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Coursera is the online learning platform where you can take courses accredited by top-tier Universities. Recently, Coursera launched a new subscription service called Coursera Plus. While you can technically take any course for free on Coursera, if you want a Verified Certificate, you’ll have to pay anywhere from $39-$79 per month per individual course and Specialization.
However, with subscription services becoming more prevalent in today’s society, it’s no surprise that Coursera wants to try it too.
What is Coursera Plus?
Coursera Plus is an annual subscription service to Coursera. You can take as many courses and earn as many certificates as you want with a valid subscription.
It costs $399 to $499 per year per person and you’ll gain access to a subset of Coursera’s online catalog. Coursera Plus doesn’t include access to every course available on Coursera. There are exclusions, but for just about $50 per month (with tax), you’ll gain access to Professional Certificates, Specializations, and courses taught by professors at Duke, Johns Hopkins University, and more.
Coursera Plus is similar to Coursera for Business, which costs $400 per employee per year. Coursera’s helpdesk lists the courses and content available on Coursera Plus. Most of the courses that are excluded from the subscription are from companies like AWS, IBM, Cisco, and PwC. There’s still a good bulk of courses available from top-tiered Universities, but I recommend reviewing the content list before signing up for the subscription.
How to Access Coursera Plus
Update February 2020: You can now access the Coursera Plus sign-up page here.
At the time of writing this article, Coursera doesn’t have a main pricing or subscription page. To access the subscription option, click on a course, and look for the Coursera Plus badge on the right side. If the badge doesn’t appear, then you’ve selected a course that isn’t included in the subscription.
Click the Learn More button, and you’ll be brought to the bottom of the page. Select the “Enroll for Free” button, and a modal will appear.
Choose the “Try Coursera Plus” option if you want the subscription. You’ll be brought directly to checkout, where you can complete your order. Otherwise, select the “Start free trial” button if you want to just enroll in the course.
Should You Consider Coursera Plus in 2020?Coursera Plus includes unlimited access to 2,000+ courses, Specializations, and Professional Certificates. That being said, if you have the goal of advancing your career or your skills, and plan on taking at least 10 months or 10 certificate courses, then it’s probably worth getting the Plus plan. When compared to traditional colleges and universities, Coursera Plus is a fraction of the cost.
On the other hand, if you’re only planning to take a few courses this year, then it’s probably not worth spending the fee to subscribe to Coursera Plus.
Additionally, you will have to put in some work to make the subscription valuable. Lastly, if you’re enrolling in engineering courses on Coursera, it’s not as hands-on as taking a university engineering course with access to labs and equipment But, at $500, you can’t expect to go to most colleges (even community college) for that price.
Do employers value Coursera Certificates?
While there are mixed opinions on this, I think Coursera Certificates are valuable if you have the skills to back them up. It’s probably not a great idea to showcase courses and certificates that you can’t remember the material or don’t use the skills regularly.
One of the best ways to show employers that you know your stuff is to apply the concepts in a personal project. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but if you’re taking a class on coding, designing an app, or making a project shows that you can learn new material and apply it to an application.
If you’re earning Coursera Certificates to improve your skill in a relevant job area, it shows initiative, discipline, and dedication to bettering your career. A relevant course or Specialization from a top University might be valuable depending on how you phrase it on a resume or in a job application.
If you’re currently employed, you can speak with your manager to see if Coursera courses would provide a way to advance your position.
This program provides a mastery of core data science concepts like machine learning and natural language processing. View this Program »
Lastly, if you earned a degree (Bachelor’s or Master’s) from a University on Coursera, it’s important to mention it on a resume, job application or interview. This is especially true if you don’t have a degree from attending that school.
Coursera Plus vs FutureLearn Unlimited
Coursera Plus is about double the price of FutureLearn Unlimited, but Coursera has thousands of courses, Professional Certificates, and Specializations to choose from as opposed to hundreds of courses on FutureLearn. You can get FutureLearn Unlimited for $249 per year.
Featured FutureLearn Courses
However, the number of robotics and engineering courses are fairly limited and taught by International Universities. The only way FutureLearn Unlimited would make sense is if you wanted to take at least four of their courses. Additionally, FutureLearn Unlimited allows you to retain access to all of the courses you complete, even after your subscription ends.
Coursera Plus vs LinkedIn Learning
Between Coursera and all of the online learning platforms, I think LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda) is closest to both price and course selection. LinkedIn Learning is a great option for professionals looking to fill gaps in very niche topics. LinkedIn Learning doesn’t offer degree programs, but you can earn course certificates that integrate with your LinkedIn profile.
Featured LinkedIn Learning Courses
LinkedIn Learning has over 15,000 expert-led Lynda courses for either $29.99 per month or $19.99 per month paid annually. This is about half the price of Coursera Plus and is a good alternative for working professionals that do not want to pay $500+ and commit to a degree or certificate program.
Earning a Course Certificate Isn’t the End-Goal
All in all, earning a course certificate on Coursera isn’t the end-goal. You shouldn’t sign up for a course just to receive the certificate. The best part about online learning is that it’s mostly self-guided. Take courses that interest you. Find Specializations and degrees to move you to the next level. If you attended college in person, you’ll know that the curriculum is rigid and you take whatever you have to take to get through it.
Online learning isn’t like that. Once you find an area you like, find subjects that are relevant to where you want to go in your career. It’s a very cost-effective way to gain knowledge, but only if you know what you need to learn to fill in knowledge gaps. Don’t just take a course to take it. Take the course to understand the material.
Remember, certificates only matter if you can showcase how you’re using the skills in applications relevant to your role. Once you earn a Coursera Certificate (and feel confident in the subject-matter), don’t forget to add it to your resume and LinkedIn profile. Oftentimes, hiring managers will choose the candidate with credentials over candidates with just skills listed out.
Robotics Courses on Coursera Worth Taking
To top things off, I wanted to share some Robotics Courses that are included in Coursera Plus. If you’re looking to get more specialized in software development for robots and advanced mathematics, you’ll want to check out these courses.
1. Robotics Specialization from University of Pennslyvania
2. Modern Robotics: Mechanics, Planning, and Control Specialization from Northwestern University
3. Control of Mobile Robots from Georgia Institute of Technology
Finally, for a complete list of Learn Robotics’ recommended online robotics courses, click here.