React.JS developers make an average of $70 an hour, or an average salary of $120,000. Whether you’re a programmer looking to level up, or someone seeking a radical career change, I’ll get you started on the path towards a fulfilling and lucrative career as a React developer.
What is React?
React.JS and React Native are technologies developed by Facebook and released as an open-source framework in 2013. Since then, they have been continually developed by Facebook and other companies, along with individual coders.
React.JS vs React Native
When reading about React, you’ll see two “flavors” of it mentioned: ReactJS and React Native. They two are similar, and sometimes interchangeable, but refer to very different ways of working with React.
React was developed by Facebook to display dynamic content on the web page without the need to refresh or require input from the user. This is most prominently exhibited by Facebook’s activity feed, which updates in real-time to display the most recent content. Websites like Airbnb also use React to display search results, relevant content, and stays and activities.
React accomplishes this through its implementation of components. Components are a core feature of React, similar to Objects in ECMAScript 8 and other languages. Components are typically UI elements – a post, a card, a button – but components can also be a logical process, like a transaction. Components are meant to be reused, with their content being placed inside at the time of instantiation (meaning when the component “template” is used with real content).
It’s important to understand, however, that data (props) in React flow down. This means that parent components can pass information down to child components easily, but child components can only pass data back up to parents through events. Events are functions of components that allow them to send data back up to parent components, which can then be passed back down to other components.
What’s the Job Market Like?
Demand for React programmers in the United States is most lucrative in the states of New York and Missouri, where average salaries reach up to $150,000, compared to the national average of $120,000. Although entry-level positions start at only $52,050, experienced programmers make up to $200,000. Note that general economic trends show a shift away from salaried pay to contract work due to fewer labor protections afforded to freelancers. The hourly pay for freelancers is naturally higher (average $70/hour), but whether this compensation is sufficient will depend on the individual.
According to a survey published on Medium, employers looking for React programmers asked for a median of 3 years of experience in web development, provided the applicant could show a strong understanding of React. Additionally, a third of those employers required a degree in computer science, with nearly half of those companies allowing for real-world experience in place of a degree.
Employers also look for applicants with skills besides React programming, such as working with databases and other back-end skills, as well as soft skills like good communication and the ability to work in a team.
Where Do You Start?
With the prospect of high-paying jobs, there’s never been a better time to become a React programmer. But where do you start? There are many ways to become a React programmer, none of them quick and easy but all of them possible even for a complete beginner.
If you have no experience in web development, the best way to begin your career as a React programmer is by learning the basics of programming. Programming fundamentals – like variables, functions and objects – transfer across many programming languages.
Good places to start are the LinkedIn Learning courses Programming Foundations: Fundamentals, Programming Foundations: Object-Oriented Design and Programming Foundations: Real-World Examples. It’s also useful to go ahead and learn concepts like databases, design patterns and interfacing with APIs.
There are many online resources for learning HTML5 and CSS3. It is important to learn proper semantic HTML5, for both accessibility, cross-platform compatibility and search engine optimization. React developers also need to know CSS3, to create beautiful, responsive components of their own design or based on a composition created by a web designer.
For that reason, React developers should be proficient at HTML and CSS. Code comps, which can be found freely available on the internet. To get started and learn more advanced techniques, start with the courses Introduction to Web Design and Development, HTML Essential Training and CSS Essential training. When you’ve based these basics, move on to CSS Selectors for React Developers and CSS Layouts, Learning Web Components, and Mastering Web Developer Interview Code.
Node, NPM and Git
Node, npm and Git are all very different pieces of software, but all are important to know when working in a professional environment.
npm is a package manager used to install React and other libraries or frameworks. It’s an industry standard for installing dependencies, so watch these courses on Learning npm the Node Package Manger and Advanced npm. Git is a tool used for code version control and for changing large programs in group projects. It’s extremely useful and a must-have tool to know when applying for a job. Watch these courses on Learning Git and GitHub and Git for Teams.
Now you’re ready to become a React Native developer, with Learning React Native, React Native Essential Training, Create a CRM Mobile Application with React Native, React Native Ecosystem and Workflow, and finally Building Material Design Apps on Android with React Native. These courses will give you the know-how that employers are looking for, plus some extra skills to make you a more attractive applicant.
What’s next in your career path? That’s for you to decide. What are you interested in? Figure it out and go do that. Read about it, but also do it. Make 5, 10, 15 apps. Whatever you have time for, use that time to make something to show employers. React is a new technology, and it’s already supplanted the old ones. By reading this blog post, you’ve show an interest in learning new skills, but that’s a necessity more than a luxury in this field.
So go out there and learn some more, starting with my own blog archive.