With bargain-prices, seemingly endless sales, and a mind boggling range of over 150,000 online courses, Udemy is a popular destination for people keen to learn new skills.
But is Udemy worth it, or is it a waste of your time? In this Udemy review, you can find out.
Let’s begin by answering an important question:
- Why Listen to Us?
- What is Udemy?
- What Kind of Courses are on Udemy?
- Udemy Review: Pricing
- Udemy Money Back Guarantee
- Features and Functionality
- Is Udemy Worth it Since it Provides No Sense of Community?
- Example Udemy Courses
- How to Choose the Best Udemy Courses
- Specific Courses We?ve Taken on Udemy: Our Experiences
- Is Udemy Worth it for Selling Courses?
- Is Udemy Worth it as a Place to Learn?
- How Will Udemy Courses Help Your Career?
- Udemy Review Roundup: The Good and The Bad
- Who is Udemy Ideal For?
- Udemy Review: Conclusion
- Alternatives to Udemy
- Other Popular Content
Why Listen to Us?
The HomeWorkingClub team has had years of experience with Udemy. As well as reviewing it, we’ve taken several courses ourselves. We discuss those experiences later in this review.
Thanks to the company’s almost-permanent sales, you can often pick up courses for little more than 10 bucks each – a very small investment in your professional development.
But the site isn’t perfect, so it’s important that we cover the downsides too. At HomeWorkingClub, we have a reputation for always sharing the bad as well as the good.
We shall start at the beginning:
What is Udemy?
Udemy is an online learning platform offering over 150,000 different courses in a vast range of subjects. Over 44 Million people have taken courses via the site.
Udemy courses are delivered by “expert instructors,” but the definition of “expert” is very broad – and can include self proclaimed experts.
Unlike some other online course providers like edX and Coursera, Udemy doesn’t market courses created by universities and educational institutions. In fact, anyone can create and sell a course on Udemy – and that includes you!
This means that there are actually two important questions to answer:
- Is Udemy worth it if you want to learn new skills?
- Is Udemy good as a place to create and sell courses of your own?
In this Udemy review, we look at both angles.
Is Udemy Legit?
Udemy is completely legit. Millions of people use the online course platform for personal development, and to learn new professional skills. It’s also a platform that household-name companies use to train their staff.
Udemy has had accolades from the likes of Forbes and Mashable, and is used by Fortune 500 companies like Apple and Volkswagen.
Is Udemy a Scam?
Udemy is not a scam. It’s a household name in online courses, and has been in operation since 2010.
Is Udemy Accredited?
Udemy is NOT accredited or partnered with any educational institutions.
Why Is Udemy Bad? Why The Negative Press?
We can’t write an honest review of Udemy without acknowledging that there are plenty of people out there with negative things to say about the platform. Udemy TrustPilot reviews, for example, have a distinctly average score overall.
There is, of course, the fact that any online learning platform the size of Udemy is going to attract some negative feedback. But there’s one main reason for this:
The fact that anyone can create Udemy courses is a double-edged sword. It means that the quality of courses can vary considerably.
It’s crucial to read individual course reviews in detail, and with a critical eye. You can also look for round-ups of the best Udemy courses, such as our own list of suggestions.
Some popular courses on Udemy are created by true gurus in their field – there’s no doubting that they are good courses.
But as it’s possible for anybody to set up shop on the platform, course quality is sometimes less than good. They may be delivered by instructors without a flair for teaching, or could perhaps lack the solid production values that are a given on an accredited course platform.
So – to wrap up this section – Udemy IS completely legit. Those who are negative about the platform are likely to have chosen a poor-quality course – and it’s impossible to deny that those exist.
What Kind of Courses are on Udemy?
You can learn just about anything on Udemy, from mindfulness to music, or design to dog training. It?s fantastic for learning a new hobby or updating skills.
Some of the different categories on Udemy include:
- IT and Software Courses
- Personal Development
- Graphic Design
- Project Management
- Digital Marketing
- Social Media Management
If there’s something you want or need to learn, it’s almost certain you’ll find a suitable course on the Udemy website.
For example, one of the team needed to know how to use GarageBand on an iPad before using it with young students. A quick search for “GarageBand for iPad” found three possible courses, and the particular course chosen walked through every required step.
In cases like this when all you want is knowledge, Udemy is ideal. However, if you need a certificate of completion, or an industry-recognised qualification, then Udemy is not the platform to choose.
Pro Tip: Using Udemy to Help You Decide What to Study
If you know that you want to learn something new, but you’re undecided what to focus on, looking at the bestselling courses on Udemy can be a good way to come up with inspiration.
The fact that these are the things people are focussing on gives some indication that they are the skills in most demand from employers and clients.
It’s interesting to see Microsoft Excel in this list! Demand for skills in that software never goes away – it’s something well worth learning about.
Udemy Review: Pricing
The price of courses on Udemy can vary wildly due to the fact that prices are set by the individual instructors. To add to the fun, there are almost constant sales. In general, it is possible to find a wide variety of individual courses priced or on sale for under $20.
It’s not worth paying a huge amount of attention to the “full” price of any course on Udemy, because it’s rare that you will end up paying that price.
Free Udemy Courses
There are some free courses available too (just over 500 at the time of writing).
They are generally fairly short introductory courses, but they do give you chance to do some learning without handing over any money. You can also see it as a kind of “free trial” for using the Udemy platform itself.
Free options available include a course on Photography Fundamentals, a short course discussing Best Practices for Working Remotely (a good fit for readers of this site!), and a beginner’s course on Excel pivot tables.
Udemy Subscriptions – Udemy Business
Udemy doesn’t offer a subscription plan for individuals – if you’re looking for an “all you can eat” course subscription, we’d suggest taking a look at Coursera Plus.
However, the company does offer a corporate subscription called Udemy Business.
Costing $360 per year per user before taxes, Udemy Business is intended for companies who want to give staff access to an extensive library of courses. It provides access to over 6,000 of the platform’s top-rated courses, and is used by over 8,000 global companies, such as ABN Amro and Apple.
While the Udemy Business subscription is a compelling thing to offer employees, it is worth considering the true value when individual courses are so often heavily discounted. It depends very much on just how much training you expect each employee to complete.
Udemy Gift Courses
Udemy Money Back Guarantee
Udemy promises a 30-day money-back guarantee, no questions asked. But do they deliver on that promise?
Pleasingly, the answer is yes. This is good to see, as some course platforms have a bad reputation for customer support.
If you can’t cope with the instructor’s accent, change your mind or find a course didn’t live up to your expectations, you should get your money back on your credit card with no issues. Just follow the refund guidelines.
The Udemy refund rules are – in fact – so broad that some course instructors complain that people can complete an entire course and still ask for the money back within 30 days. They feel ripped off, and legitimately so.
Fortunately, most buyers are honest and use the money-back option for genuine reasons. Most instructors believe that the 30-day guarantee attracts more honest clients than dishonest ones.
In short, you really needn’t worry about getting your money back if you’re dissatisfied with Udemy.
How do I Request a Refund from Udemy?
You simply need to log in, go to the course in question and select “Request a Refund” from the drop-down menu in the top right corner. But you must do so within 30 days of purchasing the course.
If you try to apply for a refund at a later date you will no longer be offered the link to request a refund, as shown in the image below:
Taking Courses on Udemy: Features and Functionality
In this next part of our Udemy review, you will learn what taking courses on the platform is actually like. We will then discuss a couple of specific courses we’ve taken ourselves.
The Udemy user interface is exactly what you’d expect if you’ve ever studied online before. Courses are arranged into a series of modules and lessons, and these can include video lectures, text notes and assessment tests.
Videos are particularly popular, and the key part of most of the courses we’ve tried.
Udemy’s video player has all the usual features, such as closed captioning, a written transcript, and the ability to speed up or slow down playback. This can have an amusing effect on an instructors voice, but playing at 1.25x speed is sometimes feasible if you’re trying to zoom through the content.
There’s also an inbuilt facility to make notes as you pass through a course.
As a general rule, you can’t download courses for offline viewing for piracy reasons (some course creators allow this by exception) However, an interesting alternative is the Udemy app. The mobile app DOES allow you to study offline, by downloading all or part of the course content.
You can also use a podcast-style mode to listen to lectures on the move, which is a great feature.
You can also view Udemy courses via Apple TV and Google Chromecast. All in all, this adds up to a decent number of study options, especially considering that some course sites don’t even have a mobile app.
Specific Courses We’ve Taken on Udemy: Our Experiences
In this section, Lyn discusses specific experiences with a couple of courses she has taken on Udemy.
It took me a while between buying this course and beginning to study it – but you get lifetime access on Udemy, so it was still available to me.
What’s more, I could see that the course receives regular updates, which gave me confidence that the content was still relevant. (The content has subsequently been updated again since Lyn completed the course).
Writing Tools and Hacks delivered what it promised, introducing many online tools, explaining how to use them and describing why they are useful.
Each section starts with a helpful “hack.” e.g. the Tools for Brainstorming Killer Content Ideas hack explores the how, what and why of brainstorming before you dive into learning about the online tools. All the videos are screen shares so Tyler can demonstrate exactly how to use each website.
One critic of this course complained that he could find the information on the internet for free. And it’s true.
But that can be said of many courses. What you’re paying for is information that is new to you and the convenience of having it right at your fingertips. Really, you’re trading money for saving time.
This was the first course I took on Udemy when I discovered the platform back in 2018. I was brand new to writing, and the course information was a revelation to me at the time.
However, the course content hasn’t been updated since that time. Some of the advice seems dated now. This serves as a good example of why it’s important to have a really good look at the course page before buying something on Udemy. Checking the last update date of a course is good practice, as is diving into the rating system.
It’s also a good idea to watch at least one preview video when you’re choosing a course – because the delivery can make or break the experience for you.
In this case, Len Smith is an older man, with a “fireside chat” style which might not be to everyone’s taste. The course offers four preview videos from various sections and shows the titles of every lecture. It’s enough info to gauge whether this is a course you’d enjoy.
Another oft-heard criticism of Udemy courses is that sometimes the videos stick. In “Become a Freelance Copywriter,” much of the information is downloadable as PDFs which helps to get around that problem.
Udemy Tips: How To Choose the Best Courses for You
Browsing a list of over 150,000 courses can be rather overwhelming. Obviously it helps if you know which specific skills you’re looking to work on, and you can also follow other people’s recommendations to find a great course.
Here are some tips to help you decide what to study:
- Read plenty of reviews: It’s hotly debated whether Udemy fake reviews are a problem, so it’s definitely worthwhile to read several for courses you’re interested in, to ensure you get a good overview.
- Remember that most people take Udemy courses when they are on sale: This means that students are more likely to leave a positive review since their expectations are not as high. It is probably best to consider every course as having achieved their star rating at a price of around $20.
- Research the instructor: As stated above, some Udemy instructors are big names in their fields – but some are little more than hobbyists. Find out about your instructor’s credentials before signing up.
- Check when the course was last updated: Good instructors will ensure that their courses are up-to-date. Even on topics that aren’t subject to much material change, good instructors tend to review student comments and make periodic improvements to their courses.
- Try a sample: Most courses offer some preview content, so you can get a good idea of what’s in store, and of the teaching style, before you hand over any cash.
Example Udemy Courses
While we put together this Udemy review, we found some great examples of courses on subjects we’re asked about all the time:
Blogging for a Living has over 12 hours of training content, and covers everything from setting up a blog from scratch to establishing streams of income with affiliate marketing. It’s a “top-rated” course on Udemy, with a 4.6 star rating from over 22,000 students.
It’s also really reassuring to see frequent updates to this course – the last one taking place in September 2021.
Work from Home as a Virtual Assistant includes 56 lectures, adding up to around five hours of study material. It was created by a successful VA who’s been in the game for over a decade. There’s a tremendous amount of content here for a course that costs around just $20 when there’s a Udemy sale on (i.e. most of the time!)
Kickstart a Freelance Editor & Proofreader Career is one of the platform’s most highly-rated courses. It’s created by a Canadian university lecturer with over 12 years of experience. The course covers everything from “editing philosophies” to how to bid for proofreading work. It is kept constantly updated, and has an average 4.5 star rating.
Selling Courses on Udemy
Would you rather be the teacher than the student? Udemy is well worth a look for that too.
Anybody can sign up to Udemy as an instructor, and use the platform to host both paid and free courses.
The general rule is that Udemy splits the money earned on courses around 50/50 with the course creators, although there are various factors that determine the exact percentage. Instructors can also use a Udemy coupon system and keep almost all the revenue from their training materials when they send the students to the platform.
There are people making six-figure incomes from selling courses on Udemy. You only need to do some quick sums on some of the courses mentioned above to work out that these courses can prove rather lucrative.
Get yourself 5000 students for a course selling at just $15 and you’ll make around $37,500 on that course alone at a 50% commission rate. It’s reasonably passive income too, once the course is created.
Of course, nobody’s saying it’s easy to do it. With over 100,000 courses, yours needs to be one of the very best to rise to the top.
You can be sure there are plenty of people on the platform who’ve created rubbish courses and are – unsurprisingly – earning rubbish money. However, Udemy is a genuine meritocracy.
If you can create better than what’s out there, then you have a very real chance of making a living from selling your own courses.
Before you jump in with both feet, it’s wise to consider alternatives. We’d suggest looking at Teachable, a platform that gives you much more control over your courses, and the potential to make them far more lucrative. That said, if you don’t already have a following, Teachable doesn’t give you the same opportunity for people to randomly discover your course, as they may on Udemy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Udemy Worth it as a Place to Learn?
Absolutely yes. Given that Udemy courses are almost always on some kind of sale, Udemy is a very low-cost place to learn. There’s rarely any need to spend more than $20 on a course. If you choose one of the good ones, you can absorb a huge amount of information and genuinely learn brand new skills from scratch.
But are Udemy certificates valid qualifications? Well, no, not really. You can’t spend $20 or less on an online course and expect it to be a match for a university degree, or a vendor certification from Microsoft or Apple!
However, that doesn’t mean that learning new things on Udemy can’t massively help you advance your career. Much of the time it’s about what you know, not where you learned it.
How Will Udemy Courses Help Your Career?
While landing a job or getting a promotion might be influenced by the certificates you can list on your resume, what will ultimately affect the path of your career is the quality of your work.
Learning valuable skills at your own pace, in the comfort of your own home and for relatively little investment really is a bit of a no-brainer. The hard part is more likely to be focusing and finding the specific courses which will benefit you. You do not want to fall into the trap of constantly learning and never applying your newfound knowledge.
If you are a freelancer, qualifications can mean even less. All a client really wants to know is that you are capable of doing their job well.
Can I Put Udemy on My Resume?
You certainly can list completed Udemy courses on your resume. However, it’s important not to expect employers to be as impressed by a low-cost online course as by a recognised qualification, such as a degree.
A good middle ground is something like a professional certificate from Google.
Other Udemy Reviews
As part of almost every review we publish, we have a look at what other online feedback we can find.
Other Udemy reviews are mixed – broadly illustrating our point about the variability of quality between courses.
At the time of writing, the Udemy TrustPilot rating is an average 2.7 stars. SiteJabber has a distinctly more positive 4.2 star average. Going back the the negative, the company has a 2.13 star Better Business Bureau rating and is not BBB accredited. It’s perhaps only fair to point out that consumers don’t tend to go to the BBB to leave good feedback!
Anecdotally, we’ve largely heard good things from those who have taken Udemy courses to learn specific skills. For example Vatsal from TheFoodXP took a Udemy SEO course in this early days of his SEO career and was very positive about his experiences.
Udemy Pros and Cons
There are plenty of things to love about this platform, but here are some of our favourites:
- Udemy has over 150,000 courses available. It is undoubtedly the biggest platform out there.
- There is still room for new topics. As crazy as this might seem, it is true. And we are not just talking about strange or off-the-wall topics. Llama breeders take note – there are no Llama courses on Udemy as yet!
- You can gain information and skills for a small price. While you could possibly obtain similar information to what is contained in most courses by watching a series of good YouTube videos, Udemy packages everything up in a nicely structured format. As a bonus, you also tend to get fairly significant access to the course creators.
- The Udemy platform is easy to use. Some people might criticise the fact that the search engine and course pages are fairly standard, but having a platform that feels familiar plays a big part in avoiding the sense of overwhelm that having such a large number of courses could create.
- It’s highly visual and mainly video-based with some downloads. Most courses are highly engaging thanks to the emphasis on video. If having text is important for you to process or search for the information you can always access transcripts of the videos.
- Udemy is available on all devices through a web browser or app. The Udemy app is a great bonus as it does allow you to download at least part of the course content so that you can continue learning while offline.
- Courses are frequently discounted to less than $20. Sales are so frequent that there really is no need to pay more.
- Anyone can create a course on Udemy. If you have some particular knowledge, you can get paid to share it without needing a teaching or college degree. All you need is time, careful planning and some half-decent equipment for recording your videos.
- As an instructor, you can earn a relatively passive income. If your course is genuinely useful, you could make some not-too-shabby returns on your initial investment of time and effort to create the course. Just remember that top instructors get to that position by interacting with their students, keeping their courses up-to-date, and through marketing.
- Reviewers report problems with some videos. Since the individual instructors create their own videos you can come across some courses with poor video and audio.
- Course pricing can be misleading. Instructors are free to price their courses however they like, so high prices do not necessarily mean excellent quality. It is especially important to remember that reviews of high-priced courses may not have been provided by people that paid full price.
- No qualifications are required in order to create a course. Obviously, this is a positive thing if you want to create a course but not so much if you are taking one. Since anyone can create a course on Udemy you can, unfortunately, find some instructors who are not prepared or who even teach outdated or inaccurate information.
- There’s no guarantee of quality. Thankfully, if the money-back guarantee works as it should, you’ll get your money back. Furthermore, a really bad course will get so many negative reviews that it will eventually sink to the bottom.
Like so many places online, Udemy gives back in proportion to what you put in.
If you choose a poor quality course to study and don’t look at reviews, you’ll probably be dissatisfied – even if you?have?only spent 20 bucks!
And even if you do pay out for a highly-rated course, you’ll still struggle to get much out of it unless you dedicate time to it and actually act on the things the course tells you to do.
But if you choose a recommended course and take your studying seriously, there’s no reason why a Udemy course won’t enhance your career. It may even set you off on a completely new and rewarding path.
It’s the same with creating courses; If you cynically throw something together in the hope of making a quick buck, every review for that course will suck and you won’t make any money.
But if you set out to make your course the best and the most up-to-date out there, then there’s no reason why you can’t set your sights on being the next “six-figure” Udemy instructor.
Is Udemy worth it? It absolutely is if yo make it worth it.
Alternatives to Udemy
There are lots of alternatives to Udemy out there, several of which provide cheap (or even FREE) training options.
Take a look at:
- Freelance Kickstarter – our very own freelancing course, designed to take you all the way to a lucrative freelance career.
- Coursera – a top e-learning platform with courses from major universities and professional certificates from the likes of Google. Read our review here.
- LinkedIn Learning – more of an “all you can eat” platform, where you get unlimited access to courses for a monthly subscription.
- edX – another big training platform, with courses from the likes of Berkeley and Harvard, and lots of free options. Read our review here.
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Udemy: Lots of affordable courses to choose from
Founder of HomeWorkingClub.com – Ben has worked freelance for nearly 20 years. As well as being a freelance writer and blogger, he is also a technical consultant with Microsoft and Apple certifications. He loves supporting new home workers but is prone to outbursts of bluntness and realism.