Gulsen Yildirim Offers Glimpse Into Life as a Udemy Engineer in Turkey

gy-smallGulsen Yildirim is a senior software engineer in Udemy’s Turkey office, and one of 11 engineers on the Turkey team. She shares her background, insights on working at Udemy, and advice for job-seeking engineers.

What is your educational background/degree(s)?

I graduated in 2001 with a degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering. I have an MS degree in Cognitive Science and I am now working on my PhD in Cognitive Science. I have 10+ years of experience in software development. I did game development for about 4 years and following that, I participated in various software projects as a developer or a lead. In recent years, I did project management at a government agency in Turkey that specializes in e-government projects. I joined Udemy in March 2014.

Why did you choose to work at Udemy?

First of all, I was attracted to the product and the company vision. I also loved the attitudes and level of expertise of the engineers. I went through five interviews, and all of them ended with great technical conversations.

What is your role at Udemy?

I’m a senior software engineer on the recommendation team. We mainly work on developing new recommendation algorithms and related features. For instance, we are trying to understand intentions of the users and help them discover new courses aligned with their interests. I have also been involved in projects which require learning from user behaviors, like development of spam filters and ranking through click behaviors.

How would you describe your first days on the job?

I was really excited about the energy. The team was motivated to learn new things and to discover new ways for improving the product continuously – and everyone was so helpful and friendly.

Describe some challenges you’ve had to overcome being based in Udemy’s Turkey office.

There’s a 10 hour time difference, which is challenging. So we have to get synchronized with the team in San Francisco especially via meetings. The SF team picks meeting hours that work for the Turkey team, which is really helpful. For example, all of our planning meetings with the U.S. happen in the evenings in Turkey. But we usually finish all meetings in one or two nights so having meetings at night does not become an issue for our personal lives.

How would you describe your team?

The team is very respectful and helpful. Especially, speaking as a female engineer who has had various roles in different industries, the team at Udemy has been very supportive. This is a great team to work with!

What is your proudest Udemy accomplishment?

We introduced personalized recommendations. This was a great milestone and provided us lots of insights to develop further related features.

What advice would you give an engineer who may be looking for a job?

I believe finding the right team is as important as finding the right job description. So I would advise people to seek opportunities to interact with the team and company to help set expectations. For instance, networking events may provide a good opportunity for that.


Interested in joining the Udemy engineering team? Check out our job openings. We currently have software engineer positions open in San Francisco, Turkey, and Ireland!


Udemy Course from Josh Bersin On “The New HR” Goes Mobile

The Udemy course on modScreen Shot 2014-12-16 at 10.49.32 AMern human resources taught by Josh Bersin, principal at Deloitte Consulting LLP, is now available as a mobile app. The New HR: 21st Century Talent Management launched in August and already has about 2,500 students enrolled. By extending the course to mobile, users have another convenient option for learning on the go and on the job. The free app is available to Android users in the Google Play store.

For companies looking to engage with their employees, mobile is no longer a nice add-on, but mandatory, according to recent research from Bersin by Deloitte, Deloitte Consulting LLP. Employees are two to five times more likely to access HR applications on their phones and tablets than on their PCs, according to Bersin’s research. In response to this research, the Bersin mobile app was created to enable users to learn on their devices whenever and wherever they want, not just on their PCs. The course remains available via the Udemy marketplace, and it is offered as part of Udemy’s corporate learning platform, Udemy for Business.

“Our own data shows that 30 percent of Udemy for Business users access courses on mobile devices,” said Paul Sebastien, vice president and general manager of Udemy for Business. “With HR professionals already consuming Bersin’s course in droves, this app will prove extremely popular and helpful to our users. This mobile app reinforces Udemy’s commitment to enabling customers to learn the skills they need when and where they want, so they can stay competitive in their fields.”

Udemy for Business is the only company that offers a comprehensive and highly customizable online training solution that allows users to learn from industry experts and create their own courses. Companies can get instant access to a suite of more than 800 high-quality, cutting-edge courses including Bersin’s, and they can create their own proprietary training courses. Innovative companies including Optimizely, 1-800 Flowers, IBM, Datalogix, Pitney Bowes, Oracle, Pepsi, and thousands more rely on Udemy to get and stay competitive in today’s fast-moving, technology-driven market landscape.

“We now live in a ‘mobile first’ reality and engaging employees in this new landscape is one of the main challenges I address in my research,” said Bersin. “The opportunity for HR professionals to take the course on a mobile app not only makes it easier to consume, but will also show first-hand the impact mobile engagement can make in their own professions. Udemy has made it easy for me to extend my content across more channels, so I can help even more professionals learn the new skills they need.”

Acquired by Deloitte Consulting LLP in 2013, Bersin by Deloitte is a leading provider of research-based membership programs and advisory services in the HR, talent and learning market. The organization works closely with executives at successful companies to help improve organizational performance through learning and HR initiatives.


Udemy Participates in Hour of Code

Udemy is excited to offer six computer science courses for free from December 8-14 in support of the Hour of Code. The Hour of Code is one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to show students that they can learn computer science basics. It is a global movement that reaches tens of millions of students in more than 180 countries.

To participate, simply click here, select a course, and use the coupon code “HourofCode” to access the course for free. The following Udemy courses are being offered:

  • HTML5 Mobile Game Development for Beginners
  • Create Desktop and Web Games In 2 Hours Without Programming
  • Programming for Entrepreneurs – JavaScript
  • Programming for Entrepreneurs – HTML & css
  • Game Development and Coding for Children
  • Programming for Kids – How to Make Coding Fun

Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 10.59.34 AM

Media Success Story: Udemy Instructor Issa Asad

IIssa Asad launched his Udemy course “Instant Profits with Instagram” in early October to help people establish and grow business brands using Instagram. Asad put out a press release when his course launched, and put out a second press release when 1,000 students had enrolled in his course less than a month after launch.

We caught up with Asad to learn about his process for promoting his course to the media and his success so far.

Why did you decide to put out press releases to promote your Udemy course?

We wanted to help bring awareness to my Udemy training and E-Book series on Amazon. The 1,000 students was a newsworthy benchmark for us.

How did you distribute your press releases?

My team set up the press releases using services like E-releases. We had tried several other services, but found E-releases to be very good and more reasonably priced, and they gave us volume discounts.

We generally put some of our press releases on my website. I share my releases on social media and have my team do the same.

What was the reach of your press release?

The release announcing the launch of the course was posted on 328 websites and has received 500 views. The second release was posted on 285 websites and has received 206 views to date.

Did you get any reporter interest from the release?

Our releases have been picked up in many national and local publications, and some releases have led to requests for interviews.

Do you know if any of the viewers of your press release turned into people who have taken your Udemy course?

Most definitely! Our press releases led to new students enrolling and more awareness of my course and business.

Do you have any advice for other organizations launching Udemy courses and thinking of doing press?

Press releases are a good part of any marketing strategy but they are not a stand-alone item. They work best when they are part of a coordinated content distribution strategy with blog posts, social media, paid advertising and big content pieces like reports, infographics, slideshares, and videos.I would also say that repetition of unique press releases is key – it is not a one and done strategy.

I highly advise doing a press release to promote your Udemy course. Bringing awareness to your course is an absolute necessity to make you training standout from the rest.


Issa Asad is Miami-based entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience in the technology, marketing and telecommunications industries. Inspired by the industries he works in, Asad is passionate about innovation and originality. Currently, Asad is the CEO of Quadrant Holdings, LLC, and Centurion Logistics, LLC, located in Dania, Florida.

Click here to check out Asad’s Instant Profits E-Book series, view his website, and check out his Udemy course.

Thinking about doing media outreach but not sure where to start? Check out Udemy’s Teach Press Kit for guidance. The Kit includes a press release template you can use when drafting your press release.

Are you an instructor or member of an organization teaching a course on Udemy with a success story to share? We’d love to hear it! Email


Media Success Story:

In July 3DTi_ICON_12014,, a provider of online production-based training programs in Autodesk Software, started launching Udemy courses to extend the reach of their programs. In October, they put out this press release to announce the creation of their courses.

Press releases are a great tool for announcing new courses and course milestones (such as high enrollment and student success stories) to the media. We asked about the process for distributing their press release and the outcomes they have seen thus far.

Why did you decide to put out a press release when you launched your Udemy course?

We were excited about the opportunity to partner with Udemy and we wanted to share that news. Also, the press release was an additional way to reach people in the 3D field, to teach them valuable content while making them aware of career opportunities in the 3D field.

How did you distribute your press release?

We used Outmarket, a wire news distribution service. We also posted the release on our website, and shared the release via our Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts.

What was the reach of your release?

More than 280 media outlets published the press release, resulting in more than 85,000 people reading the release title, and more than 2,000 reading the full press release.

How did the press release help you achieve your goals for your courses and business overall?

We saw a spike in people signing up for Udemy courses after the release was distributed, and a spike in traffic to Already three students who have taken the Udemy courses have gone on to enroll in our more extensive programs offered on our website.

What would you do differently next time?

In the future we would want to include some student success stories. We may do a press release in the future that includes success stories.

Do you have any advice for other organizations launching Udemy courses and thinking of doing press?

Use a wire service to maximize your reach. It was great partnering with Udemy and getting Udemy’s support throughout the process of creating, launching, and promoting our courses.

+++ is the leading provider of short-term production-based training programs in Autodesk Software. For more information, visit and view their Udemy courses here.’s courses have nearly 4,000 enrollments to date since launch in July.

Thinking about doing media outreach but not sure where to start? Check out Udemy’s Teach Press Kit for guidance. The Kit includes a press release template you can use when drafting your press release.

Are you an instructor or member of an organization teaching a course on Udemy with a success story to share? We’d love to hear it! Email


Udemy Launches Skills Gap Index

Udemy-Skills-Gap-InfographicWe know a lot about what employers think of the skills gap, what some economists think of the skills gap and what politicians think of the skills gap. What we don’t know? What workers think of the skills gap.

So we sought to change that. And the results surprised us.

The Udemy Skills Gap Index, an independent survey conducted by ResearchNow surveyed 1,000 Americans between the ages of 18 and 65 to determine their  thoughts, perceptions and attitudes toward not only the skills they believe they possess, but also how those skills impact their professional lives.

Among the most surprising results was the revelation that, while 61% of Americans believe that today’s workforce is plagued by a skills gap, 95% consider themselves to be either qualified or overqualified for the positions that they personally hold. When it comes to the skills gap, Americans clearly believe “it’s not me – it’s you.” Other findings include:

  • Ameasurable gender disconnect in perceptions of the skills gap exists, with 68% of men believing in its existence as compared to 55% of women.
  • While nearly half of Americans say their higher education helped them get their first job, more than a third believe they use less than 10% of what they learned in college in the workplace.
  • A majority of millennials (53%) feel that they have already mastered the skills their jobs require of them, as compared to 43% of baby boomers.
  • 36% of people seeking a new job report taking no extra action (such as taking an online course, attending networking events or visiting a recruiter) to boost their chances of getting hired.

So what do these findings really mean? A full analysis is available in our report, but the survey raises some compelling questions:

  • How long until the majority of Americans feel personally affected by the skills gap? (Our guess – not long)
  • Are employers doing enough to train their workers on the job?
  • How are Americans going to adopt new skills?

As you may have guessed, we’re pretty bullish on online learning for that last one, and we’re not the only ones. More than 4 million people all over the world rely on Udemy to build and sharpen their skills, and more are joining our ranks every day. We predict that as the line between work life and education life continues to blur, more and more workers will turn to online learning to adopt the new skills needed to succeed professionally and personally.


Press Release

Please Mind the Skills Perception Gap

Closing the Tech Skills Gap in California


Udemy Moves to New San Francisco HQ

Udemy recently moved to a new, larger headquarters in San Francisco’s SOMA neighborhood. The new space is three times the size of our former SOMA space, at roughly 20,600 square feet. HQ is home to about 90 employees, and the space will accommodate about 150 people as Udemy continues to grow rapidly following the $32 million Series C funding round raised in May.

The new office is at 3rd Street and Harrison Street.

New office perks include:

  • A kitchen that is well-stocked with snacks
  • A larger dining area where employees enjoy catered lunches together Monday through Thursday
  • Close proximity to Market Street (between Powell and Motgomey BART stations)
  • A variety of types of work stations, including comfortable chairs and huddle rooms
  • Access to a roof deck (that also has Wi-Fi)
  • A studio where employees can film their own Udemy courses

Check out more office and team pictures:


This slideshow requires JavaScript.



New Course for Human Resources Leaders from Bersin by Deloitte

Udemy today announced the launch of a new course for human resources leaders from Josh Bersin, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP, one of the most recognized and respected authorities on corporate learning. The course – The New HR: 21st Century Talent Management – addresses the challenges and opportunities of modern HR based on research from Bersin by Deloitte.

Topics covered include:

  • How to manage and grow talented employees in today’s global economy
  • Pressing topics facing HR leaders, including hiring, retention, corporate learning, and the intergenerational workplace
  • Big data talent analytics

The course is available for free here and is the newest addition to Udemy’s library of expert content available to professionals around the world.

Udemy Hosts Course-A-Thon for Association for Talent Development

ATD Golden Gate logoThe Association for Talent Development (ATD) Golden Gate Chapter was at Udemy headquarters yesterday creating a ton of Udemy courses for their chapter members. The ATD is the largest corporate training and skills development organization in the United States. The Golden Gate ATD chapter uses Udemy’s corporate learning platform, Udemy for Organizations, as their portal for members to create courses

During the course-a-thon, about 20 chapter members were working on a number of courses related to ATD membership, including content on why members should join the chapter and how members could get the most out of their membership. Members are also working on a unique section of their portal that will allow members to upload and house portfolios of their work, such as presentations they have created and programs they have designed, which members could share with potential employers when applying for jobs.

Paul Anjeski, president elect of the ATD Golden Gate Chapter, was particularly excited for this event because it gave members a chance to collaborate and receive some hands-on support as they created courses. He is excited to share how his chapter is using Udemy with his broader organization, with the goal of enabling other chapters to replicate what has worked for the Golden Gate Chapter.

Anjeski said: “For a group of learning professionals who really want to understand the capabilities of asynchronous learning, Udemy is a great place to start.”


Elliott Masie’s Eight Lessons Learned from Creating a Corporate MOOC

Elliott Masie, head of the New York think tank The MASIE Center, shares his lessons learned from creating a MOOC on the Udemy for Organizations blog. Below is a sneak peak at lessons one and two. Click here for the full blog post.


1. Create content that can be immediately put to use

We purposefully created a MOOC around a compelling, meaty topic: Big Learning Data: Ups, Downs and Decisions. We chose this topic because we knew that our audience could immediately put these learnings to use in their careers.

2. Ask your audience for input along the way

We started creating our course in March 2014 and launched it to our audience, which is made up of hundreds of senior-level learning executives from large corporations, in May 2014. Our learners are busy people who are well-versed in the latest learning methodologies and technologies, so we knew we would get high-quality feedback. As this was our first foray into this style of learning, we opened the dialogue by asking our audience what they wanted to learn.

Throughout the process, we found that our audience had great questions and feedback on our materials. We spent a few hours a week engaging with learners and answering questions.