How do Udemy, Udacity and Coursera compare?

Originally answered on Quora

The trending question on Quora last week…

…was about the differences/similarities of a few of the biggest online learning platforms — specifically Udemy, Udacity, and Coursera.

Quick note — there are many more amazing online learning platforms, such as edX and FutureLearn — but I’m just going to stick with these 3 here.

Here’s how I like to think about these course providers:


Udemy has the largest course selection — which offers pros and cons. Courses can be taught by anyone (not necessarily a teacher and expertise level can vary dramatically), which can make it quite difficult for a student to determine which might be the best course for them to take.

That said, Udemy specializes in specific skill training, and if you are wanting go deep in an area (as opposed to broad overviews) this is a great resource.

They do offer certificates, but they do not the highest perceived value, compared to “Specializations” and “Nanodegrees” (see below), and I would actually say these certificates carry the least “weight.” Because the courses can be taught by anyone, and there are no assessments to verify skill/knowledge attainment, a certificate means little besides you took the initiative to enroll in a course.


Udacity offers industry expert led courses that are corporate sponsored, and focused in the tech industry

If you want a career in tech and/or continue your education in tech, this is where I’d go.

They have “nanodegrees” which are recognized by employers, and I consider these perhaps the best courses online. They do tend to be more of an investment — one that I believe is well worth it.


Coursera (like edX and FutureLearn) are University taught courses.

These courses tend to be broad in scope, but cover nearly any sector you may be looking to learn.

They have certificates and “Specializations” which validate your learning and are becoming more and more recognized by employers.


Coursera pricing seems to be between that of Udacity (most expensive — at least in regards to their nanodegrees) and Udemy (least expensive), though Coursera is trending to push people to subscription based enrollment, which could increase or decrease the cost of this education depending on how active a learner one is.

The way I like to use these courses:

  • Start with a Coursera broad review
  • Dive deep into specific areas on Udemy
  • “Graduate” to Udacity Nanodegrees to further expertise

Hope this helps some!

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Kevin Stock is the CEO at CredEd, inventor of the NED (sleep apnea and snoring device), and author of Yourdrum (←read this. just do it.)