Udemy, edX, and Coursera Certificates: Worth the Money?

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With online learning platforms such as Udemy, edX, and Coursera becoming more popular, many people wonder if the certificates they earn from these platforms are worth anything.

The answer to this question is a bit complicated. Generally, certificates from reputable online learning platforms can be worth something. However, the value of the certificate will depend on a variety of factors, including your field of study and the institution that issued the certificate.

Let’s explore the value of certificates from Udemy, edX, and Coursera in more detail and how employers view such certificates.

Before we continue…

I have previously recommended some online English courses taught on Udemy, edX and Coursera.
See their best English courses I’ve recommended.

Is Udemy, edX and Coursera worth it?

To answer this question, we need to consider what their courses can offer, in terms of:

  • Features and benefits of their courses
  • Skills acquired
  • Employability factor
  • Job Experience
  • Price range
  • How it compares to traditional learning

Benefits

Let’s consider the benefits of using an online learning course, such as Udemy, edX or Coursera.

Both edX and Coursera are very similar, their main differences being their subject ranges and the prices for paid courses on these MOOC platforms.

UdemyCourseraEdX
Paid video coursesStudy courses for free and paidStudy courses for free and paid
Wide range of instructors from all walks of lifeHigh-quality courses from recognized institutionsHigh course quality with top professors
The quality of material may varySuggested course pace with completion timeSuggested course pace with completion time
One-time purchase with lifetime accessAccredited certificates upon course completion (paid)Accredited certificates upon course completion (paid)
Certificate of completion (for some courses)Graded assignments and examsGraded assignments and exams
Access their coursesAccess their coursesAccess their courses

Skills

Skills and knowledge are always the key considerations for employers when they look at job applicants. Therefore, it is important to consider which online learning platform offers courses most relevant to the skills and knowledge required in your field.

Some of the most popular skills to learn include:

  • Computer Science
  • Data Analytics
  • Languages
  • Web Programming
  • UX Design
  • Academic Writing
  • Project Management
  • Technical Support
  • Contract Law
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  • Leadership and entrepreneurship
  • Mathematics
  • Blockchain technologies

Udemy, edX and Coursera all offer courses in computer science, data analytics, web programming, project management and more. You can find a range of courses to teach and build these skills.

Employability

Will Udemy, edX and Coursera certificates get me a job?

The answer to this question is not a straightforward yes or no. While some employers may value certificates from online courses, others may not view them as favorably.

It really depends on the employer and the position you are applying for. For example, if you are applying for a job requiring specific skills or knowledge, a certificate from an online course could show that you have the required skills or knowledge.

However, if you are applying for a position that does not require specific skills or knowledge, a certificate from an online course may not be as beneficial. In this case, employers are likely to emphasize your work experience more than your education but showing you are versed in an area is always a big help.

Udemy: Udemy courses are taught by a range of individuals. In fact, anyone can become a course creator and put their courses on Udemy. This creates a problem in that the courses are not regulated and may not be as beneficial to you or your employer. While it may help you to develop your skills, the courses are not accredited or recognized professionally.

EdX: edX offers courses from top universities and colleges. These are institutions that are accredited and are well-known and respected forms of certification. They will, however, want to see if the course is relevant to the job you are applying for.

Coursera: Coursera is similar to edX in that it also offers courses from well-known institutions. These are accredited courses, and employers will recognise the institution. As with edX, Coursera courses will be looked upon more favorably if they are relevant to the job you’re applying for.

Imagine this scenario…

Candidate A and candidate B apply for an entry-level position in a firm. Both candidates have the same qualifications – they graduated from college with a degree in business marketing.

Candidate A has no work experience, but she took an online data analytics course and had a certificate to show for it.

Candidate B has no work experience but did not take any online courses.

Who do you think the employer is going to hire?

In this perfect example, the answer is most likely candidate A. Even though both candidates have the same qualifications, candidate A has a certificate that shows they have at least some knowledge in data analytics.

It also shows their interests, dedication to learning, and willingness to try something new. This makes them a more attractive candidate than candidate B and increases their chances of being hired.

In general, certificates from more reputable online learning platforms such as edX and Coursera are likely to be viewed more favorably by employers.

The Courses Don’t Provide Job Experience

One of the major drawbacks of taking online courses is that they don’t provide job experience. This is a significant factor that employers take into account when hiring employees.

While online courses can help you to develop your skills and knowledge, they cannot replace the value of work experience. Employers want to see that you have practical experience in the field and that you can apply your knowledge in a real-world setting.

This is not to say that online courses are completely worthless. They can still be beneficial in helping you to develop your skills and knowledge. Just don’t expect them to replace the value of work experience.

The truth is that you can actually turn these certificate courses into a wealth of experience. Try to use your newly found skills in a real work setting, even if it is just volunteering. This way, you can show future employers that you are capable of applying your knowledge in a practical setting.

For example, if you take a course on web applications and you build a portfolio of your work, you can show this to future employers, and they will be able to see the practical application of your skills. This shows what you have learned, and it is that much more valuable than just saying you have the certificate!

Other Ways to Gain Work Experience

We learn by doing. So after taking a course, see if you can gain some work experience.

There are a few ways you can go about doing this:

Look for internships or apprenticeships in your field of interest. These provide an opportunity for you to learn while also gaining valuable work experience.

If you’re still in school, look for part-time jobs or summer jobs in your field of interest. This will give you a chance to learn about the industry and develop your skills.

Network with professionals in your field of interest. Attend events and meetups, or join professional organizations. This will help you to make connections and learn more about the industry.

The bottom line is that online courses alone will not give you the work experience employers are looking for. You will need to supplement your learning with actual work experience in order to be competitive in the job market.

Can Online Courses Replace Traditional Learning?

The world of education is changing. With the rise of online learning, more and more students are opting to take courses remotely. But can online courses really replace traditional learning? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons.

Pros of Online Learning:

  • You can learn at your own pace
  • You can choose from a wide range of courses
  • You can study from anywhere in the world
  • Courses available from prestigious universities
  • Courses are often more affordable than traditional learning

Cons of Online Learning:

  • You may not have access to a professor
  • You may need to be self-motivated
  • It can be difficult to stay on track
  • You may not receive college credit for online courses
  • No collaborative learning, in-person discussions or library facilities

So, can online courses replace traditional learning? Not yet. While they have their advantages, there are also some significant disadvantages.

Ultimately, it depends on the student and what they are looking to get out of their education. If you want a more flexible learning experience, then online courses might be right for you. But if you’re looking for a more structured learning environment with in-person support, traditional courses might be a better option.

Whichever route you choose, make sure to do your research to ensure that the courses you’re taking will meet your needs.

Consider Creating a Portfolio

If you want to use your certificate to get a job, one of the best things you can do is create a portfolio.

A portfolio is a collection of your work that you can show to potential employers. This is an excellent way to showcase your skills and demonstrate what you have learned.

For example, if you take a course on web development, you can create a portfolio of the websites you have built. This will show employers that you have the skills they are looking for.

Creating a portfolio is not always necessary, but having a website or some other way to showcase your work can be helpful in getting a job.

You could also consider creating a website for your resume, which is free to do on WordPress.com.

In Conclusion

So if you’re thinking about taking an online course, don’t let the cost deter you.

A certificate from a reputable online learning platform could help you get a job. And if you’re already employed, a certificate could help you learn new skills and possibly help toward a promotion. Either way, there are many reasons why this may be worth the money!

Do you have any experience with Udemy, edX, or Coursera courses? Let us know in the comments below!

If you found this article helpful, please share it with your friends! And if you want to learn more about online courses and certificates, check out our other articles:

I'm an Irish tutor and founder of TPR Teaching. I started teaching in 2016 and have since taught in the UK, Spain, and online.

I love learning new things about the English language and how to teach it better. I'm always trying to improve my knowledge, so I can better meet the needs of others!

I enjoy traveling, nature walks, and soaking up a new culture. Please share the posts if you find them helpful!

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