How to Learn React JS—a Complete Guide
By: Scott Morris
One of those buzzy, bonus skills you’ll see pop up in job listings and on tech forums is React JS. And yeah, it’s a great one to have considering most web developers who list it on their resumes ultimately wind up with higher salaries.
To put things in perspective, a search for React developer jobs on Indeed.com as of this writing brings up nearly 14,000 open job listings ranging in salary from $85,000-$130,000 per year. Even at the low end, that’s $10,000 more than Indeed’s current average estimate for general web developer salaries ($73,000 per year).
But what IS React JS, why should you learn it, and HOW can you learn it?
To answer your questions, we’ve put together this ultimate guide that breaks down everything you need to know to decide whether learning React JS is your next move. Read it, live it, do it.
(…But don’t feel pressured to take in all this information at once. Bookmark this page and come back whenever you need a refresher on React..)
Table of Contents
- What is React JS?
- Learning React JS—How Long Will it Take and Where Can You Learn It?
What is React JS?
Front End Web Development
- Starting a Career as a Web Developer: Nearly Everything You Need to Know
- The 10 Skills You Need to Land Your First Front End Developer Job
- Front End, Back End, Full Stack—What Does it All Mean?
- Exactly What You Need to Know to Be a Front End Developer
- Dynamic web content includes things like animated graphics, photo slideshows, and interactive forms.
- Anytime you visit a website where things move, refresh, or otherwise change on your screen without requiring you to manually reload a web page, there’s a very good chance JS is the language making it happen.
- Tech 101: What is jQuery, and What is it Used for?
So…Back to React JS
- Virtual DOM
We’ve taken a deeper look at both of these features in our Tech 101: What is React JS article, but here’s the TLDR:
- If you’re not using React JS (and JSX), your website will use HTML to update something called a Document Object Model (DOM)—a representational tree of how the web page is arranged. Updating the DOM is the process that makes things “change” on screen without a user having to manually refresh a page. That’s what we’ll call the “traditional” DOM.
- React JS creates something called a Virtual DOM. The Virtual DOM (like the name implies) is a copy of the site’s DOM, and React JS uses this copy to see what parts of the actual DOM need to change when an event happens (like a user clicking a button). By getting selective about updates, especially with complex websites, that means a lot less computing power and loading time. And time is money, especially in front end web development.
If you want to read a complete breakdown on React JS vs Angular you can check out our guide, but the key takeaway is that React is great for specializing, while Angular is more of an all-in-one-tool for building a website or app from the ground up.
There’s no obvious winner with React vs Angular (it really depends on the specific needs of each web development project), but—unless you’re building a project from start to finish with Angular as your framework—React’s versatility will probably be easier to work with than Angular’s more template-based approach.
React JS: Why Should You Learn It, How Long It Will Take, and Where to Get Started
Why Should You Learn React JS?
If you have ANY interest in working as a front end developer, it’s a no-brainer: you should learn how to use React JS.
If you’re doing front end development, you’re going to be building UIs, and React is a powerful tool for making the UI building process faster, more efficient, and more effective. But there’s a second reason that goes along with the first: knowing how to use React JS will earn you more money (again, as much as $10,000 or more in average yearly salary). It’s as simple as that.
But how long will take to improve your hireability and earning potential via React? The answer will pleasantly surprise you.
How Long Will it Take to Learn React JS?
Where Can You Learn React JS?
- How Long Does it Take to Learn React JS?
- Tech Job Interviews 101: 15 React JS Interview Questions Explained