Dataquest vs Udacity— which is the better choice for learning data science? We compare Udacity's data science nanodegree with Dataquest's data scientist path.
We can't help but be a little biased, but we'll give it to you straight to help you decide which option is the best choice for you. Let's start with a high-level comparison of the two options:
Learn Data Science Skills Online
Interactive Coding Environment
Requires No Coding Experience
Build a portfolio of projects
Next, let's look more closely at the differences between Dataquest and Udacity so you can better understand how the two compare.
On a per-month basis, Udacity is about eight times more expensive than Dataquest. Udacity checks in at $399 per month, Dataquest is only $49 per month.
Both courses are self-paced, so your ultimate cost will depend on how quickly you move through the material. Udacity advise that on average it takes four months to complete their nanodegree, so you're looking at around $1,600 all up. That said, the nanodegree doesn't start from zero, so you might end up paying for extra courses if you don't have a coding background (more on that below).
In a 2019 survey of student outcomes, most Dataquest students said they met their initial learning goals within 6 months. This makes the average total cost around $300, or less than one month's tuition at Udacity.
One plus to a more expensive option is that it helps your motivation — with over a thousand dollars on the line, you may be less likely to give up since you've already invested so much money. While Dataquest will save you money, you'll have to provide the extra motivation and dedication yourself.
If you're planning on committing to Dataquest, you might consider our annual plan, which gives you over 40% discount by paying for 12 months upfront, which can help overcome the commitment obstacle.
Udacity's teaching materials are centered around video lectures. In-between videos are multiple-choice quizzes that test your knowledge. To practice what you learn, you'll need to set up a coding environment on your own computer.
Dataquest doesn't use any video. Instead, text lessons are combined with our interactive coding environment. You can complete our code exercises right in your browser and get instant feedback on what you've written.
This hands-on style gives students a distinct advantage — studies show that hands-on learners performed, on average, 20% better than students who learned via passive lectures.
Both platforms feature projects which help you synthesize what you've learned and build a portfolio to help you get a job.
With Udacity, you'll work on projects on your own computer locally. In contrast, Dataquest provides an interactive web-based environment so you can complete your projects without any setup requirements.
Udacity projects are reviewed and assessed based on a pre-defined rubric, which can help you get vital feedback on your work. Dataquest doesn't offer project reviews.
Udacity's data science nanodegree requires experience in SQL, Python, and statistics. Udacity recommends their intro to machine learning nanodegree as a prerequisite. This, in turn, requires their introduction to programming nanodegree as a prerequisite.
Combined, these nanodegrees add another 8 months and $3,200 to your study, although you will learn extra skills you wouldn't otherwise.
At Dataquest, we teach you how to code from scratch. We don't require any prerequisite knowledge outside of high-school level math.
Mentorship and Support
Another key difference between Dataquest and Udacity is around mentorship. Udacity assigns each student a mentor with whom they have weekly check-in calls. This mentor is designed to guide your learning and help you keep on track.
Dataquest does not provide 1:1 mentorship. Instead, we have a vibrant online community where you can seek support and encouragement from your fellow students, data scientists, Dataquest community moderators, and the Dataquest success team.
Both Dataquest and Udacity offer resources to help you find a job, including resume reviews.
In addition, Udacity offers each of their students career coaching calls. Dataquest does not offer 1:1 career coaching, but career support is available through our Dataquest community and career-focused Community Moderators. We also have an exhaustive (and totally free) guide to data science job applications.
On G2, Udacity's reviews give it a 4.3/5 average rating, where Dataquest's reviews give it a higher 4.7/5 rating.
Similarly, on Switchup Dataquest's 4.9/5 is higher than Udacity's 4.45/5. Switchup has also awarded Dataquest its best data science bootcamp for three years running and best online bootcamp for two years running (despite the fact that we're not actually a bootcamp!)
Our own internal data collection also confirms this — 96% of students in our 2019 survey said they’d recommend Dataquest.
Dataquest vs Udacity: Summary
Udacity is a more expensive option relative to Dataquest. Depending on what background knowledge you come in with, you could spend between 8 to 24x more for Udacity than you would Dataquest.
For the extra money, you do get individual mentorship support and project assessments.
On the other hand, Dataquest provides an award-winning curriculum and proven learning experience. There is no one-on-one support, but there are community and other resources for help with your learning and your career.
If you're motivated to learn, Dataquest can get you there at a fraction of the price.