(!) Worst Online Courses #1

The Complete Web Developer Course 2.0 on Udemy by Rob Percival

This is one of the most popular courses on Udemy particularly for learning front-end Web development, and I had high hopes going into it when I originally did this course in June 2015. However, as my first intro to both the Udemy platform and front-end Web development, it was a terribly disappointing course overall, mostly due to the technical incompetence of the instructor and the resulting poor quality of the material. Rob Percival conveyed appreciable enthusiasm for the material and was likeable enough on camera, but unfortunately his technical knowledge was simply inadequate and full of too many holes as well. More detail on the technicalities is provided in the Cons listed below. By the end of the course, I actually ended up thinking that the $10 and hours of time that I’d invested were all a waste, and I had second thoughts about ever using Udemy again because the title of the course was a completely false claim. The course did not turn me into a “complete” developer, nor was it a “complete” course in any sense of the word as it failed to cover any of the technologies in sufficient depth. Lastly, this highly popular course actually makes me fear for the quality of work that the many “graduates” of this course might learn (and put out) through Rob Percival’s poorly-demonstrated methods and techniques.


  • Big-picture coverage of Web development from the front-end (HTML, CSS, & JavaScript) to the back-end (PHP & SQL)
  • Instructor’s enthusiasm & engaging personality made the videos easy to watch
  • Lots of example code available to download for quick reference


  • Bad pedagogy:
    • Instructor constantly copied & pasted code from other sources, promoting viewers to copy & paste without understanding, and indirectly causing viewers to not learn the technique of problem-solving
    • Instructor’s constant copying & pasting from StackOverflow and other sources made it look like he was unable to write any code from scratch
    • Instructor frequently referred to code on StackOverflow as “this looks pretty good” but never explained why so that viewers could learn
  • Only introductory beginner-level coverage of all of the topics and not enough depth on any of them
  • Instructor had to google a basic algorithm to check whether a number is prime when he has a degree in math from Cambridge University (!)
  • No mention at all of the DOM
  • No mention at all of how to write HTML properly to establish document structure & hierarchy
  • No mention at all on responsive design, and too much focus on creating pixel-perfect designs
  • Frequently incorrect technicalities (for example, saying that SQL stands for “Server Query Language” when it does not, and calling MySQL a language when it’s a system)
  • Bad coding style & practice in the JavaScript section and not conforming to any guidelines established by MDN, Google, or Douglas Crockford

Conclusion: Don’t let all of the positive Udemy customer reviews fool you, this course will NOT teach you modern front-end Web development techniques or tools, and it’s not worth paying even $10 for the substandard approach and content.

Rating: 1 out of 5 (-4 for poor pedagogy, lack of depth, lack of any coverage on essential topics, incorrect technicalities, and demonstration of bad coding style & practice)