Instructor Mark Dewey on How React Can Help Land You a Job

July 18th, 2019

Lauren Mabra

Marketing Coordinator @ Suncoast Developers Guild

Why is React one of the main focuses of our curriculum for both our full-time program and one of our part-time classes? Because React is taking the lead in the web development industry. According to HackerRank's 2019 Developer Skills Report, nearly 40% of employers surveyed were looking for developers who knew React while only 20% of developers actually worked with this specific library. With a gap that huge, learning React will ensure your success in the long run. With this competitive advantage, you will unlock the ability to have more earning power. Employers are scrambling to find talented developers who work with React and with the rapid growth of this technology, there's no sign of that demand slowing down any time soon.

Let's dive a little deeper with Instructor Mark Dewey into what React is and why it's in such high demand.

Briefly, what is React?

So, the web is built on 3 basic technologies: HTML, CSS and JavaScript. HTML and CSS are the content of the webpage and CSS is what makes the website look good. JavaScript is what makes a webpage dynamic and interactive. JavaScript can be hard and interacting with HTML and CSS can be tedious at best. React makes that interaction easier for developers.

React, in a nutshell, is a library for JavaScript that allows developers to more easily create dynamic, scalable and developer-friendly front ends by using building blocks called components.

How would you describe the learning curve for someone trying to pick up React who has some prior experience with HTML, CSS, and Javascript?

Not to trivialize it, but with existing programming knowledge, developers can quickly pick up and get going with React. However, the learning curve all depends on how deep you go into the world of React.

React does a lot for a developer. It hides complexity but allows developers to easily create modern apps. In hiding these details, this allows us to create apps with a relatively low learning curve, but once a student masters the basics, they will dive into those complexities and it becomes a whole new world of technologies.

What are the benefits of learning React?

There are three main reasons why React is good to learn:

First, unlike other popular frontend frameworks, React is a thing layer over what is called Vanilla JavaScript. What this means for developers is that we learn about a JavaScript as we learn React. There is a common saying that learning React makes developers better JavaScript developers.

Secondly, React has roots in what is called functional programming. Functional programming is a programming paradigm that solves many modern problems and leads to all-around better code. Core concepts in React such as immutability, pure functions, and higher-ordered functions are a few of the key concepts in functional programming that are also very popular in React.

Lastly, React is very common and very much a trendsetter in modern frameworks. Many of the core concepts, such as components, were popularized by React and then adopted by other frameworks. This means that for a student, the ideas and tools they learn in React can better prepare them for learning other frameworks and libraries later.

Why do large companies such as Netflix and Spotify utilize React?

I can’t speak for them personally, but bigger companies tend to use the best tool for the job and React is currently one of the best toos. With its popularity comes a deep talent pool, and a wide variety of packages and tools. With a deep and wide ecosystem, React covers most devices and most problems. This means that the same talent and tools can be used to solve a variety of solutions.

Do smaller companies use it too?

Smaller companies are always a little bit slower to adopt new technology. That is for a variety of reasons, but React has been around for a long enough time (since 2013). Over that time, more and more companies have started to use React it has been adopted for the same reasons that bigger companies use it. Most smaller companies are starting to make that transition to React with their greenfield technology.

In your experience, is the ability to work with React a highly demanded skill by local companies?

Absolutely. React is growing every year and it doesn't look like it's slowing down. Many local companies are picking up this technology and using it to drive their tech stack. We tend to have our ear on the ground of what skills are desired in the area, and React always pops up on that list. It's a solid language that is common and helps build better programmers.

What’s your favorite thing about React?

My favorite thing about React is how its very nature creates better programmers. That push to learn and grasp more advanced concepts is ingrained into the very culture of React.

Are there any free resources that you would recommend for someone trying to learn the basics of React?

The best way to learn anything is by building. The single best resource is to start creating. Apart from that, the React documentation is pretty solid as well as watching any videos from recent React Conf.

But, of course, the quickest and most efficient way to learn about React is in Suncoast Developers Guild part-time React class which begins on July 30th. There's still time to register and get started with React. Learn more and register here.

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