Here’s what I think: if you are building websites, you don’t need React (in most cases).
Ever since React came to the stage, I’ve been hearing, reading, and watching how great it is. I had a few attempts to learn it, but I failed every time. It is fair to say that I don’t understand it, so I cannot even rant about its features, shortcomings, or flaws.
What I can rant about is the hype. I mean, it’s not even hype after all these years. It is a necessary evil. Of course, I am exaggerating here, but maybe not.
I feel like 9 out of 10 job ads for a frontend developer mention React.
I don’t get it. Why would I need to use React if I am supposed to work on building websites? Are employers afraid that if you don’t know React that you wouldn’t be able to make a landing page? Would knowing React help you solve any problems when creating a new layout or template? I cannot think of any part of the website that would require React.
All these questions made me realize that I don’t need frameworks for my everyday work.
Brad Frost wrote about front-of-the-frontend. Chris Coyier wrote about the great divide. I agree with both of them, but I would make the following distinction: web app developer and website developer.
The web app developer does need React or similar frameworks.
The website developer doesn’t need React or similar frameworks.
Of course, there are exceptions, but I am talking in general here.
I am in a situation where I don’t need to apply to new positions and choose my employer often, but I keep my eye on job ads frequently. I sympathize with developers who are capable of building solid websites but struggle to find a job because of the lack of React skills. I know at least one person who would be thankful if React skill wouldn’t be listed so often — a friend of mine (and my mentee) with whom I share the office these days.
I propose a simple solution: if the job is about building sites, please stop adding React as a required skill unless absolutely necessary. It might be helpful to use the website developer term, too.
Knowing React could only make you a better developer, and I am not saying you shouldn’t learn it. However, I am saying that it is not needed in most cases if your goal is to build websites.