Udacity has quickly become one of the world’s leading online learning platforms. Partnered with industry leaders like Google and Amazon, Udacity has over 16 million learners and is considered a breakthrough provider when it comes to digi-tech learning.
Does Udacity have a subscription?, Can I buy Nanodegrees individually, Can I try Udacity courses for free? And can I get a refund if I don’t like it? Is Udacity worth it?
I tried out Udacity for myself to answer these questions and more in this balanced Udacity review.
Firstly, here’s a quick overview:
- 200+ free courses taught by leading experts
- 80+ “Nanodegree” programs
- Personal, academic, and business solutions
- Talent Transformation Suite for tailored learning
- Support Forum to get answers and discuss ideas
- Expert mentors with real-world experience
- Programs designed for businesses, government, and individuals
- Extensive course catalog to build your skillset
- Career services to complement tech courses
- Quality content co-created with leading partners
- Focused on “harder” tech skills like data science
- More detailed than other platforms
Best for: Business and individuals in the tech industry as well as for government hiring. With Udacity, you can learn a range of tech skills (with certificates) such as C++, product management, digital marketing, and data science.
Overall: A tech-oriented mega learning platform that appeals to governments and businesses alike, as well as individuals. This platform is a worthy investment for anyone looking to optimize their business and/or take practical steps in data science or programming.
So, now for the detail. In this Udacity review, I’ll cover:
- What is Udacity and who are its instructors?
- How does Udacity work and how much does it cost?
- Udacity free trial
- What a Udacity course is like
- Best Udacity courses and offers
- How I reviewed Udacity
- What I liked and disliked
- Alternatives to Udacity
- What others have said about Udacity
- Is Udacity worth it?
That being said, let’s get started.
What is Udacity?
Udacity is an American educational site striving to offer the best online courses for governments, businesses, and individuals in tech.
First launched in 2011 by Stanford teachers Sebastian Thrun and David Stavens, Udacity equips you with the skills you’ll need in “jobs of the future.”
Reaching a milestone of 14 million users in 2020 and 170,000 Nanodegree certificates awarded, Udacity has more than made its mark in the world of e-learning platforms.
Also, with over 200 free courses, there really is no reason not to head over and see what all the hype is about.
Who are the instructors?
Partnering with leading third parties like Google and Amazon, it’s no wonder Udacity also boasts expert mentors. With instructors from Fortune 500 and Global 2000 companies, Udacity’s teaching caliber means you can be assured you’re receiving high quality tutelage from experts in their fields.
Teachers also include:
- Security engineers
- Published authors
- College professors
How does Udacity work?
As of September 2023 Udacity stopped offering individual enrolment in, and purchase of, its programs.
It is now a subscription platform.
A Udacity subscription membership includes access to the:
- Entirety of Udacity’s catalog of best-in-class content including 80+ Nanodegree and Executive programs and all their courses
- Talent Transformation Suite for tailored learning
- Support Forum to get answers and discuss ideas
Udacity is best known for its Nanodegree programs. These are 3-4-month skills-based programs that help you to learn and grasp a set of skills through a series of lessons and projects.
For each project, you receive personal feedback from a mentor, and, at the end of the Nanodegree, you get a certificate.
Udacity also offers shorter courses which focus in detail on very specific content.
If you’re new to Udacity, signing up is easy (and free). All you need to do is link your Google/Facebook account or provide your email address. Then, select “Get started for free.”
After this, you can explore Udacity’s programs and resources. You can also answer a 2-step assessment to see if you’re eligible for a personalized discount.
If you’re using Udacity for business, you can sign up for a free consultation to find the best learning solutions for your team. Namely, Udacity operates a 3-step Talent Transformation Suite to optimize your business and deliver measurable results.
The great thing about the Talent Transformation Suite is that Udacity builds a personalized plan to assess talent gaps and develop core competencies. Udacity also ensures your results are measurable and impactful so you can gain advantage in your market.
How much does Udacity cost?
A Udacity subscription membership costs:
- $249 per month
- $2,390 per year (a saving of 20%)
Are Udacity's subscription costs good value?
When compared to a college MBA, which is around $40,000, the cost of Udacity’s individual Nanodegrees was already excellent value for money.
With the new subscription model you are saving over $150 per month on the cost of an individually purchased Nanodegree.
And if you purchase the annual subscription the value you are getting is exceptional:
|Cost per month||Saving per month|
|Average Nanodgree cost per month*||$399||–|
|Annual subscription (billed annually)||$199||$200|
What's more, the value of a Udacity Nanodegree is enhanced in the context of a subscription because you can supplement your learning at no extra cost.
For example, if you want to be a Product Manager, and have noticed many PM roles require SQL experience, you can take the Product Manager Nanodegree and incorporate content from Udacity's Intro to SQL courses.
For full details on Udacity's pricing, check our article Udacity Cost.
Udacity free trial
Udacity offers a 7 day free trial of its subscriptions.
One of Udacity’s standout features is its scholarship programs. If you don’t have the financial resources to pay for a Nanodegree, you can apply for a scholarship program (for US residents only).
To date, Udacity has launched 10 scholarship programs and awarded 22,000 students with certificates. All scholarship programs are sponsored by third-party organizations like Google and Amazon.
Sadly, there are no federal/state aid programs accepted at Udacity. But, to help break down costs, PayPal credit and Affirm loan options are available.
What a Udacity lesson is like
In contrast to lecture-based programs, Udacity focuses on real-world practical solutions and teaching methods. So, in terms of course structure, a Nanodegree program will typically include:
- Course syllabus with program overview, project requirements and learning objectives
- Course units with video content and additional learning resources
- Technical mentor support with human feedback
- Career services so you can optimize your resume
- Personalized services including timely project feedback
Best Udacity classes
Some of the most popular and highly rated Udacity courses are:
- C++: C++ Nanodegree | David Silver, Stephen Welch & Andreas Haja
- Product Management: Data Product Manager | JJ Miclat, Vaishali Agarwal & Anne Rynearson
- Digital Marketing: Digital Marketing | Anke Audernaert, Daniel Kob & Julia Aspinal
- Data Science: Business Analytics | Josh Bernhard, Dana Sheahan, Mat Leonard, Derek Steer & Sam Nelson
Of course, the best Udacity courses depend on your own business areas and required skills.
For more granular detail on this you can check out our article, best Udacity courses.
But, to give you an idea of what Udacity has to offer, I’ve reviewed the top programs in a handful of categories:
Top C++ Courses
C++ | David Silver, Stephen Welch & Andreas Haja | Rating: 4.5
Instructors: David Silver, Stephen Welch, and Andreas Haja. Silver, head of curriculum for Udacity, was a research engineer at Ford and a Stanford graduate. Instructor Welch is a Udacity content developer and former math teacher. Haja, too, is an educator and engineer developing vehicle prototypes using C++.
Learn: The industry-standard programming language, C++ and how to prepare for a career using it. You will gain hands-on experience using C++ by coding five real-world projects.
Includes: 4-month program (10 hours/week), 13-page course syllabus, flexible learning, mentor feedback, course certificate.
Best for: Anyone looking to learn and develop their C++ skills for business.
Robotics Software Engineer | Sebastian Thrun, David Silver, Karim Chamaa & Julia Chernushevich | Rating: 4.5
Instructors: Sebastian Thrun, David Silver, Karim Chamaa, and Julia Chernushevich. You’ll probably recognize Thrun as Udacity’s founder and president. But, he’s also the founder of Google X where he led the Google Glass project. Silver and Chamaa are both engineers and course developers. Chernushevich is also a robotics specialist and experienced educator.
Learn: In-demand robotics skills including C++, ROS, and robotics algorithms. You’ll work toward completing five hands-on robotics projects, which can serve as portfolio pieces to show recruiters.
Includes: 4-month program with 6 courses and 5 projects, 14-page courses syllabus, flexible learning, mentor feedback, and course certificate.
Best for: Anyone looking to equip themselves or their team with competitive robotics skills. Also ideal for those looking for career advancement.
Top Product Management Courses
Data Product Manager | JJ Miclat, Vaishali Agarwal & Anne Rynearson | Rating: 4.3
Instructors: JJ Miclat, Vaishali Agarwal, and Anne Rynearson. All three instructors are experienced leaders in data product management. Miclat, in particular, is renowned for his work with Apple and VSCO.
Learn: How to leverage market data to amplify product development, apply data science processes to enhance user experience and gain competitive advantage in the market.
Includes: 3-month program with flexible learning, mentor feedback, 16-page syllabus, and course certificate.
Best for: Those looking to gain skills in product management to improve employability or to maximize business impact. This course is perfect for existing product managers, data science professionals, and engineers looking to improve their skill set.
Product Manager | Anastasia Root, Alex King, Yuva Murugan | Rating: 4.8
Instructors: Anastasia Root, Alex King, Yuva Murugan. Root is a Growth Product Manager at Google and King undertakes the same role for Uber. Murugan is a product consultant leading various-stage startups and Fortune 10 companies.
Learn: How to lead product strategy, understand the foundations of product management, and set yourself up for success in a product management career.
Includes: 4-month program with 15-page syllabus, real-world projects, mentor feedback, flexible learning, and course certificate.
Best for: Anyone looking to pursue a career in one of the most in-demand roles for enterprises and startups. This course is designed for students who want to assume key leadership roles in product development.
Top Digital Marketing Courses
Digital Marketing | Anke Audernaert, Daniel Kob & Julia Aspinal | Rating: 4.8
Instructors: Anke Audernaert, Daniel Kob & Julia Aspinal. Audernaert personally led the development of digital marketing programs at Udacity and her fellow instructors, Kob and Aspinal, are both digital marketing experts.
Learn: Introductory skills to succeed in digital marketing. As a result, this program ensures you leave with a valuable understanding of how digital marketing works and why it’s so important.
Includes: 3-month program with 22-page course syllabus, mentor feedback, flexible learning, and course certificate.
Best for: Anyone looking to embark on a career as a digital marketer. Ideal for businesses looking to better analyze and optimize their results.
Marketing Analytics | Brad Batesole, Josh Bernhard, Dana Sheahen, Mat Leonard & Anke Audernaert | Rating: 4.7
Instructors: Brad Batesole, Josh Bernhard, Dana Sheahen, Mat Leonard, and Anke Audernaert. All instructors are industry experts, including marketing executives, data scientists, and content developers.
Learn: Basic data skills and an in-depth understanding of marketing/Google Analytics. For instance, you’ll learn to analyze data, build models, and create data visualizations.
Includes: 3-month program, 12-page course syllabus, mentor feedback, flexible learning, and course certificate.
Best for: Students new to marketing and data analysis. This program offers an introduction to data and equips you with the tools necessary to advance your career.
Top Data Science Courses
Business Analytics | Josh Bernhard, Dana Sheahan, Mat Leonard, Derek Steer & Sam Nelson | Rating: 4.8
Instructors: Josh Bernhard, Dana Sheahan, Mat Leonard, Derek Steer & Sam Nelson. All instructors are renowned in their fields – data scientists, content developers, CEOs, and product leads.
Learn: Data analysis skills and tools that will help you to make better data-based decisions. You’ll learn to use industry-standard programs to analyze data and make informed choices.
Includes: 3-month program, 12-page course syllabus, mentor feedback, flexible learning, and course certificate.
Best for: Those who are less tech-savvy and are looking to better comprehend data. Udacity recognizes that data is a mandatory skill, so this course is great for beginners and as a stepping stone to more advanced programs.
Data Analyst | Josh Bernhard, Sebastian Thrun, Derek Steer, Juno Lee, Mike Yi, David Venturi & Sam Nelson | Rating: 4.6
Instructors: Josh Bernhard, Sebastian Thrun, Derek Steer, Juno Lee, Mike Yi, David Venturi & Sam Nelson. All instructors are leading experts in data science, and some are even published authors.
Learn: The skills to prepare for a career in data, including how to draw meaningful conclusions and communicate critical findings. You’ll develop proficiency in Python and SQL, and will build a portfolio to show to employers.
Includes: 4-month program, 16-page course syllabus, mentor feedback, flexible learning, and course certificate.
Best for: Anyone wanting to work with data (prerequisites in Python and SQL required). This course will prepare you for roles as a Data Analyst or Analytics Consultant.
Free Udacity Courses
Unlike other platforms that have a small portion dedicated to sample courses, Udacity has an impressive range of free classes available. Although they’re shorter in length (around 1 week – 1 month), they’re worth checking out if you’re on the fence about Nanodegrees.
Here are a few standouts:
- Problem Solving with Advanced Analytics
- Product Design
- App Marketing
- C++ for Programmers
Udacity for Business
As a “MOOC” platform (massive open online course), Udacity targets governments and businesses as well as individuals. Like LinkedIn Learning, Udacity also realizes its potential as an aid for employers.
So, if you’re interested in Udacity for business, you can sign up for a free consultation by providing basic statistics and objectives for your company. From here, a consultant will be in touch to assess and set out a plan for your business needs.
In fact, Udacity’s Digital Competency Platform is solely focused on ensuring workplace relevance with in-demand technologies. So, by working with Udacity's talent transformation team, you can assess your talent gaps and get a clear road map for developing your business.
How I reviewed Udacity
With over 15,000 hours of catalog content, Udacity is a hefty platform to explore. So, I tried my best to analyze the platform from a range of perspectives – considering its value for both individuals and businesses.
I also made sure to take into account different learning styles, skill levels, and budgets. So, I covered a range of topics and levels to give me a more rounded view of the platform.
What I liked
Expert mentors with professional experience
Joining with the likes of Google, Amazon, and Microsoft, it’s no surprise that Udacity’s instructors are leading experts in their fields. So, with Udacity, you’re not just learning from teachers – you’re gaining real-world skills from instructors who have achieved the career you want.
All of Udacity’s professors have a proven track record of success. Pair that with Udacity’s mission to instill practical learning, you can be assured that you’re spending your time and effort wisely.
Programs designed for business, government, and individuals
What sets Udacity apart from other e-learning platforms is that it’s not just targeted to individuals. In fact, Udacity is trusted by governments and organizations around the world to maximize results and amplify job talent.
For instance, in Egypt, Udacity fuelled talent in software development. This resulted in a 12x ROI for the government. Along with this, over 7000 Saudi Arabians have landed jobs/promotions with Udacity alone.
So, while Udacity has unprecedented value for individuals pursuing a career in tech, it definitely isn’t limited to personal learning.
Extensive course catalog to optimize your skill set
With 9 main subject areas ranging from AI to Cybersecurity, Udacity offers hundreds of courses for anyone looking to drive their own or their team’s tech careers. Currently boasting over 270 courses, Udacity is an impressively extensive platform despite its business/tech niche.
So, with that in mind, Udacity is invaluable when it comes to equipping you or your employees with in-demand skills.
Career services to complement tech courses
If you enroll in a Nanodegree program, you also gain access to Udacity’s career resource center. Here, you can gain valuable insight into resume-building skills, 1-1 mentor feedback, interview advice, and how to negotiate your salary.
What I like about this is that it takes into account the practical side of the market. So, with Udacity, you not only learn the hard skills employers are looking for – you also learn how to showcase those skills and land your dream job.
In my opinion, this puts Udacity above other video-based learning platforms that teach you the skills but leave you in the dark about real-life applications.
Quality content co-created with industry-leading partners
Udacity co-creates its curricula with industry leaders like Amazon, BMW, and GitHub. This also includes its scholarship programs.
So, with this in mind, you’re learning pragmatic material designed with the help of the experts who are looking for talent. This way, you’re learning the skills that employers are actually looking for.
What could be improved
Focused on “harder” tech skills like data science
Of course, Udacity’s focus is on driving tech careers. So, you’ll find plenty of content relating to programming, business, and even cloud computing. But, if none of these topics relate to your field, it might not be worth your time.
Luckily, you’re not short on options if you’re keen to develop in other fields. In fact, there are countless platforms out there, such as Coursera, LinkedIn Learning, or The Great Courses.
More convoluted than other platforms
While Udacity’s expert network and trademarked features are impressive, it can be difficult to know where to start. Helpfully, Udacity does its best to break down its content into business/government/individual categories.
This way, you can start from your own objectives and even sign up for a consultation to see which learning options are best for you or your enterprise. But, at the same time, Udacity can be an overwhelming platform if you’re not used to it.
Who Udacity is for
As mentioned earlier, Udacity is unique in its offerings for businesses, governments, and individuals. So, there are many user profiles that are drawn to the platform. But, to put it simply, Udacity is ideal for:
- Companies looking to bolster their talent and optimize results
- Governments wanting to close talent gaps and equip citizens with in-demand skills
- Individuals pursuing a career in tech or seeking to advance in their field
- Students or casual learners who want to invest in skills for the future
Can I buy Udacity as a gift?
In general, Udacity doesn’t offer any ongoing gift deals or accept other gift cards. But, Udacity does offer promotions every so often, which includes the “Buy One, Gift One Free” offer.
If you pay upfront for a Nanodegree program during this time, you’ll get a “100% off” coupon that you can use for a different program, or gift to someone else. For any current promotions or gifting options, see here.
Finding best courses on Udacity
As you’d expect from a platform that prides hands-on learning, Udacity’s website has a number of ways you can find the best courses for you. Here’s how to do it:
- Check out Udacity’s Program Catalog
- Search for keywords/courses that interest you
- Filter your searches by topic/field/difficulty/duration
- Look for the highest rated Udacity courses
- View recommended/similar courses from a program page
Is Udacity legit?
In a word, yes. Udacity is trusted by governments and businesses all over the world. And, although their course certificates aren’t official accreditations, they’re well-respected within data/tech industries.
Coupled with the fact that Udacity has partnered with leading companies like Shell to upskill employees, it’s no surprise people are flocking to Udacity for business and personal career help.
Udacity’s refund policy is fairly straightforward. Whether you opt for the monthly or annual subscription you have 7 days to cancel your enrollment to be entitled to a full refund.
Of course, Udacity is one of many online learning options out there. So, if Udacity doesn’t seem like the best fit for you, there are countless alternatives. For simplicity’s sake, I’ll name just a few:
Udacity vs. Udemy
The most obvious alternative to Udacity is Udemy. Like Udacity, Udemy is a massive open online course provider that focuses largely on in-demand skills in IT, programming, and data science.
Similarly, it also has a “for businesses” option, where you can request a free demo for your team. Udemy’s courses are significantly cheaper, but they also have an average course viewing time of around 14 hours – which, compared to Udacity’s 120-hour average, doesn’t seem like that much.
With Udemy, I also felt like the extra resources were less personal than with Udacity – especially with Udemy Business. While Udemy offers webinars and events for business customers, this doesn’t have the same impact as a 1-1 talent workshop.
But, of course, the best alternative to Udacity is the one that fits you personally. Udemy is definitely more affordable and covers far more course categories than Udacity. Find out more in our Udacity vs Udemy article.
Lastly, you can check out our article Udacity vs Coursera.
What others have said
My aim here is to present the most fair Udacity review out there. So, I’ve searched for reviews both on and outside of Udacity, checking out other forums like Reddit to get people’s honest opinion.
In fact, I was surprised to see that some reviews were negative. These were largely aimed at the cost and the idea that quality has reduced in recent years.
“Honestly the quality control at Udacity has gone down significantly over the last few years. What started as a fantastic service is devolving into yet another commodity MOOC site” - Comment from Reddit
“Several years ago when they just started, Udacity’s founders like Sebastian Thrun, truly had a vision to democratize education through MOOC. [...] Now the price has gone up at least 2x to 3x. I think they are trying to make a profit in a hurry. But unfortunately in my opinion, the quality has actually dropped” - Comment from Reddit
It’s a shame to hear that some users were dissatisfied with their experiences – especially when it came with such a hefty price tag.
However, it should be remembered that, formerly, nanodegrees had to be purchased individually at an average cost of $399 per month. Even the most expensive subscription option represents a saving of $150 per month over this cost.
And of course the new subscription gives you unrestricted access to the entire catalog so you try courses out and ensure they meet your specific needs before completing them in their entireity.
And for many, the platform definitely has its merits:
“I have a business background and already had a job as a Business Analyst consultant, but I completed the data analyst Nanodegree and it changed the way I think about data. I’ve taken those skills and applied them at work. I’ve impressed my clients and coworkers with work products that were heavily influenced by the Nanodegree projects” - Comment from Reddit
“Udacity is a great experience but an expensive one as well. Definitely helpful mentors and community members when you ask questions on [the] forum. Modules are well developed/supported. Never regretted Udacity training or certificate” - Comment from Reddit
“I’ve gone through a couple courses there. It probably depends on the specific course, but I think it’s a good resource. I like how they break up concepts into short sections and give quizzes and small projects. It keeps me engaged. Right now I’m going through the Data Wrangling with MongoDB course and it’s pretty good” - Comment from Reddit
For businesses and governments, too, Udacity clearly dedicates a lot of time and resources to ensuring they deliver outstanding results. So, it all boils down to what you’re looking to get out of Udacity and whether its value exceeds the price.
Features: 80+ Nanodegrees, 200+ free courses, expert mentors, course certificates, extra resources, and project feedback.
Content quality: Multi-level content including videos, quizzes, projects, and teacher seminars.
Content breadth: 9 main categories with extensive subcategories. Courses take around 3-4 months to complete and are intermediate.
Teachers: Heavily-vetted expert network including CEOs, published authors, and industry leaders.
Supporting material: Real-life projects to go toward your portfolio, course syllabus, and class forum.
Payment and refunds: Monthly subscription $249pm, Annual subscription $199pm (billed annually). The new subscriptions represent a significant saving over the old system of purchasing nanodegrees individually. The cost for doing this started at $399pm. Subscriptions come with a 7 day free trial.
Support: 24/7 Udacity support.
How to open a Udacity account
Opening a Udacity account is easy and free. All you need to do is:
Step 1: Visit Udacity
Head on over to Udacity using one of our links.
Step 2: Sign up to Udacity
Select the “Join for Free” followed by the “Sign Up” tab. Provide your name, email and password (or sign up with Google/Facebook)
STEP 3: ClIck on Get Started Today With Your Personalized Discount
Then answer some questions about your job status and income. You may be entitled to a further discount based on your answers!
STEP 4: Select your payment method and enter your payment details.
And hey presto! You have now taken advantage of the most value for money way to join the Udacity community. Now you can explore the Course Catalog.
Is Udacity worth it?
All in all, Udacity’s value is subjective. It’s true that it’s pricey and is less suited to new starters. But, Udacity’s learning programs can really transform the way you think about your field.
If you’re more of a beginner, a platform like Udemy could be more useful (and cheaper). But, it really does depend on your own budget, interests, and learning goals. If you’re an employer looking to transform talent in digital technologies, Udacity is a great choice.
Overall, the only way to really know if Udacity is right for you is by checking out the platform for yourself using the seven day free trial to give you a feel for the way its Nanodegree programs work.
Udacity – Frequently asked questions
Udacity pricing starts at $199/month
Yes. It has a seven day refund policy.
At the time of writing, there are 80+ Nanodegree courses and 300+ short courses.
Yes, it has a seven day free trial.
Yes. Udacity does offer courses upon program graduation.
Currently, Udacity is primarily in English.
Rebecca graduated from King's College university with a first class honours in English Language, followed by a Masters' Degree in Eighteenth Century Studies.