Publish Date - December 29th, 2021
Last Modified - March 7th, 2023
Coursera, a popular online course provider with over 82 million learners around the world, partners with over 200 leading universities and companies (worldwide) to train, evolve, and provide upskilling for students who are looking to better themselves personally and professionally. In 2020 over 2019, this tool achieved a 60% growth in learners, 250% growth in enrollments, and over 160% growth in hours learned by users. How has it been able to be so successful? The answer lies in that almost all Coursera’s content is video lecturing, which has become the fundamental norm for many students and lifetime learners today.
While some could argue it’s the COVID-19 pandemic that’s contributed to Coursera’s overwhelming success (which definitely has a macro impact), there may be other forces at play driving more growth to Coursera. For example, the fact that with this tool, a person can learn at their own pace in the comfort of their home and on their own preset schedule. With this in mind, in this series of posts on accredited online learning platforms, let’s dive into the world of Coursera. Below, I’ll compare it to other popular competitors and see if it’s truly an accredited tool.
Table of Contents
My experience with Coursera courses
As I wrote in my previous article looking at Udemy courses, I enjoy taking courses on many different digital platforms, with Coursera being one of the best that I’ve tried. Over multiple Coursera accounts, I’ve done 3 or 4 of its courses – with the most recent one capturing my passion for automation and Python.
While I may not be a veteran in Coursera, I’ve gone through many aspects of their platform to be able to formulate an opinion and draw several comparisons as compared to other platforms that I’ve used, including Udemy, Lynda, Udacity, and freeCodeCamp.
Are Cousera courses actually accredited?
Coursera is not accredited from an organizational standpoint. It needs to be referenced and approved by the department of education in the US, or CHEA and SCC in Canada, or any other legislative body within a particular country that a student is studying. However, many of Coursera’s courses were designed and authored by renowned universities across the world, which includes (but not limited to):
- University of London (England)
- University of Illinois (US)
- University of Pennsylvania (US)
- Yale University (US)
- University of Toronto (Canada)
- Imperial College London (England)
- Stanford University (US)
Many of these online degrees and courses will either be an accredited degree, or quite possibly count toward your college credits if you’re enrolled in a particular degree program as a student. Therefore, in some sense, some of Coursera’s courses are accredited because they’re sponsored and created by accredited institutions.
Is Coursera worth it?
There’s no doubt that Coursera has a wealth of content, which spans hundreds of universities and Fortune 500 companies such as Google and IBM . Here are some of the things that Coursera offers in the way of degree programs, certifications, and specializations.
1. Guided Projects
Courses for if you want to figure out how to upskill and learn more about a specific specialization or platform. For example, if you want to quickly learn how to use docker or a particular skill like trying to data analyze COVID-19 using python, then these courses are meant for you!
This is for you if:
- You’re learning one or two new skills, or polishing already existing skills.
- Trying to pick up something that’s trending currently (So as of 2023 right now, COVID19 scanners and React Native are big topics).
2. General Courses for Students
These are free (or super cheap) courses built for enhancing knowledge and providing people with the ability to understand and do more. General courses like Machine learning and Introduction to Psychology are offered as basic introductory courses for people who are either just getting started or trying to learn a new set of skills.
These courses remind me of podcasts to some degree, since there’s very limited interaction.
This is for you if you’re:
- Looking to gain general knowledge, or want to learn about a topic that may not necessarily be your desired discipline.
- Want to pass the time and learn some general knowledge on a new topic to impress your friends or enhance your conversational knowledge or some general personal development.
This is where Coursera shines – specializations provide high-quality certifications that are audited and designed by industry leaders. While they are beginner level, they will allow you to learn entire sets of skills so that you can break through (or at least begin) the path of penetrating into a particular industry. Whether it’s learning python from scratch, or Deep learning – “specializations” feel like a more paid version of the general courses. They remind me of introductory/intermediate courses in college.
This is for you if you’re:
- A person who wants to build a new skill and be relatively proficient in it at the end (that is, if you don’t cheat 😉 ).
- Need to up skill in a particular category and will use that skill actively in their new job or role / position.
Note: The difference between general courses and specializations is that the latter is more hands-on and has more practical exercises to learn the skills faster.
4. Professional Certifications
An extremely thorough and comprehensive set of guided projects, courses, and specializations that aim to get you a job. I believe that this is where Coursera makes the most of its revenue as these certifications are offered by some of the world’s largest companies, including Google, Meta (Facebook), IBM, and Salesforce.
This is for you if you’re: Interested in pursuing a particular career and want to see what large companies can expect from you. While professional certifications do not guarantee to get you hired, they will allow you to develop the basic skills to know what’s required on the job, and help you grow those skills until you get that job.
5. Online Degrees
Coursera has several online degrees that range from bachelor to master’s degree .Whether it’s business, IT, humanities, or marketing – each degree is available at the tip of your fingertips – literally, since they’re offered remotely. While they can cost an upward of $2,000 or more, Coursera’s online degrees are extremely comprehensive and make you feel as if you’re studying in college. These courses follow a semester structure, needing you to apply and wait for the classes to start. This higher education can also be extremely time consuming; requiring between 15 to 30 hours of time per week for two to four years (depending on your dedication).
This is for you if you’re:
- Someone who wants to upskill and get a new degree to move into another sector, but wants to do it from the comfort of their own home.
- Someone who wants to save money on a degree (these degrees are thousands of dollars less).
- Needs to balance a job, degree or family at the same time.
6. Patented MasterTrack® Certificates
A more fast-tracked aggressive training program. These certificates are essentially fast-tracked sets of courses that allow you to have a ‘Master of Science’, for example, if you pass them. While enrollment is still semester-based, you will complete a number of Coursera courses that are verified by the relevant colleges.
For example, the MasterTrack course Machine Learning for Analytics from the University of Chicago asks for you to finish four courses in roughly 7 to 8 months. These courses are:
- Statistical Thinking for Machine Learning
- Advanced Statistical Thinking for Machine Learning
- Introduction to Machine Learning
- Advanced Applications
Each of these have major projects that need to be completed at the end of each course.
This is for you if you’re: Someone who wants to accelerate their learnings for a degree, and is not afraid to sacrifice a lot of time in the short-term to get a degree in a very specific field.
They also offer specific content for those in business and enterprise companies, government, and current students enrolled in university.
Finally, Coursera offers Coursera Plus which gives you the ability to get many of the courses you’d pay for a la carte, for a flat monthly fee. However, be aware that some courses available in Coursera are not incorporated into Coursera Plus. It’s always good to do your research beforehand on the courses you’re interested in to make sure they are available for you.
For example, the Google IT automation course that I am currently doing is not offered in Coursera Plus, so I need to sign up for VIA professional certification.
Can Coursera get you a job?
So there’s your breakdown of Coursera and what it offers. There’s no doubt that it has a plethora of courses, certifications, and degrees to choose from and further your knowledge. However, will they help to get you the job you want (as that’s what we would equate as valuable)?
The answer has a few parts.
While Coursera’s courses are great for learning, they’re not all that hard to actually complete. It’s common knowledge that MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are bereft of cheating as there’s no way to 100% validate that you are indeed the person taking the test, doing the assignments, and completing the projects (like a traditional university course).
The fact is, it’s extremely easy to cheat with all MOOCs, with Coursera no exception!
An MIT study done in 2015 showed that out of 13,500 students registered for an edX (a popular online learning platform run by Harvard and MIT) introductory mechanics course , 495 received the certificate (it’s actually 502, but they omitted 7 for technical reasons). Out of those 495 students, 65 were detected using CAMEO analysis (Copying Answers using Multiple Existence Online), which is the act of searching for an answer and copy and pasting it to pass the course or assignment. The study used multiple factors to positively/statistically identify a user of CAMEO, including:
- Answering the question very quickly.
- Guttman error (the concept of answering easier questions incorrectly, and harder questions correctly).
- Unusual response patterns (which causes an increase in standard error).
This means that 13% of students were in fact cheating on the edX course based on this algorithm. With the understanding that there are obvious limitations on this one study for this one edX introductory course (the hypothesis is, the more complex the course, the higher the cheating rate), this is still a lot of people cheating to get a verified certificate. With this in mind, how can recruiters and hiring managers positively look at these certifications knowing that it’s so easy to cheat to get them? If you were a hiring manager or a recruiter and knew that almost 15% of students had cheated on their final exams (every year) to graduate and receive their degree, would you think positively about that school? I personally would not!
With that in mind, and to finally answer the question of whether adding a Coursera certification to your resume or CV will make a difference, I would say that the benefit is minimal. Speaking from a hiring manager perspective (and I’ve looked over resumes for multiple engineer, product, and marketing roles at startup, midsize, and enterprise companies), I would argue that due to the fact that they’re so easily acquired and are relatively new, it does show that you have an interest in growing your skills in a particular field or job, but that’s it does. It won’t substitute for on-the-job experience, or a degree from a highly renowned university or college.
However, what the certifications can do is provide you with the necessary skills and knowledge to ace the exam or compose a killer resume.
For example, if you’ve taken a certification in machine learning and AI, did not cheat and passed with a high grade, then it’s likely that you’ve absorbed some very applicable skills to jobs like a data scientist or a data engineer. You can also now add your newly learned skills to your resume or LinkedIn profile. Or, build your own algorithm and publish a portfolio on GitHub for the hiring managers to see.
Ultimately, I think where Coursera truly stands out from the competition is providing applicable training in skills that are in demand from the top employers in the US and across the world. Then, it’s what you do with those taught skills and how you apply them that will dictate whether you get a job in a growing field.
Wrapping it all up: Are Coursera courses worth it?
Coursera is extremely popular among students and other learners, garnering the interest of millions across the world. The ability to complete Guided Projects, general courses, certifications, and even specializations from literally anywhere and at your convenience is likely the key factor behind its success and popularity.
Out of the many other online learning platforms that I’ve taken courses on – including Udemy and Udacity – Coursera is one of the best I’ve tried. However, officially the online platform is not accredited. This being said, its courses can be referenced and approved by legislative bodies. This is rightfully so as many of its courses are designed and offered by top universities and colleges including Stanford and Imperial College of London.
While the main advantage of Coursera is the sheer amount and variety of content and courses it offers – from management to emotional intelligence to psychology – its main drawback is that it’s in the category of MOOCs. This being said, it’s still worthwhile to pursue a Coursera certification or degree for hiring managers that value a resume that shows the willingness to learn, and for your own added knowledge to be able to pass exams and land the job of your dreams.
In sum, I believe that Coursera is indeed worth the investment because many of its courses and certifications are created by industry leaders and notable universities, which, on its own, offers an advantage over other suitable candidates to relevant positions.
With their certifications provided by companies like Google and Amazon for a moderate amount of money, Coursera can give candidates the potential and clout to be brought on to a tier 1 company.
Give it a try and let me know your thoughts!
Did I miss anything? Let me know!
Do universities accept Coursera certificates?
While Coursera certificates can definitely help show that you have an interest in a particular field, they will not help when it comes to getting a higher SAT score or passing an entrance exam specifically. Some universities, once you’re accepted, may allow you to substitute some of Cousera’s online courses for courses within your curriculum, but there are very few.
Are Coursera certificates recognized by employers?
While there are no studies that analyze whether hiring managers and recruiters actually recognize Coursera certifications, having been a hiring manager myself and having completed Coursera certifications,I don’t think that they’re as or more recognized as job experience or accredited degrees/diplomas. This being said, the intrinsic value of the knowledge itself and the interface that Coursera uses is definitely a plus.
Can I get college credit for passed Coursera courses?
So while some courses will allow you to get Masters and Bachelor degrees (because they’re accredited by external universities but on Quora), most courses will not give you a college credit. Ultimately, you’ll want to check with your registrar or admissions office to see whether or not any Quora courses can be supplemented for your degree.
Are Coursera course certificates worth anything? ›
Are Coursera Certificates worth it? On the whole, yes. If you're seeking promotion, looking for a career change, or the skills you are learning are highly sought after, then a Coursera Certificate does have value and is definitely worth the investment. Coursera partners and course providers are world class.Is Coursera legit and accredited? ›
Coursera Certificates Are Not Accredited.
While a Coursera certificate can look good on your resume, it's important to keep in mind that these certificates are not accredited.
Coursera certificates are different and are respected by employers and universities. This is because Coursera offers the highest quality when it comes to courses. Coursera courses are led by the top universities and companies that you could think of. This makes Coursera certificates and degrees legitimate and valuable.Do Coursera courses look good on a resume? ›
A Coursera certificate might look good on your resume if: You completed a long or substantive course. You finished an entire bachelor's (or other) degree program. You completed a course from a reputable provider.Will a Certificate from Coursera get me a job? ›
Coursera does not provide or guarantee job placement. So, take specializations and certificate programs that help you hone the skills you intend to showcase to employees. No, you can't get a job by simply taking a single Coursera course but you may be able to get a job by completing a professional certificate program.Does Coursera certificates count as college credit? ›
Students who complete the Google IT Support Professional Certificate on Coursera can receive 12 credit hours toward the information technology concentration of the B.A.A.S. degree. These credits would count as lower division credits (1000, 2000 level courses).Do Coursera certificates expire? ›
A Course Certificate itself does not expire. Maybe you mean your payment expired. If you paid for a course and more than 180 days have passed, you need to pay again or apply for Financial Aid. If it was a subscription, you should re-subscribe and complete the course(s).How much does a Coursera certificate cost? ›
Coursera Courses can be accessed for free, Guided Projects start at $9.99 and Specializations and Professional Certificates from $39.99 a month.Which is better Coursera or edX? ›
What are the most significant differences between Coursera and edX? Topics: Both platforms offer a diverse range of subjects. However, Coursera focuses more on professional training, for example computer science and business degrees. EdX offers numerous courses in the humanities and the natural sciences.Do people care about Coursera certificates? ›
A straightforward answer to this, Yes. The Coursera certificate adds value to your resume and will help you if you are looking for a promotion or job change. Coursera offers great courses from top educators and top universities that can help you get a job if you are an individual.
Is Coursera better than Udemy? ›
Quick summary: Udemy vs Coursera – which is better?
|Specialization||Anyone can create and offer courses on any topic||Open access to university quality education|
Are Google Career Certificates Worth It? Yes, the Google certification is well worth the time and effort. These certifications can add value to your resume. So, it is true to say that they can help you land an entry-level job in the IT industry with ease.Do colleges like to see Coursera courses? ›
If there is some specialization you want to pursue and you're willing to pay for access to the courses, that's fine. However, these certificates and specializations are unlikely to make a difference in your college admissions process.Which Coursera courses are the best to get a job? ›
- IBM Data Analytics with Excel and R. IBM. ...
- Google IT Support. Google. ...
- Google UX Design. Google. ...
- IBM Cybersecurity Analyst. IBM. ...
- IBM Data Analyst. IBM. ...
- IBM Full Stack Software Developer. IBM. ...
- Salesforce Sales Development Representative. Salesforce, SV Academy. ...
- IBM Data Science. IBM. Professional Certificate.
In fact, many Coursera learners have reported that they were able to advance their careers or land new jobs after earning a Coursera certification. On a personal note : I got my job because i had a coursera certificate which proved my expertise in R programming.Can a Google certificate land me a job? ›
Can I get a job with Google certificates? Yes, Google certificates are designed to provide a path to highly-demanded jobs that most aspirants are looking for.Is it worth it to go to Coursera? ›
The simple answer is Yes! Coursera is a legit and a well-renowned platform that offers high-quality courses, specializations and degree programs. It partners with top Universities and Organizations to create its courses and programs. On top of that, it's a really cost-effective way to get a high-quality education.Can you get a college degree through Coursera? ›
Yes, you can get a bachelor's or master's degree from Coursera. Coursera offers these programs in an array of tech fields. They are valuable because they are curated to provide students with the skills they need on the specific topic they want to learn.How do you know if a Coursera has a certificate? ›
A Course Certificate includes:
The logo of the partner institution offering the course, if the partner institution includes it. A verification URL that allows others to check the Certificate's authenticity. A statement that Coursera has confirmed the identity of the learner who completed the course.
If you do not earn your course certificate within 180 days, your registration will expire and you will need to pay to re-enroll for the course.
Can you leave a Coursera course? ›
Log into your Coursera account. Go to My Courses. Next to the course you want to unenroll from, click the three dots to open the menu. Choose Unenroll from Course.Why did my Coursera courses disappear? ›
please check your subscription if still active in my purchases page . if still active try to clear your cookies and login again and see if you will see your course in your dashboard .Are any Coursera certificates free? ›
Coursera does not provide free specialization certificate courses. Just like online courses, you will have to pay for a subscription or the entire program.Who funds Coursera? ›
Funding. The startup raised an initial $16 million funding round backed by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and New Enterprise Associates. In 2013, GSV led the Series B investment, which totaled $63 million. In 2015, NEA led the Series C round of venture funding, which totaled more than $60 million.Is it worth getting a certificate? ›
A certificate program can be a valuable investment if you are looking to gain in-demand skills and knowledge in a particular field. Depending on your field, earning your certificate can open doors to new job opportunities, promotions with increased salaries, and specializations in areas related to your job.Which Google Coursera certificate is best? ›
- Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate. ...
- Google IT Support Professional Certificate. ...
- Google IT Automation with Python Professional Certificate. ...
- Getting started with Google Workspace Specialization.
The Google IT Support certificate is the most popular Google career certificate on Coursera. It opens up new career opportunities. It's perfect for beginners with no prior experience in IT support. It's one of the professions you can do from home.Which courses are better LinkedIn or Coursera? ›
- LinkedIn Learning's courses are more numerous and more closely focused on providing skills to develop your career and professional life.
- Coursera offers fewer courses but a greater variety – from bite sized to full degree – across a broader range of disciplines.
Yes, you can get a job with an edX certificate. However, you must invest a lot of hard work and dedication. You can't expect to complete an edX course and land your dream job right away. I'll explain the best jobs with edX verified certificates.Do employers take Udemy seriously? ›
Is a Udemy Certificate Valid for a Job? Yes, a Udemy certificate is valid for a job. Many students wonder if job recruiters value Udemy certifications, but this depends on the job you're looking for and your skills and experience. I'll go over why you should get an Udemy certificate and how it can help you get a job.
Is Coursera the best online learning platform? ›
Overall, Coursera is our top choice for an online learning platform because of its variety of courses and official accreditation. Its partnership with leading universities and corporations ensures that courses are academically comprehensive and meet industry standards for career growth.Has anyone gotten a job with Google certificate? ›
Yes, they certainly do. Employees should broaden their skill sets and obtain professional certifications such as the Google Career Certificates. A Google Certificate can be well worth the effort if you're trying to upskill through a self-paced online course while keeping your fees low.Do Google certificates look good on resume? ›
The simple answer: Yes. These certificates are a great way to boost your resume and give you the tangible skills required for entry-level positions in these competitive fields. Google Certificates are a great choice to add skills to your resume, as: They are designed for beginners.What is Google most valuable certificate? ›
The Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate is one of the most valuable Google career certifications you can get. Certified data analysts get an entry-level salary of $67,900 per year and can grow to more than $110K per year once they get 10+ years of working experience.Are Coursera certificates worth more than Udemy? ›
Conclusion: Udemy vs Coursera
Teaching quality is more consistent on Coursera – though a number of Udemy's instructors are also high profile professionals. Udemy's certificates of completion are not accredited, Coursera's are. Coursera is the more expensive of the two.
If you've done Coursera or any course, don't just share the certificate on LinkedIn. Share a few more things to assert that you didn't just hit the play button. Create something out of the course, host it, or just take screenshots and post them along with the certificate.How much is a paid certificate on Coursera? ›
Coursera Courses can be accessed for free, Guided Projects start at $9.99 and Specializations and Professional Certificates from $39.99 a month.Is Udemy better than Coursera? ›
Udemy is best if you want a wide range of affordable courses and Coursera is ideal if you are looking for a structured course or program taught by top professors from a prestigious University or Organization.Is Coursera owned by Google? ›
(/kərˈsɛrə/) is a U.S.-based massive open online course provider founded in 2012 by Stanford University computer science professors Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller.
Adding a Udemy Certificate to Your Resume
Additionally, job recruiters value Udemy certificates. You can add them to your resume to prove to a potential employer that you're committed to your professional development and have gained practical skills to succeed in your job.
Which is better edX or Coursera? ›
What are the most significant differences between Coursera and edX? Topics: Both platforms offer a diverse range of subjects. However, Coursera focuses more on professional training, for example computer science and business degrees. EdX offers numerous courses in the humanities and the natural sciences.Is there any problem with Coursera? ›
Coursera seems to be up and running. We've updated the status 8 minutes ago.Does Coursera charge monthly? ›
When you subscribe to a Coursera course or Specialization, you'll be charged every month until you complete the Specialization by earning a Certificate in every course in that Specialization or cancel your subscription. Coursera Plus lets you pay an annual subscription to access the majority of the courses on Coursera.Can I cancel Coursera anytime? ›
You can cancel your subscription any time. There are no partial refunds for subscriptions, so you'll need to cancel before your next payment date. You'll get a Specialization Certificate when you complete every course in the Specialization you subscribed to.Is Coursera respectable? ›
Yes, Coursera is legit and worth the cost for anyone who wants to pursue online learning with leading academic institutions. Coursera is one of the most cost-effective MOOC sites currently out there.What is the best course in Coursera? ›
- First Step Korean. ...
- English for Career Development. ...
- Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects. ...
- Programming for Everybody (Getting Started with Python) ...
- Foundations of Project Management. ...
- Technical Support Fundamentals. ...
- Foundations of User Experience (UX) Design.
- LinkedIn Learning.