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3 reasons to learn React (and how to get started)

If you're exploring front-end development as a career, then you've probably heard that React is a must-have skill. But what exactly is React, and why do so many companies love it? Also, how do you get started with learning React? Below, we'll explore these questions one by one.

What is React?

In a nutshell, React is a JavaScript library used to build user interfaces (UIs) for websites and applications.

Of course, this begs the question: what's a JavaScript library?

JavaScript is a programming language that has become increasingly popular with website and app designers. Even though every website is different, many use the same JavaScript functions. Think about how many websites use slideshow features and interactive forms. Instead of manually coding these elements each time, JavaScript libraries like React contain pre-written code that can be used to implement common JavaScript functions.

In other words, React makes it easier to build UIs for websites and applications.

React is especially useful for single-page applications. If you're on Facebook, then you've interacted with React. In fact, React was created by a Facebook engineer and is still maintained by Facebook today.

Think about all of the things that happen on your Facebook homepage. You get updated feeds, notifications, alerts, and even messages from your friends, all in real-time. Not too long ago, you would've had to refresh your browser to get the latest information. JavaScript libraries like React have helped turn web browsers into fully interactive experiences that look and feel more like a fully-functional desktop application than a traditional webpage.

3 reasons why you should learn React

If you want to give yourself an edge in your career as a front-end engineer, learning React is one way to set you apart from the competition. Though it's only been around since 2011, React has become extremely popular. Last year, it was the second most popular library in Stack Overflow's developer survey. Here are three reasons why you should consider learning React:

1. React is flexible and efficient

Given the connection between React and Facebook, it's no surprise that React is widely supported among all the major browsers. And, its modular structure means that it's much easier to manage and update React projects than those developed with other JavaScript libraries.

The pre-built functions in React will also save time that you'd otherwise spend developing your project line by line. Plus, React functions can be put together to quickly create scalable projects that look great.

2. React developers are in demand

Since most of the world went digital in 2020, employers around the globe have been looking for talented React developers. Unfortunately, there simply aren't enough React developers to keep up with the demand — which means that companies are willing to pay more for developers who are familiar with the library.

How much does a React developer make? On average, React developers in the U.S. can expect $80,000–$85,000 from a starting salary, and experienced developers can earn well over $130,000.

It literally pays to learn React.

3. React doesn't take long to learn

We know your next question: how long does it take to learn React?

The answer depends on your experience. One advantage to learning React is that it builds on your existing knowledge of the fundamentals of web development.

If you're new to web development, you should be prepared to invest up to a year in learning React as you'll first need to develop other essential skills like basic programming concepts, the fundamentals of web development, and a basic understanding of JavaScript, HTML, and CSS.

It might sound like a lot, but these are basic skills you'll need as you transition to your new career in development. Plus, learning React will deepen your understanding of JavaScript's structure, which will come in handy throughout your career.

But what if you're already a JavaScript pro? Then, chances are, you'll probably be able to learn React in as little as a few weeks.

How do I start learning React?

Learning React is well within your grasp. Follow these steps to get started:

Learn the basics of web development

When you're just getting into web development, it's easy to feel overwhelmed by the new world filled with new jargon and new skills to learn. But we all have to start somewhere. That's why we recommend that you take the time to really focus on the fundamentals of programming and web development before diving into React.

There are two reasons for this. First, you'll create a solid foundation of skills that'll serve you throughout your career, no matter which direction you take. Second, you'll find the experience of learning React to be far more rewarding and less frustrating if you've already mastered the basic skills. You'll be able to make the most of your learning time delving into React's distinctive features rather than troubleshooting problems.

Take a React course

Once you have a solid grasp of programming, web development, and JavaScript, check out our Learn React course. We'll walk you through the basics of React programming, including its JSX syntax, various components, lifecycle methods, and more. After learning the library's fundamentals, take it a step further by learning how to create a front-end app with React.

Get more practice, more projects, and more guidance.

3 reasons to learn React (and how to get started)
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