The other day I was doing some research into articles to write, and was interested to see that many people search Google to ask the question: “is Udemy worth it?”
As I often suggest low-cost Udemy courses to people who want to learn new skills, I thought I was in a good position to answer that question.
So let’s begin with the basics:
What is Udemy?
Udemy is an online training platform offering tens of thousands of courses in a vast range of subjects. Around 24 Million students have taken courses via the platform at the time of writing.
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 worth it as a place to create and sell courses of your own?
Don’t worry, I will answer both of the questions.
Is Udemy Legit?
Udemy is completely legit. It’s had accolades from the likes of Forbes and Mashable, and millions of people use the platform to learn new skills.
However, 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 best to read individual course reviews in detail, and to look for round-ups of the best Udemy courses, such as our own list of suggestions for freelancers.
Some Udemy courses are created by true gurus in their field. An example is Ryan Kroonenburg, a renowned expert in cloud solutions and Amazon Web Services. His related courses on Udemy have attracted nearly 400,000 students.
So yes, 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.
Is Udemy Worth it as a Place to Learn?
Absolutely; 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.
There is a key downside, however: Are Udemy certificates valid qualifications? Well, no, not really. You can’t spend $20 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.
Here are just a few examples of courses on subjects I’m asked about all the time:
Blogging for a Living has over 11 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 4.5 star rating from over 5000 students.
Work from Home as a Virtual Assistant includes 56 lectures, and was created by a successful VA who’s been in the game for over a decade. That’s a tremendous amount of content for a course that often costs less than $15 when there’s a Udemy sale on.
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.
Really, you have to look at what you’re getting for your money; You may not get a graduation ceremony and a funny hat at the end, but you do get the knowledge. Furthermore, it’s often delivered by the very same people who’d impart it in a college environment. For less than 20 bucks, that’s surely a “no-brainer?”
Keep in mind, also, that if you’re learning skills to help towards a freelance career, it’s what you know that matters, not where you learned it.
Is Udemy Worth it for Selling Courses?
So what about if you’d rather be the teacher than the student? Well, Udemy’s well worth a look for that too.
The general rule is that Udemy splits the money earned on courses 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.
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 $37,500 on that course alone at the 50% commission rate. It’s reasonably passive income too, once the course is created.
Of course, nobody’s saying it’s easy to do that. With tens of thousands of courses, yours need to be one of the 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.
Like so many places online, Udemy gives back in proportion to what you put in.
If you choose a crappy course to study and don’t look at reviews, you’ll probably regret getting involved (even if you have only spent 20 Dollars!) Even if you 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 as seriously as you would a course you were paying big bucks for, 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 Udemy 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 you make it worth it.