Surely, you’ve heard about the new kid on the web development block: React. Afterall, it’s hard to be a front-end developer today without having heard about React.

But what’s all the hype about? Is React another fad, or is it here to stay? And more importantly, should you learn it?

The short answer is: absolutely. Let’s cover the top five reasons you should add React to your web dev repertoire.

What is ReactJS?

First off, what exactly is it? Simply put, React is one of the most popular JavaScript libraries around today. It is used for front-end development, the process of creating the part of a web application that the user sees. (Unlike backend, which is about “behind the scenes” parts like servers and databases.)

React is not a programming language, it’s a library, meaning it’s code is designed to add functionality to JavaScript. Sometimes referred to as a JavaScript framework, it behaves similarly to other frameworks and is often grouped with them.

Now that you know the basics, it’s time to talk about why you should learn it.

#1 React is a great way to start a development career

If you’re thinking about starting a new web dev career, you likely have a well-paying job with a promising future in mind.

If that's what you're aiming for, becoming a React developer may be the best choice you could make right now.

On average, React developers earn 8.7% more than the global development salary, making  React expertise one of the most financially valuable skills in coding today. 

And React is growing fast. In 2020, it was the second-most-popular framework and it’s quickly gaining ground on number one — jQuery.

Plus, people in the industry know React is the future. That’s why one in three developers plan to learn React next, making it the #1 framework coders want to learn.

If you want a chance to work at an exciting company, you’re in luck. Companies using React include Facebook, Google, Netflix, Instagram, Twitter, Uber, Airbnb, Dropbox,  Pinterest, and more.

#2 React is efficient

If you’re going to be writing code all day, being efficient certainly wouldn’t be a bad skill to possess. Thankfully, React fits the bill.

For one, you’ll write less code with React, especially compared to plain JavaScript or other libraries or frameworks. One reason for this is because React is declarative, which means most of the specific steps to do a task are handled behind the scenes.

And let’s not forget speed. A React application loads quickly and delivers a high-quality user experience without lag or tedious page refreshes. It’s also scalable, so it’s a good choice for any size project you can throw at it, from the tiniest side project to a major social network like Facebook.

Why is React so fast? Simple — it's a virtual DOM. React maintains a virtual copy of the web page content (known as the Document Object Model, or DOM). And when something in the DOM changes, thanks to the virtual DOM, React just refreshes the changed sections instead of the entire web page. (See? A lot faster!)

Another advantage of React is its implementation of reusable components. A React component is like a Lego piece that developers can create, stack, and reuse across entire applications.

For example, let’s say you’ve built a React app with a “Publish” button shown on dozens of pages. If you later decide to change the appearance or function of this button, by using React components you’ll only have to edit it once, and it’ll show up that way everywhere — no need to update every page.

#3 React is here for the long haul 

React is here to stay, so a developer with this skillset can expect a career with some longevity.

But why? Well, React has a strong team behind it.  Even though React is open source, it was developed by Facebook. And because they are one of the world’s largest tech companies, they’ve got the money and expertise to keep it on the cutting edge, frequently launching new tools, like React DevTools, React Fiber, and React Hooks.

In addition to the Facebook development team, React has a strong community of users and contributors (growing daily). For example, “reactjs” is one of the most popular and fastest-growing tags on Stack Overflow.

Niche software projects can quickly fade away, but with such a big community, you can expect React to be around for a while.

But what if React did a 180 or even disappeared into thin air? Luckily, your code would still work. Since the React development process is backward compatible and built off JavaScript, the code you write today will keep working on new versions of React, and if React disappears you could use your code (and an old version of the React library) with JavaScript.

#4 React is flexible

Seasoned developers know that the industry only offers one guarantee — change.

Thankfully, React is an excellent way to future-proof your skills. The knowledge needed to build a React app applies to all kinds of other projects. This is true whether you want to change your backend, design an iOS or Android app, or even if you’re creating a virtual reality program.

You can easily apply your React skills toward mobile app development with React Native, a version of React for building Android or iOS apps. React Native apps are cross-platform, and, like React, they also scale quite well.

React 360 is a newer project used to create 3D web applications for virtual reality. This means that as VR becomes more and more a part of our lives, React will likely keep growing as well.

Not only is it a good choice for transitioning to mobile or VR development, React also works well with existing platforms.Its backend agnostic, which means that your company can switch backend platforms without the need to abandon React altogether.

Additionally, React is SEO-friendly, so you don’t have to choose between an app that works well and one that ranks on Google.

#5 React is fun 

Ok, so now you know that, overall, React is an intelligent choice for developers.

But here’s the final (and possibly most important) reason you should learn React — it’s fun to use!

Think about it. As a full-time developer, the tools you use matter. An artist might truly love her job, but every day would be a chore if she had to work with cheap, broken paintbrushes.

The same principle applies to development. Your choice of tools can be the difference between exciting days that fly by and mindless drudgery. React is one of the best choices you can make.

React has a faster learning curve than similar libraries or frameworks, especially if you’re already a JavaScript developer. We could list a million technical reasons for React’s simplicity, but we’ll keep it basic: React adds features to JavaScript, while frameworks like Angular replace JavaScript syntax with something new.

React is the second-most-loved framework (after ASP.NET Core) and the most wanted — which means developers who don’t use React wish they could. That’s the best proof that React is worth your time — developers love it!

Why React is a must-have skill for web developers

If you’re thinking about a career in web development, React is great to have under your belt. Of all the programming skills you can learn today, it’s one of the fastest tickets to an enjoyable, high-paying career in web development.

That’s why here at Practicum, we’ve included React in our Web Developer program. You’ll start learning core skills, including HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, from day one. Then you’ll move on to more complex tools, including React.

After 10 months, you’ll have the training and portfolio you need to get a meaningful React development position. (And we’ll be there every step of the way!)

Sound interesting? Try a two-week bootcamp experience for just $50.

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