How Useful are Certificates from Coursera, edX, and Udemy? by@javinpaul
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How Useful are Certificates from Coursera, edX, and Udemy?

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Coursera, Udemy, edX and Udacity courses offer course completion certificates. Author of a popular Java blog and an [educator] often receive questions about the value of these courses. Almost 90% of people who join an online course never complete them. A course completion certificate doesn't make you an expert, but it does show that you have completed a course on a particular subject, and you are a constant learner, an essential attribute while hiring Programmers, Engineers, Developers, and [Data Scientists].

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Javin Paul

I am Java programmer, blogger on and

About @javinpaul
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Hello Devs, being an author of a popular Java blog and an educator I often receive questions like: Should I go for Coursera certifications? Are they worth it? Should I go for Udemy certifications or edX certification? Will they help me get a job and ease my career development process? e.t.c.

After answering them separately over Facebook and Twitter, I thought to write this blog post to address common concerns from programmers and developers who want to learn new skills online but are concerned about their value.

While online courses provide an excellent platform for learning at low cost, at your schedule, and at your own pace, when it comes to course completion certification, you can debate their value.

As I said, I often received questions from my readers about the worth of the certifications they offer.

Many people asked me whether course completion certificates offered by Udemy, Coursera, edX, Educative, Udacity, or any such online platforms are worth anything?

The answer to this question is both Yes, and No because it totally depends on what worth means for you?

If you are thinking that just completing a Computer Science or Data Science course on Coursera and displaying a completion certificate on your resume or on LinkedIn will land you a Job then definitely, it's not worth it. But, at the same time, these certifications can put your resume forward to many Recruiters looking for Data scientists.

A course completion certificate doesn't make you an expert, but it does show that you have completed a course on a particular subject, which means you know about it, and are a constant learner, an essential attribute that hiring managers look out for, while hiring Programmers, Engineers, Developers, and Data Scientists.

It's a sad truth that almost 90% of people who start an online course never complete them. Yes, the number might seem surprising, but it's true.

I know many of my friends who teach classes on Udemy with thousands of learners enrolled in them, but hardly a few of them ever complete the course. A course completion certification definitely gives you some edge. Even with my Java and Spring certification courses, not everyone who joins my course completes it.

At the same time, you need to remember that a course completion certification is very different from Oracle's Java certification or AWS certification from Amazon, or Azure Certification from Microsoft which really tests your skill and then awards your certificate.

The certifications listed above are definitely more valuable than a standard course completion certificate from Udemy, Coursera, edX, Educative, or Udacity but again there are exceptions like Google's IT support certification on Coursera which is highly valued by many employers.

New IT support badge from CompTIA and Grow with Google

New IT support badge from CompTIA and Grow with Google

Are Coursera and Udemy Course Certifications Worth it? Do they boost your credentials?

I have been on both sides of the table in Programming interviews. As a candidate, I have seen Recruiters show interest in my resume and talk about my certifications, while as an Interviewer and hiring manager, I also give more credence to people who have certifications on their resumes. To those who don't have them, they’re still considered, provided they show similar dedication and skill, with other things like experience.

I have also seen recruiters storm a developer’s profile after the addition of Java, Spring, and AWS certifications. There is certainly value there but just having the certification will not guarantee you anything exception initial exposure.

When I see a Resume with a certificate on it, I always think that this guy is a constant learner, believes in upgrading his skills, and also puts some effort apart from his job to learn something valuable for his career. These are definitely some of the important traits I look for in a potential hire.

But, you need to be extremely careful here. It's Ok to not put a certification or a course completion proof on your Resume, but If you have evidence, you must be ready to prove that you have acquired them.

For example, if someone is saying he is an Oracle certified Java developer and can't answer a couple of tricky questions about operator precedence in Java, I will doubt that he is really worth the certification.


Similarly, if you say that you completed The Google Cloud Certification on Coursera but don't know what a compute engine, BigQueury or BigTable is, then I take it that you are not sincere and you are just concerned about points on a paper instead of learning skill acquisition, which is the primary goal of these online courses.

It is definitely worth putting course completion certificates on your CV or LinkedIn Monster, or profile, but you must be ready to show that you have enough knowledge to justify those certificates.

If you fail to justify your certification with knowledge and experience upon your interview its a big negative, and for many of hiring managers, it's just the end of the interview.

It all depends on whether course certificates from Udemy, Coursera, edX, and Udacity are valuable or not. They are definitely valuable in terms of providing recognition, adding the keyword in your resume, and providing initial boots, but you just cannot get a job or start a career by using them. You need to have solid skills to back those certificates.

Another subtle thing I would like to mention about the value of a course certification is perception. For example, in general, Coursera or Udacity certificates offered by Google, Microsoft, AWS, IBM, or Stamford University is much more valuable than a random certificate provided by some unknown author.

Don't get me wrong, you may be able to learn better on the other course, and that should be the primary goal, but companies like Google, AWS, Microsoft, IBM, SalesForce, and Universities like Stanford, Michigan, and Hong Kong university enjoys a lot of trust in the public's eye.

Whenever you are associated with these big companies, people pay attention, and it can act as an affirmative vote for your Resume and profile. Having said that, never join an online course just for certificates, your primary goal should always be learning skills and improving yourself, documents are a by-product of that.

I would, on any day, hire a Java Programmer who is an expert in coding, algorithms, Java, over a person who has completed a couple of online courses on Udemy, Coursera, edX, Educative, Udacity, or any other online platform but cannot write a program involving a couple of classes.

Thanks for reading this article so far. If you like this article, then please share it with your friends and colleagues. If you have any questions or feedback, then please drop a note.

P. S. - If you are looking for IT certification, I highly recommend you to go for a Cloud certification as the cloud is the most in-demand skill in today's world. And, in the cloud, AWS is most popular, hence AWS solution architect is the best cloud certification to acquire. Go for that.

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by Javin Paul @javinpaul.I am Java programmer, blogger on and
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