Skillshare vs Udemy – which is better?

by Liz Hurley

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Skillshare and Udemy are both giants in the field of eLearning.

But which is better, Skillshare or Udemy?

In this Skillshare vs Udemy article, I’ll compare their differences in terms of course provision, cost, numbers of students, quality of teachers, and platform features. 

This Skillshare vs Udemy comparison will give you a complete understanding of which of the two better suits your needs.

The review is detailed. But if you’re pressed for time the headlines are:

  • Udemy has significantly more users, courses and categories than Skillshare. You can buy courses singly without committing to a subscription (though a monthly plan is available). Like Skillshare, Udemy is an open platform allowing anyone to upload courses. Unlike Skillshare, it provides sharable certificates of completion.
  • Skillshare is a subscription only platform which allows creative experts to upload courses and share their skills. It has fewer courses but a stronger focus on creative disciplines. The platform also has a genuine community vibe. So if creativity's your thing and you like to interact with others of a similar mindset, Skillshare may well have more to offer.  

If you’re looking for a one off course on a specific topic, Udemy is great. However, if you’re a creative looking to upskill, develop new skills or grow your business, Skillshare might suit you more. 

Quick Summary

This side by side comparison table provides an overview of the key differences between Skillshare and Udemy.

SkillshareUdemy
# of users12+ million46+ million
# of Courses40,000+ across 4 categories185,000+ across 12 categories
TeachersSome high profile teachers but any practising creative can design and offer a courseSome high profile instructors but anyone can create and offer an approved course
Pricing$32 pm for a monthly subscription or$14 pm billed annually– Individual courses from $12.99
– Monthly subscription $29.99
Free contentShort samples of some courses500+ courses
Features– High quality video content with transcripts and subtitles
– Massive choice of courses focussed on creative disciplines
-Curated learning with Skillshare picks and suggestions to help guide your learning
– High quality video content and downloadable resources
– Massive choice of courses across a wide range of disciplines
– Shareable certificates of completion
SpecializationPractising creatives can share skills onlineAnyone can create and offer courses
Pros– Passionate instructors with high profile contributors
– Skillshare Perks: discounts for Adobe, Canva, Freshbooks, etc
– Active community of fellow learners- Lots of courses to choose from
– Passionate instructors with high profile contributors
– Impressive range of courses
– Frequent sales, as well as 500+ free courses
– Teaches in demand professional skills plus many creative and fun courses too
Cons– Course quality varies
– No course certificates
– Course quality varies
– Most completion certificates not accredited
Best for:– Creatives and hobbyists looking to upskill
– Creative businesses hoping to expand
– Anyone looking to learn new creative skills
– Those who can benefit from the Skillshare Perks
– Anyone who wants access to a wide variety of content from work-related to fun and creative
– Those looking for a one off course in a specific topic
– Business managers looking to upskill teams
More informationVisit SkillshareVisit Udemy

About Skillshare and Udemy

Now let’s take a closer look at Skillshare and Udemy to find out what they’re all about

About Skillshare

Skillshare vs Udemy

The core philosophy of Skillshare is simple: “Anyone can learn anything, at any age, at an affordable cost, anywhere in the world

And to prove the point, since being founded in 2011, Skillshare has become the world’s largest online learning community for creatives. It has more than 40,000 courses and 12+ million users. 

Skillshare is renowned for its classes in creative disciplines such as photography and sketching, but also offers courses in fields such as business and productivity. 

Many of its courses are taught by industry experts. However, Skillshare is also an open platform where everyday people who have harnessed creative expertise can upload classes, become teachers themselves and earn an income.

For more granular detail check out our Skillshare review, Skillshare costs and Skillshare statistics articles.

About Udemy 

Udemy vs Skillshare

Udemy was launched in 2009 with a mission to improve life through learning. It gives everyone the opportunity to create and offer quality online courses on its platform though many of its teachers are high profile contributors. 

It now has over 46 million registered users and offers 185,000+ courses across 12 categories. Udemy is an all round provider and offers courses in both professional and personal development.

You can buy courses singly on Udemy.  Each one is individually priced and led by an instructor who practises the discipline. Purchasing a course gives you lifetime access to it, and all of its resources. You can access some courses for free.

Udemy also offers a monthly subscription called the Personal Plan. This gives you unlimited access to a curated collection of 6,000+ top courses for as long as your subscription is active. 

It is the largest Ed Tech company of its kind and 80% of Fortune 100 companies trust Udemy for employee upskilling including Apple, Unicef, PayPal, Accenture, Samsung, Unilever, Instacart, and Okta.

For a more in-depth look at Udemy you check out our Udemy review.

Summary: Udemy is the older of the two platforms with more users and a greater number and variety of courses. In contrast, whilst Skillshare offers fewer courses, it is closely focused on creative disciplines and this may be more appropriate for your needs. 

Skillshare vs Udemy courses

This side by side comparison of Skillshare vs Udemy sums up the course offering of each platform:

SkillshareUdemy
# of courses40,000 across 4 categories204,000+ across 12 categories
CategoriesCreative
Business
Technology
Lifestyle
There are subcategories
Each is broken down into skill levels:
beginner, intermediate and advanced
Development
Business
Finance & accounting
IT & software
Office productivity
Personal development
Design
Marketing
Lifestyle
Photography & video
Health & fitness
Teaching & academics
# free coursesSnippets of some courses500+

Now let’s take a deeper look.

Skillshare courses

Skillshare has four overarching categories:

  • Creative
  • Business
  • Technology
  • Lifestyle

Each of these is broken down into sub categories and courses themselves are labelled as being beginner, intermediate or advanced.

Due to the range of instructors, classes can vary quite a bit. That said, you can expect the following from the average Skillshare course:

  • Courses are typically 1-2 hours long with bite-sized lessons of around 10 minutes
  • A mix of talking head style lessons and/or over -the-shoulder tutorials
  • Accessible format with transcripts in a variety of languages

You can find courses by:

  • Visiting your curated home page – after completing a short quiz on sign up the platform loads a home screen of suggestions for you which is updated as you learn
  • Using Browse: the main Skillshare disciplines are listed in the home menu and can be navigated to with ease.
  • Filtering options by course length and popularity
  • Following along with the Skillshare blog and email suggestions

Best Skillshare courses

best Skillshare Classes

This is our selection of the top classes across the categories to give you a flavor of what’s on offer:

  1. Digital Illustration: Learn to Use Procreate by Jarom Vogel An in depth class suitable for beginners which will give you a thorough grounding in Procreate skills.
  2. Portrait Photography: Shoot and Edit Instagram-Worthy Shots by Jessica Kobeissi A thorough tutorial covering everything from planning for photo shoots through to techniques used in shooting and editing. 
  3. Productivity for Creatives: Build a System that Brings Out Your Best by Thomas Frank Thomas An in-depth course looking at cultivating a creative mindset (not against) you, and how to practice your creativity like a muscle. 
  4. Cultivating Color: Vary Palettes in Original Art and Grow Your Portfolio by Cat Coquillette An information-packed class that’s suitable for most levels and is full of actionable tips and tricks to explore color.
  5. Revolutionary Self-Care: Embrace, Nurture, and Grow Your Authentic Self by Chidera Eggerue This course has been completed by 12,000 students with a whopping 96% feeling that their expectations were met and exceeded. 

Udemy courses

Udemy courses

There are over 204,000 courses available on Udemy across 12 categories.

Udemy courses are generally in pre recorded video format. They can be anything from an hour to over 20 hours long in total and are broken down into bite size lessons. 

They’re led by your instructor walking you through ideas and skills relevant to your discipline and can be consumed on demand, whenever you like.

There are also additional learning resources available with most courses. These will often be downloadable texts, articles and other materials relevant to what you're studying. 

You can browse the Udemy catalogue by:

  • Category 
  • Topics recommended for you 
  • Or Search

Categories are accessed from the tab at the top of the home page. Clicking on any one of these will take you to all the courses offered within that category. 

Once you have used Udemy, the site will start recommending courses to you on your home page. 

Finally, if you’re looking for a specific course or discipline, you can always use the Search Bar at the top of the home page.     

Best Udemy courses

Best Udemy Courses

To give you the broadest possible overview, I’ve grouped together the best courses from each of Udemy’s main categories below.  And you can also check out our article, Best Courses on Udemy for more granular detail.

  • Development: 2020 Complete Python Development Programme: From Zero To Hero In Python. Learn to use Python professionally, ideal for those who have never programmed before.
  • Business: Agile Crash Course: Agile Project Management, Agile Delivery Learn to apply Agile to your projects and the benefits of it over traditional project launching. 
  • Finance & Accounting: The Complete Financial Analyst And Training Course Discover how to pick stocks, manage a portfolio, build a financial model and much more.
  • IT & Software: IT Troubleshooting Skills Training Learn a standard procedure for minimizing problem duration and good practices for problem identification. 
  • Office Productivity: Microsoft Excel – Excel From Beginner To Advanced Build a solid understanding of Excel features and how to automate your daily tasks (#1 in our best Excel Courses review)
  • Personal Development: Become A Superlearner 2: Learn Speed Reading And Boost Your Memory Read three times faster than the average college graduate and master tips for processing and recalling vast amounts of info (#2 in our Best Speed Reading courses review) 
  • Design: The Udemy Drawing Course: Beginner To Advanced Learn all the fundamentals including drawing faces and realistic perspective drawing.
  • Marketing: The Complete Digital Marketing Course Shows you how to grow a business online from scratch and profit from your digital marketing knowledge. 
  • Health & Fitness: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Practitioner Certificate Learn the fundamentals of CBT, one of the most widely used and recognized practices in psychology and mental health. 
  • Music: Pianoforall: An Incredible New Way To Learn Piano And Keyboard Progress quickly as you learn the best techniques for reading sheet music and playing-by-ear in a wide range of different genres (#6 in our Best Online Piano courses review) 

Skillshare vs Udemy teachers & course quality

No class is better than the quality of its teacher so this is an important consideration when choosing a learning platform.

Skillshare teachers and quality 

Skillshare Teachers

Many Skillshare classes are taught by industry experts including:

  • Jonathan Van Ness (celebrity hairstylist and contributor to Queer Eye)
  • Aaron Draplin (graphic designer whose clients include Nike and Apple)
  • Rebecca Minkoff (co founder of the global fashion brand)

However, as well as being a publisher of original content, Skillshare is an open platform where any skilled creative can upload and share their course.

This means the quality of teaching can, and does, vary on Skillshare.

That said, Skillshare does require courses to meet certain standards and guidelines and your course will be moderated prior to publication. Plus its review system ensures that the best courses will always filter to the top.

Udemy teachers and quality 

Udemy teachers

Udemy is a platform which gives anyone who is passionate about what they know and wants to share it the opportunity to create and offer a course on its platform. 

There are guidelines as to what is allowed on the site. For instance, each course must contain at least 30 minutes of video and at least five separate lectures, and there are restricted topics eg: anything to do with dating or sexuality. 

However, it’s not necessary for any instructor to have any formal teaching experience.

That said, a number of Udemy’s instructors are tenured professors, award winning artists or Tech CEOs. They include:

  • Rob Percival – web developer and entrepreneur who has taught over 120k students to code on Udemy
  • Victor Bastos – internet developer who has taught over 50k students web development from scratch
  • Jose Portilla – head of data science at Pierian Data who teaches the top course, From Zero to Hero in Python 

The process for becoming an instructor on Udemy is to:

  • Sign up on the site
  • Create your learning objectives and a course outline 
  • Produce your course and submit a test video for feedback on quality
  • Submit your course for review and evaluation

If the course meets Udemy’s standards and does not violate any of its policies it will be published.

Summary: Both platforms have a selection of top performers teaching classes. However, they are also open platforms which allow anyone to upload a course so the teaching quality can, and does, vary. However, Udemy’s process of evaluating standards is a little more rigorous.

Skillshare vs Udemy pricing

Skillshare costsUdemy costs
Per courseNot available$12.99 – $199 
SubscriptionMonthly $32 pm Annual $14 pm billed annually$29.99 per month (billed monthly) gives access to 6,000 curated courses
Free trialUsually 7 days
30 day free trial of annual membership available here
7 day free trial on subscription
RefundsWithin 7 days30 day refund on individual courses
Monthly subscription can be cancelled at any time
Free coursesShort tasters of select courses500 free courses

Summary: Both platforms offer a monthly subscription for a similar price. If you’re willing to commit up front you can obtain an annual Skillshare subscription for 50%+ off. Plus, Skillshare gives you unlimited access to all its courses, whereas a Udemy plan provides access to only 6,000 popular courses. However, unlike Skillshare you can buy courses individually on Udemy and, with frequent sales, this can be more cost effective.

Skillshare vs Udemy features

Let’s take a closer look at what features each platform offers

Skillshare features

  • 40,000+ courses in almost any creative topic you could wish for
  • Over 12 million registered users 
  • Great quality lessons with transcripts and subtitles available for each class
  • Curated learning with Skillshare picks and suggestions to help guide your learning
  • Access to a community forum of fellow learners to collaborate, ask questions and share successes
  • Monthly and annual subscription options

Udemy features

  • 204,000+ courses including in-demand professional skills as well as many fun and creative options
  • Teaching – The opportunity for anyone to create and offer a course on its platform – though Udemy does have many high profile instructors, including tech CEO’s and award winning artists
  • Individual courses that you pay for separately 
  • A monthly subscription (The Personal Plan) giving access to 6,000 of the most popular courses
  • 500+ free courses
  • On-demand video lessons accompanied by downloadable learning materials

Skillshare vs Udemy – which is best for Businesses?

This side by side comparison of Skillshare and Udemy for business sets out the differences and similarities between them.

SkillshareUdemy
Small teams Starter Plan (up to 19 users)
$159 pp per year
Full Skillshare experience at discounted rate
Team Plan (up to 20 users)
$360 pp per year
6,500 courses + the mobile app
Medium teamsEnterprise Plan (20-50 users)
– Custom pricing
– As above + reporting facilities and an account manager
Enterprise Plan (21+ users)
– Custom pricing
– As above + custom topics and the ability to host proprietary courses
Large teamsRevive Plan (51+ users)
– Custom pricing
As above with extra perks f
+ a focus on wellness
As above
LeadershipLeadership Development Program
– Custom pricing
– 100+ Exec level courses from top institutions
– Live events and AI analytics

Summary: A Skillshare business plan is significantly cheaper and offers far more to small teams. But Udemy comes into its own if you have a bigger team or are specifically interested in developing leaders.

Skillshare vs Udemy alternatives

Online Learning is big business and there’s lots of competition in the space so you’re spoilt for choice.

Coursera or edX

If you’re looking for accredited, certified courses then you could try Cousera or edX

They have world class learning partners on board such as Harvard, Stanford and Oxford. Their offerings are broadly similar to each other but the course library for Cousera is much larger with over 7,000 courses. 

You can buy courses individually on both platforms. Costs vary from a few dollars to thousands of dollars depending on the type of course you choose (full degrees are available on both). But there is lots of content you can try for free.

Check out our article, Udemy vs Coursera.

MasterClass

MasterClass offers classes hosted by celebrities in their field. For example, cooking with Gordon Ramsay, writing with Margaret Atwood and Jazz with Herbie Hancock. The focus is on the experience, rather than academic learning, and the platform is famed for its incredibly high-quality production values. 

MasterClass also offer MasterClass Sessions which are project led, practical 30 day courses that you start with a cohort of fellow students with whom you collaborate. MasterClass is a subscription only platform and your annual pass gives you access to every MasterClass and Session. 

You can also check out our article Skillshare vs MasterClass.

CreativeLive

CreativeLive offers a wide range of courses from cake decorating to social media management. All under the guidance of world-class creatives, cultural icons, and even Pulitzer Prize winners. Its tutors include Tim Ferris and Richard Branson. You can read our full CreativeLive review here.

Specialist platforms

Then of course, there are specialist platforms out there for particular interests. For example, YesChef is just for food, Brilliant is great for developing math, science, logic and thinking skills, and MindValley is fantastic for personal development through courses like Lifebook.

Skillshare vs Udemy pros, cons, and best for

Skillshare

Pros: 

  • Classes typically have a great mix of practical and theory
  • Active community which can help to motivate and engage learners
  • Curated learning makes it easy to continue your learning journey without too much thought into where to go next 
  • Identifies courses as beginner, intermediate or advanced level
  • Skillshare Perks: discounts for Adobe, Canva, Freshbooks, and more
  • Free trial for you to explore the Skillshare catalogue

Cons:

  • No certification
  • Quality can be variable 

Best for: 

  • Freelancers looking to upskill
  • Hobby artists who want to spend more time learning their craft
  • Small creative businesses hoping to streamline their operation
  • Anyone looking to learn new skills, whether you have experience in that area or not
  • Time poor hustlers who need to learn things fast
  • Graphic designers, illustrators, and visual artists who can benefit from the Skillshare Perks the most (big Adobe discounts!) 

Udemy

Pros: 

  • Comprehensive range of courses
  • Reasonably priced with constant sales, deals and promotions
  • 500+ free courses
  • Passionate instructors with many high profile contributors
  • Teaches skills that equip you for the changing nature of work as well as offering many creative and fun courses too

Cons:

  • Not all courses are of equal quality
  • Course certificates aren’t accredited by any university or institution

Best for those who: 

  • Enjoy learning and want access to a wide variety of content – from work-related to fun and creative
  • Are looking to develop skills in tech and computing, but struggling to find a way in 
  • Those that like to take courses individually, rather than purchase a whole subscription 
  • High flyers who can’t seem to fit learning new things in their busy schedule 
  • Business owners and managers looking for a wholesale way to educate their team

Conclusion: Skillshare vs Udemy which is best?

In summary, comparing Skillshare to Udemy:

  • Udemy’s 204,000+courses are more varied, Skillshare’s 40,000+ courses focus on the creative disciplines
  • Teaching quality is a little more consistent on Udemy as it has a more rigorous screening process for contributors – though both platforms have instructors who are high profile professionals
  • The cost of a monthly subscription is broadly similar, however an annual Skillshare subscription is significantly cheaper.
  • A Skillshare subscription gives you access to everything the platform offers, whilst a Udemy plan provides access to a small selection
  • You can purchase courses individually on Udemy and with frequent sales this can be reassuring and cost effective way to purchase course content
  • Udemy is more geared up to serve businesses – particularly larger teams. But Skillshare is significantly cheaper and if your business is in the creative field it may suit you better.

That said, the answer to the question “Which is better, Skillshare or Udemy?” depends on what you are looking for.

If you are a serious creative looking to enhance or develop new skills, or streamline your business operation, then Skillshare is your best bet.

On the other hand, if you want a wider selection of courses and the opportunity to purchase them individually without committing to a subscription, then Udemy is for you.

The good news is that both platforms offer free trials and/or refunds so you can explore them both before committing yourself.

Comparing Skillshare and Udemy: our methodology 

I navigated every corner of each platform to gather relevant information on costs, refunds and the range and quality of what’s on offer. 

I also sampled several specific courses from each. This included courses in topics I felt confident in which helped me gauge the quality of the teaching. And courses I knew little or nothing about to see if claims that no prior experience was necessary were backed up by good introductory content and incremental teaching that kept me engaged and learning.

Finally, I looked elsewhere across the internet to gather other people’s opinions on each platform, and to explore potential alternatives. 

Relevant articles: Skillshare vs MasterClass, Udemy Alternatives, Udemy vs Coursera.

FAQ:

What's better, Skillshare or Udemy?

Skillshare is better for creatives looking to upskill, learn new skills or grow their business. Udemy is better for those looking for a much bigger range and choice of courses that can be purchased singly – often at sales prices.

Which is cheaper, Skillshare or Udemy?

If you're looking to buy a few specific courses singly then Udemy will work out cheaper – especially during sales. However, a Skillshare subscription gives you access to all 40k+ courses so the more you take, the better value you get

Which has more courses, Skillshare or Udemy?

Udemy has 204,000+ courses compared to Skillshare which has 40,000+

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