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Udacity vs Coursera: Prices, topics, and details

Hi, I’m Sam! I have been a product manager for years. Now I work as an industry mentor for the product, strategy, and operations track at Pathrise. I help people land their dream job through workshops and 1-on-1 mentoring. Check out my article where I compare Udacity vs Coursera.

Similarities and differences between Udacity and Coursera

Udacity and Coursera both offer courses in software engineering, web development, digital marketing, data science, UX design, machine learning, data engineering, data analytics, and dozens of other tech topics.

Similarities

  • Both programs are remote.
  • Udacity & Coursera both offer degree programs that give grads certifications.
  • Courses are hands-on and give students an opportunity to build projects for their portfolios.
  • Udacity and Coursera’s courses are usually open to anyone, admitting students on a first-come-first-served basis.

Differences

  • Students in Udacity’s nanodegree courses work 1-on-1 with both industry experts and career coaches.
  • Coursera courses can last 4-10+ months, but usually require less than 5 hours of work per week. Students in a Udacity nanodegree program should expect to work 5-10 hours every week for 3-7 months.
  • Udacity focuses on tech skills. Coursera teaches tech as well as a variety of other topics including languages, music, and even philosophy.
  • While both platforms collaborate on courses with big tech companies like IBM and Google, only Coursera partners with top universities to offer degrees and master’s programs. Udacity nanodegrees are not actual degrees and do not come from accredited universities.
Photo of Udacity vs Coursera

Courses offered by Udacity and Coursera

Both Udacity and Coursera offer courses that cover the following topics and much more:

  • UX design
  • Web development
  • Data science
  • Machine learning
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Software engineering 
  • Product management
  • Business analytics
  • Data analytics

Prices for Udacity and Coursera

Udacity courses can last anywhere from a few days to 7+ months. Many courses, especially shorter introductory courses, are free. However, their more popular and comprehensive nanodegree programs range in cost from $599 to $1,199. Students can pay upfront, in monthly installments, or with loans. Nanodegree courses last 4-7 months with 5-10 hours of work every week. 

Individual classes on Coursera range from $29 to $99, depending on the topic. Like Udacity, their program is open to anyone with no formal admissions process. Even the more advanced “specialization” courses, which recommend that students have some experience, are open to anyone. These specialization courses cost between $39 and $79 per month and last 3-6+ months. Students can apply for need-based financial aid as well.

However, Coursera’s online degrees are far pricier, comparable to college tuition. They range from $15,000 to $25,000. These accredited university programs require a formal application and last 24-36+ months. Beyond classwork and lectures, students participate in virtual office hours with professors and dozens of hands-on projects. Students graduate with an official degree from an accredited university.

Ratings and reviews of Udacity and Coursera

Online reviews for Udacity are generally positive. They hold a 4.62/5 star rating on Switchup, where grads appreciated that even though courses were part-time, they were still hands-on and “very practical.” One grad liked that the nanodegrees teach both real-world tech and career skills students “can immediately apply in the job search.” However, some reviewers felt Udacity’s recent growth might lower the quality of their courses and the amount of support available.

Some grads on Reddit also wanted more support. They wished that students had more 1-on-1 time with their technical mentors. While grads generally valued the industry mentoring, some had mixed feelings about the career coaching and job support. Some students also were also frustrated with the assignments, with one grad on G2 wishing students could contact their instructors more easily for support. Overall, however, grads seemed satisfied with Udacity’s flexible but hands-on courses.

Most Coursera reviews are similarly positive, especially for their degree programs. Users on G2 appreciated that courses were “interactive” with “labs and tests that test practical skills.” Grads also liked that they could take courses from “tech giants including Google, IBM” as well as top universities. Plenty of students participated in multiple Coursera courses as they felt the pricing was fair and the courses weren’t too grueling.

However, some Coursera users were disappointed with the support and organization. Some students on a free trial were unable to cancel their subscription in time and the full price was charged. Some users also felt the pricing for specialization courses was unclear and even confusing, resulting in extra payments that were difficult to get refunded. On the whole, however, users were impressed with Coursera’s flexible, affordable, but still engaging courses.

Alternatives to Udacity and Coursera

If you decide not to enroll in Coursera or Udacity, you might consider one of the alternatives below:

  • Another online learning platform that offers university courses and degree certificate courses is edX. They host courses from schools like Harvard and MIT as well as big tech companies like Microsoft. Their courses are on a wide variety of tech topics, including software engineering, web dev, digital marketing, and sales. Learn more about edX in our review.
  • The massive online learning platform Udemy hosts over 100k courses on both tech and humanities topics. Their courses are self-paced and lecture-based.
  • Skillshare also hosts 19,000+ free and paid courses covering a huge variety of tech topics, including web dev, UX/UI design, business analytics, and much more. Their courses are online and flexible like both Udacity and Coursera.
  • Students seeking self-paced learning with mentoring can look into Springboard. Students in their tech career tracks build 14 portfolio projects with weekly mentorship meetings, similar to Udacity’s nanodegree program. If students don’t land a great job within 6 months of graduating, they get a full refund. Learn more about Springboard in our review.
  • The self-paced coding bootcamp CodeX Academy helps people launch new careers in software engineering and web development. Like Udacity’s nanodegree program, they offer 1-on-1 mentoring opportunities. Learn more about CodeX Academy in our review.
  • People looking for courses in digital marketing, UX design, sales, or business development can check out GrowthX Academy. Like Udacity’s nanodegrees, their SaaS program includes 1-on-1 mentoring with hands-on assignments.
  • Aspiring software engineers and UX designers can check out Kenzie Academy, a full-time tech bootcamp that offers in-person and online courses. Learn more about Kenzie Academy in our review. 
More alternatives
  • Other popular software engineering bootcamps include Rithm School, Codesmith, and The Software Guild. While these programs may be more intensive than Coursera’s courses and Udacity’s part-time nanodegrees, students learn software skills very quickly.
  • The popular bootcamps Thinkful, allWomen Academy, GW Bootcamps, and Flatiron School both offer programs in software engineering, data science, and other tech fields.
  • BrainStation is another bootcamp with tracks in web development, web design, data science, marketing, and product management. Like Udacity’s nanodegree courses, BrainStation features project-based learning and 1-on-1 feedback for students.
  • For those interested in self-paced data science learning, Data Science Dream Job offers remote, flexible courses for aspiring data analysts and data scientists.
  • The online data resource DataCamp has over 300 short courses on data science subjects, similar to Coursera’s shorter course offerings.
  • An alternative to Coursera’s specialization courses, Metis offers courses to aspiring data scientists with some experience. Learn more about Metis in our review.
  • Codecademy is one of the most popular coding programs on the web. They offer free courses on many different programming languages and even data science. Their membership options range from $20 to $40 per month for greater course options and support. Learn more about Codecademy in our review.
  • For people seeking an online product design bootcamp with both instructor-led and self-guided options, DesignerUp could be an option worth considering. You can read more about DesignerUp in our review.
  • The online bootcamp Designlab also teaches the necessary skills to land entry-level UX designer jobs. Read our review of Designlab to see if it fits your goals.

How do Udacity and Coursera compare to Pathrise?

Udacity and Coursera host online courses that teach people the skills they need to launch a career in tech. While both programs offer part-time and self-paced courses in UX design, software engineering, web dev, machine learning, digital marketing, data analytics, and data science, Coursera covers a much wider range of subjects, including the humanities.

While Coursera’s degrees require formal university admission, most of their students start regular courses with no formal tech experience. Pathrise fellows should have some background in their chosen field so that they can fully benefit from our industry workshops and 1-on-1 sessions, which can cover challenging technical interview questions. We have tracks in software engineering, product design, data science, digital marketing, sales, product management, strategy, and ops.

Pathrise is a full-service organization that helps with all phases of the job search. Our mentors have experience on both sides of the hiring table and have helped 700+ people land great jobs. Mentors work with fellows on their resume, LinkedIn, and portfolio optimization, reverse recruiting and cold emailing, behavioral and technical interview prep, salary negotiation, and much more. 

While Coursera offers financial aid, students pay monthly, upfront, or through loans. Udacity also requires upfront or fixed payments before or during the course. The Pathrise income share agreement (ISA) is 9% of the first year’s salary and we never require upfront payments. 

Pathrise is a career accelerator that helps students and professionals land their dream tech job through 1-on-1 mentoring. With our tips and guidance, fellows have seen their interview scores double and their application responses triple. If you are interested in working with any of our mentors to land your dream job faster, become a Pathrise fellow. 

Apply today.

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