2024 Udemy Review: User-Friendly Learning For Self-Motivated Students (2024)

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  • Evaluating student outcomes data
  • Conducting additional research as needed to vet provider claims

What Is Udemy?

Udemy (pronounced “you-demy” if, like me, you’ve been enunciating the wrong syllable) is a massive self-learning marketplace.

As of May 2024, the platform boasts more than 220,000 courses in 74 languages, with over 70 million learners and 970 million total course enrollments, Udemy director of corporate communications Ellen Kiehl told me in an email. Udemy offers courses for individual enrollment, plus business and enterprise plans. For the purpose of this review, I’ll focus on the individual enrollment side.

You can learn nearly anything you want on Udemy: personal development, yoga, photography, design, marketing, coding, making sourdough—you name it.

Because Udemy offers so much content, this review will look different than my reviews of the other bootcamp platforms I’ve tried out.

Udemy Courses in a Nutshell

Key Takeways

  • All Udemy courses are self-paced and asynchronous, using pre-recorded video lectures.
  • Instructors may or may not update their course materials as their fields change.
  • Anyone can submit a course to Udemy for free.
  • A dedicated quality assurance team evaluates Udemy courses to ensure they are valuable.

Need a quick summary or topic refresh? Some classes only run for 30 minutes. Want to fully dive in and master a new skill? Look for bootcamp-style programs featuring 70 hours of lectures and dozens of assignments.

All courses are self-paced and asynchronous, meaning you get lifetime access to pre-recorded video content, which course instructors may or may not update as their respective industries evolve. Many courses include downloadable resources, assignments and projects. Engaged instructors might allow you to contact them via email or another platform. Otherwise, you can ask for help through the course’s Q&A section.

While Udemy’s scale is impressive—more than 34 million unique visitors each month—it left me with a few questions. I couldn’t help but wonder… Where does all this content come from? And how can you be sure you’re getting a quality education? To research this article, I met with Udemy CMO Genefa Murphy and vice president of product management David Koehn.

How Do Courses Get Added On Udemy?

Udemy does not consider itself a publishing platform, Murphy told me, which allows its content to stay fresh and responsive to new trends. Instead of creating its own bootcamps, Udemy relies on external submissions—and it receives around 5,000 each month.

Anyone can submit a course for free. Udemy allows potential instructors to use its Marketplace Insights tool, which reveals trending topics, student demand, estimated payments and current level of competition.

This agile production method means Udemy can react quicker to the market than other learning platforms. Murphy offered two examples: Covid-19 and ChatGPT. In both cases, Udemy had relevant courses on its platform within about 10 days, allowing learners to navigate developing situations with a bit more information.

Of course, those early courses wouldn’t be comprehensive. But they give curious students a place to start learning about new topics (including lifetime access to any content updates).

Quality Assurance

After each course is submitted, Udemy’s quality assurance team reviews it. These professionals ensure the content is valuable, high quality and unproblematic. Restricted topics include relationships, violence, weapons, illegal activities and discrimination.

From there, Udemy can best be described as a meritocracy: The market decides what courses are promoted. Popular, high-rated courses are included in the Personal Plan and business plans.

Udemy’s QA team checks for trends and notifies instructors whose courses receive repeated negative reviews. After a certain number of warnings, the instructor’s content will be removed from the platform.

On one hand, it’s incredible that Udemy boasts such a variety of well-reviewed courses across hundreds of topics. But if you’re brand new to a topic, the “more is more” approach might make it challenging to sift through a dozen similar courses in search of the perfect match. Later in this article, I’ll offer some guidance on choosing the best course for your needs.

Who Teaches Udemy Courses?

Udemy works with more than 75,000 instructors. The company breaks these individuals into two groups. Those who get the most engagement receive additional insights into their courses, including when students interact with the content or where they drop off. Instructors can use this data to improve the course.

On average, top instructors make four and a half updates per course per year, Murphy said, though it’s not clear how extensive these updates are.

Instructors come from all walks of life, which makes sense given the variety of available content on Udemy’s platform. Some have a background in education but have since transitioned to industry jobs; for others, vice versa. Udemy also sees content creators who take a more agile approach to their courses.

Many teach full time with Udemy, and some use Udemy in conjunction with their in-person teaching endeavors. For example, one of Udemy’s top instructors, Dr. Angela Yu, teaches an in-person coding bootcamp in London but offers her full curriculum online through Udemy. I’ll trial this course in a later section.

Who’s the Ideal Udemy Student?

Anyone can enroll in a Udemy course; there are no applications required or admissions criteria. Udemy offers nearly 500 free classes, which are typically one to two hours. But even the paid options are relatively cheap. At most, courses cost $200, and Udemy runs frequent sales that bring the priciest options down to $20 or less.

As a global platform, Udemy offers courses in dozens of languages, with 14,000 local language courses. Rather than being dubbed from English, these classes are fully taught in another language. Udemy also offers closed captions and language filtering options.

Udemy offers an accessible, approachable way to learn new skills, but depending on your goals and learning style, this method might not work for you. I’ve outlined a few situations where Udemy could come in handy.

  • Browsing or exploring something new. With short, low-investment courses, you can quickly get a feel for an unfamiliar topic or career path.
  • Diving into a specific subject. Udemy offers a quick way to upskill, especially if you want to tackle a specific task at work, like managing company data with Excel.
  • Earning a certification. Udemy’s certification search feature can help you find prep courses, track your progress and even schedule your test. Udemy lists more than 150 credentials and is working on an endorsem*nt program with certifying organizations.
  • Learning independently. If you enjoy working on your own and can stay focused with an asynchronous curriculum, the right course can unlock new career opportunities.

If, like me, you need a bit more motivation to get going, you might opt into the Personal Plan, which gives you access to 11,000 courses. The subscription offers more personalized guidance and accountability to help you achieve your goals. Udemy has about 150,000 Personal Plan participants, Murphy noted.

However, as with any asynchronous learning method, be honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses. If you buy a Udemy course on sale, it probably won’t put you back more than $20—but that’s still money wasted if the delivery method doesn’t work with your learning style.

You may not receive one-on-one help, and it’s up to you to stay motivated and find a learning community. You won’t be part of a cohort unless you participate in one of the business plans.

Udemy’s Platform and Programming

I’ve used Udemy in the past and always found the website easy to navigate, if a bit overwhelming at first glance.

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When presented with so much content, it’s nice to narrow it down with a few clicks. Murphy described the platform as the “Peloton of learning,” allowing you to pick a topic, instructor and length that works for you. Udemy incorporates accessibility features, including multiple languages and closed captioning.

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I chose to trial one of Udemy’s most popular programs: the Complete 2024 Web Development Bootcamp. Since I already had an account, I was able to quickly use my discount and add the course to my profile. After purchasing, Udemy reminded me about its 30-day money-back guarantee and prompted me to schedule time to learn.

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I took a few minutes to set a daily reminder in Udemy, which smoothly integrated with my Google Calendar. I could change the name, attach the event to a specific course and choose the frequency. In the “My Learning” section of my account, I could set additional reminders for other courses or different days, and I can sign up for text reminders.

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Clicking into the bootcamp takes me to the course page, where I can review more information about the course, preview the content or even skip to another module if needed. Since Udemy is focused on skill acquisition, the platform makes it easy to skip around a course and only complete the topics you want to focus on.

The introductory course materials revealed that the in-person version of this bootcamp takes 12 weeks, but some online learners have completed the curriculum in just three. Yu has seen all ages of enrollment, from 11 to 86. The beginner-friendly curriculum starts with foundational topics: What is the internet, and how do websites work?

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In the Q&A forum, I can look through (or answer) other learners’ questions, search, and sort by most recent or highest rated. In total, this course had more than 71,000 questions. Students are also encouraged to post their work here for feedback and encouragement.

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I’m a big note-taker, and as I’ve learned, not all platforms integrate a useful feature for this. Udemy allowed me to create a note at a specific time stamp, complete with formatting options. I started one in the dedicated “Notes” tab, which created a yellow marker. Then, I could click into the note and keep typing without ever leaving the video player.

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Out of curiosity, I also created a Personal Plan profile. I received an overview of these features from Koehn, who said Personal Plan participants receive more personalized suggestions and gamified features to encourage engagement. Setting up my own profile only took a few minutes, and the process asked what job I was learning for, what skills I needed and whether I wanted to pursue any certifications.

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My Personal Plan unlocked a streaks feature, which offers an extra boost of accountability, but I couldn’t find a way to customize my daily or weekly learning goals.

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Overall, I found everything on Udemy’s site to be smooth and simple to use. I could choose a course, purchase it (or subscribe to the Personal Plan), and start learning within 10 minutes. If you have a sudden burst of motivation, this is a great way to capture that.

Pro Tip

Udemy enters each new enrollee into a “learner nurture path” to help them achieve milestones. The key is staying in the flow, following through on your reminders, and building your new skills through Udemy’s course suggestions.

The Udemy team is also looking into incorporating an AI chatbot to increase learner motivation, Koehn told me.

Udemy Bootcamp Offerings

Since Udemy has such a vast catalog, I’ve highlighted a few of the most popular bootcamp-style courses below. These courses feature comprehensive, beginner-friendly curriculums, high ratings and extensive video content.

The Complete 2024 Web Development Bootcamp

  • Total Upfront Cost: $109.99 (on sale for $11.99)
  • Time Commitment: 62 hours of lectures
  • Key Competencies: HTML, CSS, Flexbox, Bootstrap, Javascript, DOM manipulation, Node.js, Express.js, Github, APIs, databases, SQL, NFTs
  • Prerequisites: N/A
  • Locations: Online

This bestselling program boasts a 4.7 rating with more than 370,000 reviews. As of May 2024, more than 1.2 million students have enrolled in Udemy’s web development bootcamp. Throughout the course, learners complete 16 projects they can use in their portfolios. The curriculum takes learners from total beginners to full-stack developers, even covering crypto, blockchain and NFTs toward the end. It was last updated in March 2024.

The Data Science Course: Complete Data Science Bootcamp 2024

  • Total Upfront Cost: $119.99 (on sale for $12.99)
  • Time Commitment: 32 hours of video lectures
  • Key Competencies: Python, NumPy, pandas, Tableau, machine learning, deep learning, matplotlib, TensorFlow
  • Prerequisites: N/A
  • Locations: Online

This course features 31 hours of video content and 137 coding exercises. The curriculum starts with a foundational overview of the data science field, then dives into probability, statistics, Python, mathematics and deep learning. Finally, data science bootcamp learners cement their learning through a multipart case study. It was last updated in March 2024.

The Ultimate MySQL Bootcamp: Go from SQL Beginner to Expert

  • Total Upfront Cost: $119.99 ($12.99 on sale)
  • Time Commitment: 22 hours of video content
  • Key Competencies: SQL, CRUD, string functions, aggregate functions, Window functions, databases
  • Prerequisites: N/A
  • Locations: Online

This course, one of several bestselling programs by highly rated instructor Colt Steele, offers a focused and in-depth approach to learning MySQL. Students in this SQL bootcamp create their own databases, model data, create reports and write SQL join queries. The course was recently updated in May 2024, and has earned a 4.7 star rating with over 92,000 reviews.

Udemy Financing Options

Udemy offers two options for individual learners: they can either purchase individual courses or enroll in the Personal Plan. The subscription, which costs $35 monthly or $240 annually, allows students to access 11,000 courses. However, if your plan lapses, you’ll lose access to any subscription content.

One-Time Course PurchaseBuy Now, Pay LaterMonthly SubscriptionAnnual Subscription
  • Some courses are free; others cost up to $200
  • Udemy has frequent sales
  • Lifetime access to purchased courses
  • Finance courses that cost more than $25
  • Offered with Afterpay or Klarna
  • Lifetime access to purchased courses
  • Flexible monthly payments for $35
  • Lose progress and access to content if you cancel
  • Not able to pause
  • Less expensive one-time payment of $240
  • Lose progress and access to content if you cancel
  • Not able to pause

Udemy Student Outcomes Data

As a nontraditional bootcamp provider, Udemy doesn’t track graduation rates, job placement or earnings in the same way full-service platforms might.

Recently, Udemy has shifted its focus toward certifications, which can make learners more competitive in the job market. Learners might use parts of multiple courses to learn the skills they need, so Udemy doesn’t report course completion statistics.

The platform points students toward courses that help them earn specific credentials and allows them to upload any badges they earn. Students working toward a credential tend to engage with Udemy more than those using the platform for general learning, an internal study showed.

In the 150 days prior to uploading a badge, Udemy saw that credential-focused learners spent triple the amount of time using the platform.

Around 11,000 organizational learners—people in the Team Plan or Enterprise Plan—have uploaded badges to Udemy, Koehn said.

Udemy also saw a positive impact on certification completion rates in a customer case study. An international tech company conducted an A/B test of 200 consultants. Over four months, the company saw that students who used Udemy earned their certifications 13 days faster, or a 49% increase over their peers.

CIRR Reporting Status

In a largely unregulated bootcamp market, the Council on Integrity in Results Reporting (CIRR) attempts to offer prospective students some peace of mind. CIRR members meet standards for gathering, reporting and auditing their outcomes data. Udemy is not a reporting CIRR member.

Udemy Career Services

Udemy does not offer any specific career services, though job seekers could certainly enroll in a course on building a competitive résumé or polishing their LinkedIn profile. The courses do not incorporate internship or mentorship opportunities, so it’s up to each learner to network and find their own support system.

However, courses might include access to a Facebook group or similar community, which could help learners meet their peers and find job opportunities.

Udemy: Our Expert Take

At each step of the way, Udemy was easy to use. Throughout the experience, my only complaint is also Udemy’s main strength: the volume of content. With courses produced so quickly, and by anyone, it can feel overwhelming to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth.

With such a low cost for most of Udemy’s courses—especially if you take advantage of one of the platform’s frequent sales—I don’t feel too concerned about a lost investment. As long as you do your due diligence while researching your course, your time won’t be wasted. Also, each course is backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee. The Personal Plan also allows for even more freedom, giving you the chance to try out multiple classes to find one you like.

Overall Experience

Udemy has a very smooth purchasing and signup experience, and I enjoyed the extra accountability features, like reminders and streaks. You can clearly see what you’re signing up for before you purchase, since each course page details its curriculum, video lengths, assignments and reviews.

Ease of Use

After purchasing a course, I found the experience intuitive. It’s easy to click around different modules, download resources, ask a question and take notes. I didn’t notice any major bugs during my trial or previous experience with the platform.

I also downloaded the app, which has a 4.7 rating across roughly 76,000 reviews. It only took a few seconds to sign in and access my courses from my phone—a great perk that might replace my evening doom scroll. You can also download individual lectures and brush up on your skills on the go.

Service and Support

While I didn’t interact with Udemy’s support team, I did get a glimpse into peer and instructor interaction. Since Udemy is an entirely asynchronous program, I wasn’t able to communicate with other learners. Udemy allows students and instructors to communicate via direct message and the Q&A forum, but for real-time interaction, some courses might feature an external community on Slack or Discord.

Otherwise, learners are mostly on their own. Depending on the instructor’s course load, they may not be able to offer feedback or individual support to every student. Instead, Udemy learners should be resourceful in looking for a mentor or learning group in their area.

What Sets Udemy Apart

Udemy is unique in its scale, with an intriguing mix of courses to satiate nearly any curiosity. However, it can feel overwhelming to sift through so many options in search of one that meets your exact needs. Below, I’ve outlined how to choose a good course on Udemy.

  • Review the course enrollments and ratings. Well-rated courses with high enrollments indicate credibility.
  • Research the instructor. Look at their qualifications and past projects on LinkedIn or their personal website. Understand whether they’ll be directly involved in your course.
  • Sort through the reviews. Try to find reviews from people who have completed the course, or at least a significant part of it, and can offer a meaningful insight. I was allowed to review a course after 1% completion.
  • Check when the content was last updated. You can find this on the course info page, and some reviews might mention outdated content.
  • Identify the exact skills you need. For example, look at job postings to find specific coding languages or libraries you’ll need to know. Tech is always changing, so a well-rated course still might incorporate out-of-date information. If you’re prepping for an exam, make sure the course uses the most recent content outlines.

Udemy vs. Similar Bootcamp Providers

UdemyCourseraSimplilearnAltcademy
Course Offerings
  • 220,000 courses in coding, AI, cybersecurity, marketing and more
  • More than 5,000 courses in coding, data science, business and more
  • Data Analytics
  • AI and machine learning
  • Applied generative AI
  • Cybersecurity
  • UI/UX
  • Coding
  • Shorter certificate courses
  • Front-end web development
  • Back-end web development
  • Full-stack web development
  • Full-stack development with data science and applied AI
Program LengthAbout 1 to 70 hours of video lectures3-9 months5-6 months for full bootcamps10-47 weeks
Upfront Tuition CostFree to $200Free to $79/month$4,000-$10,000$1,190-$2,260
Financing Options
  • One-time purchase
  • Partner financing
  • Monthly subscription
  • Annual subscription
Monthly subscription

Annual subscription

Financial aid

Loans

  • Upfront payment
  • Finance through credit partners
  • Upfront payment
  • 12-month installment plan
Locations
  • Online
  • Online
  • Online
  • Online
Career Services
  • N/A
  • Online career services community
  • Career-focused webinars
  • Alum groups for college programs
  • Portfolio prep
  • LinkedIn review
  • Partnership with Talent, Inc.
  • Résumé review
  • Mock interviews
  • Social profile review
  • Job search framework
CIRR Reporting Member?NoNoNoNo
Job Guarantee Available?NoNoNoNo
Publishes Student Outcomes Data?NoYesNoNo
Read Review--Read our review of SimplilearnRead our review of Altcademy

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Udemy

Are Udemy courses actually good?

Yes, many Udemy courses are highly rated and come from respected professionals. Many instructors teach full-time with Udemy and use data to improve and update their courses.

Is Udemy a trusted platform?

Yes, Udemy is a reputable platform. The marketplace features a 30-day money-back guarantee, so if you’re dissatisfied with a course, you can ask for a refund. Also, Udemy enforces a quality review process and removes instructors who receive repeated negative feedback.

Is a Udemy certificate worth it?

Udemy certificates can demonstrate that you’ve gained a specific skill, and this could help you land a new role or promotion. However, the best proof is your work; many courses include assignments or projects that you can show future employers.

What are the disadvantages of Udemy?

Udemy courses are entirely self-paced and asynchronous. To finish a course, you’ll have to be disciplined and self-motivated. Also, not all courses are updated frequently, so they may have outdated information.

2024 Udemy Review: User-Friendly Learning For Self-Motivated Students (2024)
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