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React developer: sources of learning and future opportunities

Why should you learn React? What opportunities does it open up for you? What learning materials should you use? Lead Software Engineer at EPAM, Anton Telesh, explains.

Lead Software Engineer Anton Telesh


Why learn React?

— Among the numerous web development technologies out there, one that stands head and shoulders above the rest is React. Created by Facebook, React has swiftly become a powerful tool, highly praised by developers worldwide for its efficiency, scalability, and flexibility.

React is a powerful JavaScript library, primarily used for building user interfaces. It was born during the rise of single-page applications and has since been broadly applied in modern multi-page apps as well.

React allows developers to create reusable UI components, streamlining the development process and enhancing efficiency. It simplifies the creation of complex UIs through its virtual DOM by optimizing rendering and boosting performance.

According to the 2021 Stack Overflow Developer Survey, React was the most commonly used web framework. In 2022, it held the second position, with Node.js in the top spot. Companies like Facebook, Instagram, Airbnb, and Netflix have incorporated React into their technology stacks, underscoring its robustness and versatility.

What does the future hold for React?

— React is not only a technology of the present, it will also be a significant part of the future. With the rising trend of progressively enhanced web applications, and the ever-increasing need for dynamic user interfaces, the demand for React will continue to grow. Check this thoughtful article by Kent C. Dodds on progressively enhanced web apps and the evolution of web development.

It is important to note that the evolution of React isn’t occuring in isolation, but rather in sync with a variety of frameworks and libraries built around it. As the ecosystem expands, React will remain the cornerstone for numerous innovative technologies.

Next.js is a React framework that provides a seamless developer experience by integrating features like server-side rendering and static site generation. It simplifies the development of highly scalable, performance-oriented applications, effectively addressing some of React's limitations. As Next.js continues to mature, the demand for developers proficient in this framework will grow.

Pick a position that works for you

Remix is a relatively new entrant that has already caused a stir in the React community. Created by React community leaders Ryan Florence and Michael Jackson, it brings a fresh perspective to routing, data loading, and code organization. Remix leverages the strengths of React, while enhancing the developer experience and performance. It's an exciting framework to keep an eye on, and acquiring skills in Remix could be very beneficial in the near future.

The future of React is intertwined with these advanced frameworks that further enhance its capabilities. As these technologies continue to evolve, proficiency in React coupled with an understanding of these associated frameworks will be highly sought after in the web development industry.

Sources for learning React.js

— Mastering React requires a solid understanding of JavaScript fundamentals. Once you're comfortable with JavaScript, you can start delving into React.

If you’re new to React, it's essential to understand the concepts of components, JSX, state, and props. In addition, learning about lifecycle methods, hooks, and state management libraries like Redux or Context API will be highly beneficial.

There are many resources available to help you learn React, catering to different learning styles and paces. Here are a few platforms that I recommend for beginner and intermediate skill levels:

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If you’re more advanced and already know the basics, learning frameworks like Next.js or Remix can boost your productivity and offer valuable insights. Personally, I prefer Remix for its focus on developer experience and app performance. But there is no place for pointless debates in our noble community — choose whatever suits you best.

Also, spend some time checking advanced state management tools like react-query, swr or even XState. Take a look at a phenomenal presentation from David Khourshid at Reactathon 2022 about XState. This powerful library taught me many valuable things about state management and helped me apply them to two production projects, even without installing the library itself.

Conclusion

— React is a powerful tool that, when wielded effectively, can elevate your web development skills — helping them reach new heights. The landscape of web development is ever-evolving, and React, along with its associated frameworks such as Next.js and Remix, is at the forefront of this digital revolution.

Mastering React doesn't just mean understanding the library itself, but also exploring and comprehending the rich ecosystem built around it. Doing so opens doors to a multitude of opportunities, including building dynamic applications, server-rendered websites, and cross-platform mobile application.

With its growing community, continuous enhancements, and widespread industry acceptance, React and its related frameworks are worth an investment of your time and effort. Remember: learning is a process. Code consistently, build projects, and don't shy away from experimenting or making mistakes.

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