover the costs of an individual’s duration of a course.
These scholarships have been awarded to over 22,000 students so if you’d be interested in applying, then go to the Scholarships page on the Udacity website.
Overall, we think that Udacity Nanodegree is worth the price, the mentoring levels, graded projects, expert advice on interviews, and also the career services are all incredibly valuable to your skill-building and progression in the subject.
However, there are alternative courses available from other e-learning companies that are at much lower prices. Other e-learning courses may not offer the same level of guidance and support from mentors that Udacity has, and therefore can afford to keep their prices lower.
The worthiness of the subscription price will depend on what course you pick and how well you engage with the course.
If you dedicate a good amount of time to your projects, learning, and also reaching out to mentors and career services for advice, then you’ll find that you feel the price is more reasonable. Those who attempt the bare minimum with their course will find themselves feeling underwhelmed.
Before committing to a paid course, we recommend browsing free resources online to find out if you can learn everything you need to know without paying for it.
Sometimes businesses and e-learning companies will offer a similar course but completely free of charge. You may even be able to find free YouTube tutorials which can teach you everything you need to know.
You can browse the learning structure and topics of each course before you commit to a subscription, so make sure that everything in there covers what you need and want to know going forth in your career, otherwise you’ll be left feeling unfulfilled and resentful.
These alternative options may not offer as much structure or regimented learning as Udacity, so if you’re someone who likes everything to be organized and set out for you already then you’ll have to bite the bullet and pay the price of a subscription to Udacity.
The access you get to professionals in the industry with Udacity is priceless and you’ll be able to receive consistent feedback, career advice, and mentoring throughout the duration of your course, which is something that would not be available to you if you tried to learn everything from scratch.
When you compare the costs of Udacity to that of a Bachelors or Masters degree from an accredited University, the difference is unprecedented.
Whilst the Udacity certification is not accredited, it still provides you with valuable skills that benefit and that can further your career without having to pay the extortionate college fees.
The first call of order when using Udacity will be to choose a course that suits you. Take some time to consider your career goals and where you would like to be in a few years’ time.
Make sure to choose a course that suits your career level, there’s no point enrolling in an advanced programming course if you’ve never even coded before.
Once you’ve chosen your course and enrolled, you’ll be required to do some onboarding tasks to help set you up for success.
This onboarding process will require you to review your lesson plans, set study reminders, and also prepare for your graded projects.
Once, you’ve done onboarding you’re all set up and ready to immerse yourself in the content of your course.
The content quality of Udacity courses is of a high standard, as it should be when creating experts in the particular industry.
A large percentage of Udacity’s learning content is through video segments, which for some people may be ideal as it enables them to stay engaged and switched on whilst learning instead of tirelessly reading mountains of words on a screen.
These videos are split into 10-20 minute segments, covering a variation of topics, in between each topic there is a short quiz to test you on what has just been covered.
Udacity gives you the freedom to study a particular topic on your course when you choose to do so, not limiting you to following a regimented curriculum.
At the end of each course unit, you’ll be able to take a quiz to test your acquired knowledge from your learning. The quizzes enable you to know if you’ve been engaging enough in the material and videos available to you by auto-grading you on your answers.
The quizzes do not count towards your grade but are more beneficial to the user for knowing where they need to pay more attention. If you do not take notes or pay full attention to the learning content online then you will struggle to do well in the quizzes.
The graded projects are the main assessments for the Udacity courses. These are practical projects that get reviewed and graded by the expert mentors of your course.
The graded projects you complete in Udacity can be presented as part of your portfolio going forward in job interviews, so it’s important to try and work hard on them.
The projects are challenging but not impossible, any students who have problems can discuss with the mentors and also fellow students on the course to solve them.
Students need to pass their graded projects with a grade of ‘meets expectations’ alongside completing all the lessons in order to graduate from the course.
The Career Services resource is available to you as soon as you enroll on your nanodegree. You’ll be able to access resources for job applications, resumes, cover letters, and also interview processes.
You can have your potential resumes reviewed by a professional and also request 1-to-1 interview preparation calls with a mentor to help you out.
With your subscription to your course, you’ll have full access to the student community through the Student Hub forum.
You’ll be able to interact and discuss with other students on your chosen nanodegree course and also ask for advice from your mentors.
Many graduates of Udacity note that the Student Hub was hugely beneficial in helping them learn throughout their course.
As the courses on Udacity are created and built by industry experts and leaders you know that the course you enroll in will be credible and invaluable. The courses will allow you to learn key elements of topics and subjects at the fraction of the price of enrolling in a full-time college degree.
Udacity courses are more flexible for its users, so those who are limited on time can work and learn whenever they want without adhering to strict deadlines on top of other life matters.
Having full access to career services and mentor support will be able to enrich your expertise in the industry you’re learning about and give you a better chance of landing a job in your chosen sector should you go on to apply in the future.
Udacity gives the opportunity to engage in practice interviews, resume and cover letter resources, and even weekly 1-1 sessions with a mentor to help you gain confidence in your ability.
The certification is not globally recognized by educational or professional institutions as an accredited certificate, but will still be able to give possible employees or institutions an idea about the level of your skill and a reflection of your dedication to learning.
Udacity also offers scholarships for those who might not have the finances to cover a course, this broadens the spectrum of people who can partake in these courses and also gives people from less privileged backgrounds the ability to learn and progress in their career.
Udacity used to guarantee that their students would successfully find a job or move up in their career after graduating from a course or they could receive a full refund, however, this is not available anymore.
Many Udacity alumni have gone on to land rewarding jobs at companies like Google, Apple, and Microsoft after completing their Nanodegree at Udacity.
Udacity is truly suitable for anyone looking to expand their knowledge on a subject or seeking to learn new skills for a new career path.
Many people who are in the midst of their career use Udacity to enhance their knowledge on topics that are not well informed on, therefore making them more valuable as an employee.
Udacity can also be used by those looking to change their career path as they offer a handful of paid programs for beginners in a subject.
The e-learning program has been able to provide students with the skills and knowledge they need to break into a new industry and land a job that they previously wouldn’t have been able to do before.
The freedom to learn whenever suits those who work full-time and want to use Udacity as a side venture for either career progression or just personal interest.
There are alternative online learning platforms like Udacity that are available to everyone, some of the courses and topics offered may vary from Udacity and some will offer accredited certificates upon graduating from their courses.
Coursera is an American massive open online course provider, also founded by two Stanford students. Coursera works with universities and organizations like Google, Yale University, and IBM to offer courses, degrees, and certifications in a wide variety of subjects.
Courses offer a range of free courses and also a free trial when you first sign up. The range of courses and certifications will allow you to find something that is best suited for your level, job relevance, and career goals.
You can learn certain job skills by doing a guided project on Coursera with starting costs of only $9.99. You can even get a master track certificate which is university-issued and is credit towards a degree. Their courses expand into huge ranges from Arts & Humanities to Math & Logic, so there is something for everyone.
EdX is another open online course provider that was created by Harvard University and MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in 2012.
It offers a broad range of resources and courses, both free and unpaid for anyone looking to expand their horizons. There are over 3000+ courses on the platform including ones for professional certificates and even fully-fledged master’s degrees.
Prices will vary on the subject and the length of course that you pick, but most of the prices are very reasonable for the quality of content that you get. The cost is a one-off fee which covers the duration of the whole course, instead of a rolling cost which extends until you finish the course.
LinkedIn Learning is a subsidiary platform of LinkedIn created to provide its users with content and courses to help progress them in their careers.
The user interface is pretty standard when it comes to open online course providers and it’s easy to navigate your way through the different courses available.
They have a good variety of courses available for people to learn, however, the quality of these courses is mediocre and more suited to beginners to intermediate levels. There is a severe lack of content for those looking to advance on prior knowledge.
You’ll pay a monthly subscription fee of $29.99 to have access to all the courses on the site, which is good if you plan on enrolling in numerous courses.
However, there is no accredited certification from LinkedIn Learning and you’ll be disappointed that completion of your course will only guarantee you a badge of completion for your LinkedIn profile.
We would say that Udacity Nanodegrees are worthwhile, especially when you consider the high-standard curriculum, mentorship, and career services that are available on the platform.
The increased price is a reflection of the high-quality courses and content that Udacity provides.
Our only issue with the platform is the limited topics, which primarily focus on business and computing subjects. An expansion to cover more social sciences or humanity subjects would be much appreciated by a wider community.
If you’re willing to dedicate some time and money, then we would recommend you enroll in a nanodegree course from Udacity as you’ll find it very rewarding even if you don’t get awarded with an accredited certificate afterward.
If you’re interested in doing a course like the ones on Udacity but want to gain an accredited certificate upon completion, then you might be better off enrolling in courses on edX or Coursera.
Jacob has a background in finance and engineering. Outside of his day job, he is a lifelong learner, who enjoys reading, taking online courses, and writing about what he's learned.