Udemy vs Pluralsight: Programming Course or Programming Subscription?

Udemy vs Pluralsight

Udemy has one of the largest collections of courses available on the internet, but quantity doesn’t always mean quality, even if it’s user-generated.

Pluralsight focuses on technical skills like Javascript, cyber security, and IT skills: how do the two sites compare?

We’re taking this approach to Udemy vs Pluralsight and focusing specifically on skills that both platforms offer. With its dedicated team, Pluralsight is a serious education platform, but can anybody really outdo Udemy even when they narrow their niche?

Let’s find out.

Udemy and Pluralsight Compared

Udemy is an online education giant, while Pluralsight is an underdog.

They got here by being innovative, but how well do they stack up against one another? That’s what we’re here to figure out.

It’s time to compare packages, prices, UI, user experience, and which platform is best for niche course types. By the end of this guide, you should have a working knowledge of both services so that you can make an informed decision on which site is best to learn your next skill.

What is Udemy?

udemy homepage

Udemy is a popular online learning platform designed to teach you marketable skills for your career path, hobbyist skills and technical skills to improve your working knowledge in one particular field.

This user-generated platform allows anyone to make an online course, market it, gather a following, and earn an income through course selling. Because of this, there’s no short supply of stellar,  competitive course options, all designed to enhance your skills, and help you achieve your goals.

What is Pluralsight?

pluralsight

Pluralsight is an online education platform with a heavy emphasis on learning through live courses. They specifically target individuals that seek out skilled fields in AI, IT, coding, cyber security and more.

As an intuitive platform, they host in depth professional courses that grant you a deeper understanding of one specific skill, how that branches out into other related skills, and train you to be a better programmer from the ground up.

What Courses do They Offer?

Udemy offers a ton of different courses. One of the benefits of user-generated content is the ability to diversify. However, if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend the rest of its life thinking that it is stupid.

Udemy offers a ton of different courses. One of the benefits of user-generated content is the ability to diversify. However, if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend the rest of its life thinking that it is stupid.

Who Teaches the Courses?

On Udemy, users submit courses that students can then take. It requires approval to make sure it complies with the ToS, but beyond that, experts don’t review your course to see if it’s up to snuff, so course creators have a lot of control and freedom.

Those are both good and bad. Instructors get to teach what they want without restriction, but that means they could have some errors in their courses. However, they know that they need to maybe quality courses with accurate 

Pricing

Now it’s time to get to the nitty gritty, the question that’s on your mind: how much is it going to cost to use these services, and are they worth it? Well, let’s take a peek.

Udemy

Udemy’s pricing structure is a bit odd, but it works. You buy courses one at a time, get lifetime access to most of them, and then you can just revisit it tomorrow, or ten years from now. No annual charge or subscription.

You could get a full bootcamp course with 50+ hours of course videos, walkthroughs, articles, exercises, and so much more, all for just $16.99. Maybe that’s the only course you’re going to need, but to be honest, it’s doubtful.

Courses on Udemy are at the mercy of the creators. They can price them up to $199 per course, however, they’re discouraged from doing so because Udemy wants to constantly push timed promotions and “Get this price in the next seven hours” ads. They work, but it feels cheap.

You could buy a dozen courses, have shelled out less than one annual subscription cost to Pluralsight, and have 400+ hours of video content to sift through and endless downloadable content. If you’re careful, you can hand-pick classes and do this, but it takes a lot of effort and limits your view compared to the 7,500+ courses offered by Pluralsight.

Pluralsight

pluralsight skills

Pluralsight actually offers two types of plans: Skills, and Flow. Flow helps you design better workflows for yourself and for your team, but Skills is, well, about learning different skills.

The good news is that when you sign up for any plan, you get access to skill IQ assessments, guides, offline viewing, mobile viewing, and the list of features goes on and on.

The basic package is billed monthly at $29 per month, making it $348 per year. That gives you access to 7,500+ courses for you to use at your own pace.

Compare that to Udemy’s piece-by-piece structure and you’ll see that, if you’re serious about programming and coding, you’re basically getting the option to hyper-learn years of information in twelve months for less than the price of one community college class for one semester. The deal is pretty outrageously awesome.

But it gets better. You can choose to take that plan and make it annual for $299 per year, saving you $49, or you can opt for the premium plan at $449 per year, which gives you unlimited access to more benefits. Projects, interactive courses, and certification practice exams to help you get accreditation off-site in specific coding languages.

Features

Now it’s time to break into the main features that drive each site, and drive the user experience.

If you’re having a bad time interacting with one learning platform, chances are you’re not going to retain too much of that information. Let’s see what they each have to offer you.

Udemy

With Udemy, the features are dependent upon the specific courses. You won’t enjoy the same features on every single course. That being said, you have access to the following features:

  • Video lectures
  • Audio lectures
  • Quizzes
  • Text-based lectures (articles)
  • Coding exercises
  • Post reviews
  • Direct message with instructor
  • Downloadable certificates of completion

There are less features directly available from Udemy over Pluralsight, but you learn in similar ways. Individual courses will have downloadable content, articles, resources, and whatever else was provided by the course instructor.

Pluralsight

With a Pluralsight subscription, you have access to the following features.

  • Entire library of 7,500+ courses
  • Learning paths
  • Badges
  • Guides
  • Channels
  • Course discussions
  • Exercise files
  • Conferences
  • Offline viewing
  • Mobile/TV apps
  • Skill IQ tests
  • Role IQ tests
  • Course learning checks

This is all information taken directly from their payment arrangement page. If you go with a higher-priced plan, you’ll also get access to:

  • Certification practice exams
  • Intuitive projects
  • Interactive courses

Everyone has a different learning style, and while video content alone may be enough for some people, the hands-on work actually makes a huge difference in how you comprehend the subjects.

Teaching Methods of Udemy

Udemy courses

Udemy courses outline everything that’s in them right from the sales page. A Udemy course will bring you step by step, module by module.

Instructors decide which learning materials (PDFs, text documents, etc.) are accessible to you depending on what module you’re on, which helps with pacing and not getting lost in the fray.

In addition to that, Udemy plays video content, but it’s not isolated, so you can get distracted by other areas of the sight. Once you finish watching video content in a course, you’ll be met with the materials, view them, understand them, and move on to the next in a very linear fashion.

Teaching Methods of Pluralsight

With Pluralsight—depending on which payment arrangement you decided on—you’ll begin a course, go through an introduction, and a well-paced explanation of what you’re about to learn.

They break it down pretty well regardless of which specific course you’re doing.

Just like with Udemy, you go from module to module, but it’s different. With the right subscription plan, you’ll be met with interactive portions of courses, projects that you can work on, and even live courses which aren’t offered via Udemy.

Furthermore, they’ll end courses with certification practice exams (in almost every course, but not all), to prepare you to take your skill and make some money with it.

Udemy Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Cheaper Than Bootcamp: Did you know that some people pay up to $20,000 for in-person coding bootcamp? Did you know that the same information could be accessed for about $100 on Udemy if you find the right courses? It’s cheaper and offers more freedom than bootcamp.
  • Lifetime Purchase: When you buy a course, you have lifetime access. That means no waiting for your subscription to time out while needing to review  videos; view it for life, no matter what.
  • Leading Experts: Udemy has a lot of experts and accredited individuals with years and decades of experience to host courses. That’s pretty powerful; it’s indisputably good. For the right field, it could be life-changing.

Cons

  • No Subscription: It’s true that buying courses a la carte is nice, but if you’re learning something complex and need a dozen courses, that can add up. You have to hunt and seek courses, but with Pluralsight, they’re all available without individual purchases.
  • No Learning Path: A learning path lets you take one area of a skill, work on it, move on to the next, and then have a marketable skill by the end. It guides you from one areas to the next, but with a la carte courses, you don’t have a clear path like what Pluralsight offers you.

Pluralsight Pros and Conf

about pluralsight

Pros

  • Wide Language Translation: Coding is a unique and universal language, but if you can’t be taught first in your native language, then you’re stumped. Pluralsight offers extensive language translation so everyone has a fair shot.
  • High-Quality Courses: All courses are up to date on the most recent features of different coding languages. They take the time to verify information and understand how critical it is that courses be accurate above all else.
  • Learning Paths: What this means is you can start on a beginners-only course and gradually work your way up to more extensive, difficult courses for seasoned coders. This helps to not overwhelm yourself and stay on the straight and narrow to learning that new skill or language.

Cons

  • Technical Explanations: The reason that coders would rather find solutions on Stack Exchange instead of watching videos is because in coding, sometimes instructors get carried away and talk too much. That happens from time to time on Pluralsight videos.
  • No Chat Support: Unless you have a premium subscription, support takes ages. When you mentally prepare yourself to learn something difficult, the last thing you want to do is waste attention waiting for an email instead of having access to a lightning-fast chat window.

Certification

Certification through Udemy doesn’t really mean much. They are not an accredited institution by any means, so certificates simply mean that you did a course by an unlicensed teacher. 

Does it still mean something?

Yes,  it does. You can display your skills to prove yourself during a job interview, or if you learned a hobbyists skill like graphic design, you can make an online portfolio to display your work. Not being accredited isn’t the end of the world. That being said, Pluralsight is different… kind of.

While they aren’t accredited either, they are recognized. Employers and professionals understand the value in this quality of education, even if educational institutions do not.

Many well-known entrepreneurs in the tech field say that they care less about education, and more about what you can do. Either way, if you can fulfill the role that you claim to know, it doesn’t matter where you learned how to do it.

Who Has the Better App: Udemy or Pluralsight?

pluralsight app

Pluralsight is designed by Javascript geniuses. It would be pretty embarrassing to not have a better app than a major company. Pluralsight wins this round for a few reasons:

  • Responsiveness: They’re a team of programmers, and you better believe that they know how important it is to have a responsive app. Udemy didn’t pilot a bad app either, it just falls behind in terms of response times and has a few more restrictions.
  • Access: You have more access to courses and materials on Pluralsight’s app than you do on Udemy’s app, although it’s not by much. It’s a very tight race,  because Udemy still has tons of mobile support and access. With either platform, you can turn your morning train commute into a mobile, virtual classroom.
  • UI: This one is a tie, because Udemy recently upgraded their app to create a more engaging and user-friendly environment on mobile, where before, tablet versions of the app actually had better support. Both apps are easy to use, and have a clean interface for simple learning on the go. 

Is One Better for a Specific Skill?

Pluralsight in general appears to be better for Javascript and Python, as well as cyber security, but Udemy has some top-notch courses from real professionals that also push the bill and make it a hard choice.

Ideally, you can enjoy an annual subscription of Pluralsight and purchase one or two interesting courses off of Udemy. It’s nice to have that choice and not be tied down to two separate subscription models on alternative payments.

Udemy vs Pluralsight: Nodejs

Surprisingly, Udemy actually wins here. Pluralsight doesn’t have a lot of Nodejs content, and the one course on Udemy by Anthony Alicea is seriously out of this world.

Then they explain that Nodejs is a tool, not a subject, and shows you how to properly apply it to your projects. The course coverage is extensive, but Pluralsight’s Nodejs content does simplify things for beginners, whereas Mr. Alicea can get ahead of himself and assume you know more than you do during explanations.

Pluralsight vs Udemy: React

Pluralsight wins this category. It only takes about one month to get hands-on with Reactjs, and Pluralsight just has the best step-by-step breakdown to help you get from A to B. It’s really something else. This is just one area where Udemy didn’t really even come close to Pluralsight.

Udemy vs Pluralsight: Cisco

With about the same number of classes, Pluralsight simply just put out better quality, and for that reason they win this round. More extensive courses, better incremental explanations of Cisco without needing to know coding jargon beforehand, and a more intuitive process. Udemy just didn’t come up to snuff on this one (they just haven’t found the right expert to make a course on it yet).

Not a Clear Winner: It Depends on the Skills You Want

Pluralsight outdoes Udemy in some aspects, but as a niche platform versus an entire online learning catalog, we expected that. Udemy has some surprisingly powerful and informative courses on technical, cyber security, and IT job skills, so it’s hard to decide who really won this round.

The budget options are starkly different, so depending on what you can afford and which site seems more intuitive and user-friendly to you, you’ll be able to make a clear decision.

Truth be told, you’d do well to sign up with either of these platforms, or perhaps give both a thirty-day trial run and decide whether or not to re-up at the end. With Udemy’s low pricing, that might not be such a bad idea.