Udemy is one of the world’s largest massive open online course (MOOC) platforms. As of 2020, it had more than 35 million students enrolled in more than 130,000 courses in more than 65 languages. Udemy doesn’t have subscriptions. Each course is sold separately or you can get access to 5,000+ business-related courses with a business account.
- Professional skills
- Professional certifications
- Personal development
- + Courses in every category imaginable
- + Lifetime access for many courses
- + Purchase only what you want
- - Class quality varies
- - No subscription plans
Udemy is technically a marketplace for online courses. Because anyone can create a Udemy course, there are courses available in virtually every category imaginable. It would take us forever to list all the subjects offered at Udemy, but here’s a breakdown of the main categories.
Development – - incl. web development, data science, programming languages, mobile development, software engineering
Business – incl. entrepreneurship, management, sales, business strategy, project management
Finance & accounting – incl. financial modeling & analysis, investing & trading, compliance, money management
IT & Software - incl. IT certification, network & security, hardware, operating systems
Office productivity – incl. Microsoft, Apple, Google, Oracle, SAP
Personal development – incl. productivity, leadership, happiness, parenting & relationships, stress management
Design – incl. web design, graphic design, fashion design, game design, 3D animation
Marketing – incl. digital marketing, SEO, branding, public relations, growth hacking
Lifestyle – incl. arts & crafts, food & beverage, beauty & makeup, pet care & training
Photography & video – incl. digital photography, commercial photography, video design
Health & fitness – incl. sports, nutrition, yoga, dieting, meditation
Music – incl. music production, music techniques, music software vocal
Teaching & academics – incl. science, math, humanities, engineering, language
The structure for most Udemy courses is what’s known as on-demand, meaning you can study at your own pace. Courses revolve around on-demand video lectures (ranging from 1-2 hours for short courses to hundreds of hours for advanced courses) usually accompanied by additional content such as articles, links, and short Q&A. Courses that offer certificates of completion or certifications often require you to fulfill requirements such as an exam or test.
Anyone can create a course on Udemy, and at last count there were 57,000 instructors hailing from almost every country on the planet. This fact leads to a wide variation in quality, but rest assured–there are literally thousands of courses on Udemy run by world-class instructors.
The good news is that you can read the instructor’s bio and user reviews on the course page. Some of the top Udemy courses have been reviewed tens of thousands of times, so you know exactly what you’re getting when you sign up.
Just to provide a few examples from some of Udemy’s most popular courses:
- Financial analyst training course run by an MBA professor and TEDx Talk speaker–with a 4.5-star rating from 20,000+ reviews
- Python programming bootcamps led by a head of data science for a big tech startup–with a 4.6-star rating from 300,000+ reviews
- Speed-reading course from a best-selling author–with a 4.5-star rating from 28,000+ reviews
Despite having so many courses, it’s not all that hard to find what you’re looking for. You can search by category (see ‘Subjects offered’ above) and sub-category for the popular courses, or type anything into the search bar at the top of the screen.
Each course has its own page that shows you exactly what you’re getting. At the top of the screen, you’ll see the course rating, the date the course was uploaded, the number of students enrolled, and the price. Scroll down to find out what you’ll learn, course materials (e.g. how many hours of on-demand video + other content), course requirements, and instructor bios and reviews.
Most courses give you lifetime access, so you can learn at your own pace and come back to the course any time you want. After purchasing a course, it will appear on your ‘My courses’ page. You can sort your courses into collections if you wish.
Udemy also a very functional mobile app for iOS and Android. You can use it to view courses on your smartphone or tablet or to cast to your TV with a streaming stick.
It’s completely free to sign up for Udemy and scroll through the course list. Each course must be purchased separately and the price really does vary. You can find classes for $10 through to bootcamps and masterclasses that cost hundreds dollars. With that said, even the most-expensive classes are a lot cheaper than enrolling for a similar course at a university, community college, or technical school. Many courses come with a 30-day money back guarantee.
Although Udemy doesn’t offer individual subscriptions, it does have what’s known as Udemy for Business–a subscription plan for businesses with access to 5,000+ courses. You can add up to 20 people per subscription, and it also includes a free trial.
Udemy (a combination of the words ‘you’ and academy’) was founded in San Francisco in 2010 by entrepreneurs Eren Bali, Gagan Biyani, and Oktay Caglar. The idea was actually born in 2007 when Bali built a software a live virtual classroom while living in Turkey. He saw huge potential, and moved to Silicon Valley where he and his co-founders launched the platform. Udemy is privately owned and is worth an estimated $2 billion.
We recommend Udemy for the perpetual learner or the person who just needs to learn one specific subject. Because you only pay for courses you use, you can safely use Udemy without any commitments. And when you sign up for a course, presto–you get unlimited lifetime access to materials that can help you in your professional and/or personal development.