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A review of edX as a tech educational tool – 2023 update

Learn more about edX including courses, costs, and user reviews so you can find out if it is right for you.

Updated in 2023

What does edX do?

Founded in 2012 by MIT and Harvard, edX is a nonprofit massive open online course (MOOC) with almost 3,400 courses. They have partnerships with major universities around the world, including UC Berkeley, UPenn, UChicago, the Sorbonne, and Oxford.

There are 4 different ways that users can participate in edX courses. The first is an XSeries program. These courses are deep dives into a specific topic. For example, Data Science and Engineering with Spark XSeries, which is from UC Berkeley, teaches students everything they need to know to properly use Spark. This XSeries program has 3 courses, which each last 2-4 weeks and require 5-10 hours per week per course. However, some of the XSeries are longer. For example, the Fundamentals of Computer Science program takes 4-6 months.

The next option is an online Master’s program from a university like UT Austin, UC San Diego, and Arizona State. Like traditional Master’s programs, these generally take between 1-4 years to complete. Similarly, they also offer MicroMasters programs. These take less time and are less expensive than a full Master’s but still come from accredited schools. These typically take between 3 months to 1 year.

The final way to participate in programs through edX is by doing a professional certificate program. Industry leaders and top university professionals design these courses. The goal is to build and enhance critical professional skills needed to succeed in today’s most in-demand fields. Some examples are data science, Python programming, and product design & health. These typically last 2-4 months.

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Who is edX for?

edX is a great source for self-paced education. They offer a large variety of topics and commitment options. Plus, since their courses are all accredited, they are a good choice for people looking to get a new degree or transition to a new type of work.

What does edX cost? How much work is involved?

The price for XSeries courses are varied from free through $400 per course. Students can also choose to add a certificate for more money. The online Master’s programs cost between $10k and $22k. As mentioned, the MicroMasters are generally less expensive, costing between $1k-$2k. The professional certificate programs range between $200-$400.

Some prerequisites are necessary. Generally, it depends on the level and topic of the course.

Ratings and reviews

The reviews of edX are mixed, but mostly positive. The platform has grown a lot but has continued to maintain their partnerships with strong universities and companies. This gives validity to the program and their courses. They have a lot of repeat students as well, so people are able to continually benefit from the program.

On the negative side, people have had administrative issues with the courses being graded. This affects the time spent in the program and the opportunity to gain a certificate from the work done. These reviews also mention there are issues with the support team not being helpful. That can also make it difficult to get help when needed.

Alternatives to edX

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

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • GrowthX Academy and allWomen Academy are online bootcamps with courses in growth marketing, UX design, and sales and business development.
  • Aspiring designers can consider Designlab. This online bootcamp that teaches the necessary skills to land a job as a UX designer. Read more about Designlab in our review.
  • Students interested in taking online self-guided or instructor-led product design courses can check out DesignerUp. Learn more about DesignerUp in our review.
More alternatives
  • Lambda School and Coding Dojo are well known bootcamps where students can learn fundamentals of software engineering and data science.
  • 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. They offer individual courses, as well as in-depth tracks.
  • 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, there are Coursera and Simplilearn, which provide free and low-cost college courses from $29 all the way to $25,000.
  • Udemy, Skillshare, Pluralsight, Learn UX, Treehouse, Interaction Design Foundation, egghead, One Month, and Learn@Forbes are online learning platforms with thousands of video courses in a wide variety of topics.
  • Free online resources, SoloLearn and the Mode tutorials have tracks in SQL, as well as other programming languages.
  • 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.
  • Students located in the Bay Area or looking to work in Silicon Valley can check out Tradecraft, which has tracks in product design, growth marketing, engineering, and sales.

How does edX compare to Pathrise?

edX is a platform with courses for people who are interested in learning a completely new skill or earning a degree. At Pathrise, job-seekers in our program 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 sessions at Pathrise are live, as well as recorded, so that job-seekers in our program can review them afterwards and continue learning. Our program is flexible, with only 2-4 hours of group sessions per week and 1-on-1 sessions that can be scheduled whenever job-seekers need them. In addition, the curriculum is personalized to work on the specific skills that people struggle with the most.

Specifically, Pathrise focuses on technical and behavioral interviewing as well as resume and LinkedIn optimization, portfolio building and strengthening, cold email and reverse recruiting lessons, and negotiation templates and guidance. Job-seekers in Pathrise find a job, on average, within 3-5 months of joining the program. The Pathrise income share agreement (ISA) means that fellows don’t pay anything until they land a job they love and start working.

Pathrise is a career accelerator that works with students and professionals 1-on-1 so they can land their dream job in tech. If you want to work with any of our mentors to get help with your technical and behavioral interviews or with any other aspect of the job search, join Pathrise.

Apply today.

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Alex MacPherson

Hi I'm Alex! Since graduating from UC Berkeley in 2019, I have worked on the growth team for Pathrise helping job seekers hone their skills to land their dream role through curated content on interview prep, resume building and more.

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