Photo of a review of Coursera as a tech educational tool

A review of Coursera as a tech educational tool

What does Coursera do?

Coursera is a paid online education tool. Students choose between courses, specializations, and degree programs. Subjects include data science, computer science, marketing, design, and more. The courses are a mix of recorded video lectures, assignments, and community discussion forums. They teach a new skill in 4-6 weeks. Students finish these with a digital, shareable certificate.

Here is an example of the shareable certificate:

Photo of Coursera certificate

Specializations are more rigorous and more focused on career-specific skills. Students participate in a variety of courses on the subject over 4-6 months and tackle a hands-on project. Similar to the courses track, they receive a Specialization certificate. The final option is an online master’s degree from an accredited university partner of Coursera. These are only offered in business, data science, and computer science. They require the student to spend 1-3 years of study.

Photo of Coursera platform
Photo of Coursera course

Who is Coursera for?

People who are interested in learning a new skill, advancing their current knowledge, or receiving a master’s degree in computer science, data science, or business without going back to school full-time would benefit from Coursera. 

What does Coursera cost? How much work is involved?

Courses on Coursera range from $29 to $99, depending on the subject. There is no admissions process for courses. Similarly, Specializations do not have an application, so anyone can participate. These range from $39 to $79 per month, meaning the maximum amount someone could pay for a Specialization would $475. The online degrees require an application and admissions process and cost between $15k and $25k. 

Ratings and reviews

When reviewing the curriculum and courses, most people are positive. They have had good instructors and felt that they learned a fair amount in the classes. Many students participate in more than one course because they enjoyed it so much. In addition, most feel the pricing is reasonable.

The main negative review is on the administrative side. After being offered a free or reduced trial, students were upset to see that they were unable to cancel their subscription in time for the full price to be charged. In general, people find the pricing for the Specializations to be unclear. Often, this results in extra payments, which they have trouble getting refunded.

Alternatives to Coursera

As an educational program, there are a fair number of alternatives to Coursera.

  • You can check out Udacity and Springboard. These are online educational platforms that students can use to brush up on the basics or advance their current tech skills. Read more about Udacity and Springboard in our reviews.
  • edX is one of the largest online learning platforms. They have courses from top universities like Harvard and MIT as well as big tech companies like Microsoft. Learn more about edX in our review.
  • One of the most well known bootcamps is General Assembly. They offer full-time, part-time, and 1-day courses on a variety of topics like software engineering, data science, UX design, digital marketing, product management, and more. Read more about General Assembly in our review.
  • Students can also consider Kenzie Academy. A full-time tech bootcamp, Kenzie offers in-person and online courses in 2 tracks: software engineering & UX design and front-end engineering. Learn more about Kenzie Academy in our review.
  • Aspiring software engineers and web developers can also consider CodeX Academy, a self-paced coding bootcamp with mentorship opportunities. Learn more about CodeX Academy in our review.
  • Designers should look into Designlab. This online bootcamp that teaches the necessary skills to land a job as a UX designer. Read more about Designlab in our review.
  • GrowthX Academy is an online bootcamp with courses in growth marketing, UX design, and sales and business development. Learn more about GrowthX Academy in our review of the program.
  • If you are looking for a free online digital marketing resource, check out the short courses offered by SEMrush Academy, QuickSprout, Facebook Blueprint, or HubSpot Academy.
  • Similarly, Bootcamp DigitalDigital Creative Institute, Somerville Academy, Skillcrush, and InternStreet offer tracks in digital marketing.
More alternatives to Coursera
  • Students interested in taking online self-guided or instructor-led product design courses can check out DesignerUp. Learn more about DesignerUp in our review.
  • Lambda School, Hack Reactor, Fullstack Academy, and Coding Dojo are well known bootcamps where students can learn fundamentals of software engineering and data science.
  • If you want extra help before a bootcamp, First Step Coding has a software engineering prep course.
  • Codecademy is one of the most popular coding programs online. They provide free courses on many different programming languages. They also offer membership options ranging from $20 to $40. Learn more about Codecademy in our review.
  • For people with an interest in data science, Metis has part-time introduction courses as well as onsite and online bootcamp options. Learn more about Metis in our review.
  • DataCamp, Dataquest, Promotable, and Data Science Dojo are also options for current and aspiring data scientists.
  • Free online resources, SoloLearn and the Mode tutorials have tracks in SQL, as well as other programming languages.
  • Offering a variety of diploma programs, certificate courses, and other training, BrainStation is for students who are looking to pivot into a new career in data science, UX/UI design, development, and product management.
  • Similarly, Udemy, Skillshare, Learn UX, Treehouse, Interaction Design Foundation, egghead, and Pluralsight are online learning platforms with thousands of video courses in a wide variety of topics.
  • For designers, HackDesign is a free online newsletter with lessons and tools.
  • Students located in the Bay Area can check out Tradecraft, which has tracks in product design, growth marketing, engineering, and sales.

We created a list of the best resources to learn software engineering and data science, so you can decide what the best option is for you. You can also check out our list of 93 software engineering interview questions from top tech companies to practice.

How does Coursera compare to Pathrise?

Coursera is an online education tool, with courses for people who are interested in learning a completely new skill, advancing their current skills, or gaining a degree. At Pathrise, our fellows should already have a background in the field they are interested in so that they can participate in and fully benefit from our technical workshops, where we provide a more specific curriculum based on what they will see in their interviews.

All of our workshops and sessions at Pathrise are live, so that our fellows can interact with the advisors as they teach and ask questions when they arise. We also provide personalized, 1-on-1 technical and behavioral interview sessions as well as resume and LinkedIn optimization, portfolio building and strengthening, cold email and reverse recruiting lessons, and negotiation templates and guidance. Pathrise fellows never pay anything upfront and only after they begin working at a job they love do they pay their income share agreement, which is 9% of their first year’s salary.

Pathrise is a career accelerator that works with students and young professionals 1-on-1 so they can land their dream job in tech. With our tips and guidance, we’ve seen our fellows interview performance scores double.

If you want to work with any of our advisors 1-on-1 to get help with your technical and behavioral interviews or with any other aspect of the job search, become a Pathrise fellow. 

Apply today.

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