React is a popular JavaScript library that has generated a lot of buzz lately. Originally created by Facebook to help streamline the company’s app, React is now widely used by Front End Web Developers to build user interfaces (UI) on single-page applications. But is React worthy of all the buzz? Why is React considered an essential skill for front end web developers? Here are the top seven reasons.

1. React Is Popular

The popularity of React has steadily increased ever since its introduction to the public in 2013. It didn’t take long for Front End Web Developers to discover how truly useful React can be; it simplifies the creation and management of an application’s user interface (UI) while also improving site performance. 

Every year, more and more developers embrace React. In the 2021 Stack Overflow survey, more than 40% of professional developers reported extensive use of React in the past year, bypassing long-time frontrunner jQuery to become the most commonly used library or framework. With such a large percentage of the web development community already using React, it’s now considered a must-have skill.

2. React Is Versatile

Another great reason why every Front End Web Developer should learn React is that it’s so versatile. Once you learn how to use React to build web applications, you can apply those skills in a broader range of contexts. For example, you could take your knowledge of React and apply it to mobile app development through React Native, a framework that allows developers to build mobile apps that work on various platforms including iOS, Android, and Windows Mobile. Other options would be to build virtual reality gaming environments through React VR or use React with the Electron framework to create desktop apps. 

3. React Is Well-Maintained

We all know how fast the tech world changes. Web Developers are often reluctant to invest time and energy into learning the “latest and greatest” tool, library, or framework because they worry it won’t be around for long. It’s not totally unheard of for tech to fade into obscurity because its creator failed to grow, innovate, or even maintain it. Fortunately, that’s unlikely to happen with React. React is an integral part of the Facebook website and mobile app plus Instagram; it has the full support of the Facebook team and will likely be around for many years to come.

4. React Is Supported by a Large Community 

In addition to having the backing of Facebook, React is also supported by a large community of users. Having access to a sizable, supportive community means that developers can easily find help whenever they need it. 

One of the largest and most active communities for Web Developers is Stack Overflow, a question and answer website for professional and hobbyist programmers. If you find yourself getting stuck at any point while using React, you can always search for the answer on Stack Overflow or ask the question if it hasn’t already been addressed. Chances are your question has already been asked and answered; there are currently more than 340,000 React-related questions posted on Stack Overflow. Additional help can also be found on the React community on Reddit or the React forum on dev.to.

5. React Improves Productivity 

React is an excellent addition to any Front End Web Developer’s skill set because it can help them increase their productivity. One of the core features of React is that it allows the user interface (UI) to be broken down into independent components. These components are reusable and can be applied to separate pages and projects, which greatly reduces the amount of coding that’s required and speeds up development.

Productivity can also be improved through the use of React Developer Tools. These tools can be added as an extension to both Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, allowing developers to inspect and debug apps more efficiently and code more quickly. 

6. React Is a Highly Marketable Skill

Refusing to learn React could cost you if you’re in the market for a web development job. Companies all over the country are looking for Front End Web Developers who have experience with React — it’s a highly marketable skill! If you check the job ads for Front End or Full Stack Web Developers, you’ll see that many listings even specify that React is a required skill for the role. With React skills being so high in demand, having them on your résumé could also help you negotiate a higher salary. That’s a compelling reason why developers should add React to their skill set!

7. React Is Easy to Learn 

If the learning curve of new technology is too steep, programmers are more likely to shy away from it, only adopting the technology when absolutely necessary. The good news is that experienced Web Developers will find React very easy to pick up. Anyone who already has extensive knowledge of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript will have no trouble learning React; it’s much easier to figure out compared to more complex frameworks and libraries like Angular and jQuery. In fact, if you look at Stack Overflow’s 2021 developer survey, you’ll see that both Angular and jQuery were among the most hated libraries/frameworks while React was one of the most loved. 

How to Learn React

If you’d like to learn React, there are various ways to go about it, including self-learning through online resources or taking classes either in person or online. Let’s take a closer look at the options plus the prerequisites for learning React. 

Prerequisites for Learning React

Before you attempt to learn React, it’s important to make sure you have a solid grasp of a few web development fundamentals first. To start with, you’ll need to know how to use foundational front end programming languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. You should also learn how to use essential front end development tools like Git and Node Package Manager (npm.) Acquiring these skills before you attempt to tackle React will make the learning experience go much more smoothly.

Online React Resources

If you’re the type of person who likes to learn on their own, you’re in luck: there’s a wide range of online resources available for self-learners. One of the best places to start is the React website; there you’ll find the official documentation for React plus an in-depth tutorial to help you learn how to use the library and its various features. If you prefer to learn through video instruction, you can find an abundance of options available on YouTube

React Classes

While it’s certainly possible to pick up React on your own, many people prefer learning through structured classes where they can ask questions and receive immediate feedback on their work. For those types of people, the best way to acquire React skills is through a React bootcamp. Bootcamp are intensive classes designed to provide you with in-depth knowledge on a subject in a relatively short amount of time, making them a very efficient way to acquire new skills. 

Keep in mind, however, that you’ll need to know HTML, CSS, and JavaScript before enrolling in a React bootcamp. If you don’t yet have these skills, you can easily learn them through web development classes. Depending upon your location, you may even be able to find a few in-person web development courses in your area. If not, there are many live online web development classes available to choose from. These offer many of the same benefits as in-person instruction but without the hassle of a long commute to school.