How to Use Udemy to Jump-Start Your Career
Learn Valuable Skills Online
Udemy is an eLearning platform that offers video-based courses on a variety of topics. According to the website, the company has "a library of over 65,000 courses taught by expert instructors" (Udemy.com). Many of these courses can help jump-start your career.
How Udemy Can Help You
Skills are your most valuable asset. They can help you qualify for jobs you want and get promoted to more advanced positions within your organization. For many people, it is difficult—if not impossible—to balance taking courses with work and family obligations. Others can't afford to pay for the courses that will help them advance in their careers, especially after laying out a lot of money to earn a college degree.
Udemy provides an alternative to people who don't have the time or money to pursue additional training and education. You can learn when it is most convenient to you, not when a college decides to schedule courses. Udemy offers classes on many career-oriented topics including coding, cybersecurity, IT certifications, business, office productivity software, and even foreign languages.
How It Works
Search through Udemy's library to see on what topics they offer classes. Multiple courses are available for many of them. They include lectures in the form of videos, text, and slides. Some also provide practice tests and quizzes, exercises, and assignments. After signing up for an account, purchase the course you want.
Like many eLearning platforms, Udemy is self-paced. Once you pay for access to a course, use it at any time by signing into your account. When you buy a course you have "lifetime access" to it, but there are exceptions. The company says that courses are occasionally withdrawn from the site either by the instructor or Udemy. While the company doesn’t state you can get a refund when this occurs, it reassuringly instructs affected customers to "please contact us and we'll be ready to help" (Udemy.com)
There are several ways to access your course, which means you can learn when you are at home, on a break from work, or while traveling. Sign in through your laptop or desktop, your Android or IOS phone or tablet, and even your Apple TV.
Will your boss or prospective employer want proof you have training in a particular area? While Udemy courses aren't accredited, you can download and print out certificates of completion. Some instructors also offer their own certificates.
Be a Smart Consumer
Udemy must approve all classes before they are available to users. They hold their instructors to high standards, for example, they are forbidden from marketing any products to students and may not include any irrelevant content in a course. That doesn't, however, mean every class will meet your standards. Here are some things to do before you purchase a course:
- Look at the course details: If you click on the course title you will be brought to the class landing page where you can see details about the curriculum and instructor.
- Watch a preview: Every class has a free preview available that you can access from the landing page. Watch it to determine if the material and instructor's teaching style are right for you.
- Read student reviews: See what other students thought of classes they completed. Reviews are also on the landing page.
- Don't purchase a class until you are ready to begin: You may ask for a refund within 30 days of purchase if you decide a course isn't right for you. The clock starts ticking the moment you pay.
- Don't download the entire course at once: Udemy states on its website that it may reject refund requests if a student has downloaded the entire course.
- Purchase directly from Udemy or the android app: Udemy will not issue a refund for courses that have been purchased from third-party sites or through the IOS app. Check with the third-party site about returns of products you purchase through them and with Apple about IOS in-app purchases.
- Avoid repeated returns: Udemy may suspend your account if you repeatedly purchase and then return items.
- Wait for sales: Many courses cost close to $200. That price may be much more than you are willing or able to spend. Udemy holds sales that could bring the price down significantly. At the time this article was written, many courses with original prices ranging from $149 to $199 were on sale for $10.99.
- Search for free courses: To view free courses, go to the category in which you are interested, click on "all courses" and then "price." Select "free."
Other eLearning Platforms
Udemy isn't the only player in the eLearning game. Other platforms include Lynda.com from LinkedIn, Coursera, and Pluralsight. Lynda.com and Pluralsight are both available by subscription only. Coursera offers a few options: you can buy a single course, a series of courses on one topic, or even earn a master's degree.
What sets Coursera apart is that all the instructors are university faculty. Pluralsight offerings are limited to software development, IT, programming, and cybersecurity.
Another option is LearningExpress Library, a database of courses available in many public libraries. This service only offers training in basic computer skills or popular software programs such as Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop, and Illustrator. Your library may provide free access.