phocks a blog

OK I learnt React — kinda — and got hired as a front-end developer

React Mountain 3

But it wasn’t because I learnt React

I’m done “learning” React.

At the same time I’ll probably never by “done” learning React.

This will be the third and final chapter in what might have been a much longer series had I not just a few months ago accepted a position working full-time as a front-end developer.

You can read the first and second article if you want some additional perspective.

A resolution to develop (as a person)

For New Year’s I resolved to make a slight redirection in the course of my career. I wanted to become a “proper” developer.

So I gave notice at my old job as in IT Support/Sysadmin and hit up every online learning resource I could find on the Internet about JavaScript development.

I avoided learning React for a long time simply because it seemed like a lot of effort for a library that might be replaced by something else (hello Vue) in a few months time anyway.

But I persisted, for a bit.

Getting hired

I would like to say that I got hired because I learnt React inside and out and was a genius at it. But I think it would be more accurate to say I got hired because I showed my willingness to learn new things.

(Plus I knew someone on the inside who recommended me for the position… that may or may not have had something to do with it.)

There was also a hell of a lot of trial and error and outright rejection beforehand while I was out there in the brutal job market. It was definitely a tough few months.

But still I persisted. I forced myself to get “out there”. I went along to local JavaScript meetups and React meetups. I spoke to people and tried to make as many friends as I could.

All the while I kept learning. And eventually the perfect role came along.

The first few weeks of work were actually spent learning a completely different JavaScript library (D3) which I had only very briefly looked at before.

And we are only now beginning to build a few React components that we will be able to use and re-use in future projects.

It’s a brave new world out there.

So here’s my takeaway from the whole experience

This turned out not to be a coding tutorial article like the others, but whatever. There are far better places on the Internet to learn React than through my rambling writing here.

But here are a few things I will leave with you on your journey.

You probably already kinda know React. There’s nothing magical about React. It’s just JavaScript and HTML and CSS being rendered to a screen.

JSX is not that scary. It’s pretty much just like HTML but right there in your JavaScript instead of a separate file.

React is all about components. You build your base App component and then you slot in all your other components into it like this:

function App() {
  return (
    <div>
      <Header />
      <Body />
      <Footer />
    </div>
  );
}

And then you just render the App component to your page.

So just start building stuff. It is 100% the best way to learn. Go through the docs and tutorials and then get building. Build components and publish them on GitHub, even if they’re not very good.

Never stop learning. And have fun out there. Peace 🍑