LearnHow Much JavaScript Do You Need to Know Before Learning React?

Jason Gilmore

Jason Gilmore
writes on July 27, 2022

Having a solid grasp of web development frameworks and libraries is crucial to understanding programming and script languages.

Whether you want to specialize in front-end or full-stack development, Javascript is a relevant language to develop fully functional websites and web applications from scratch.

React, a flexible open-source JavaScript library, simplifies the development of the user interfaces (UI) of these websites. It is used for front-end development to build interactive elements on websites and applications.

Since React is a Javascript-based library, how much Javascript should you know before learning React? 

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • Why you need to learn Javascript before React
  • How much Javascript to learn
  • The concepts and techniques you need to know
  • Why React is important
  • How long it takes to learn
  • And whether you need to master Javascript before learning React.

TL;DR – Learn JavaScript Before React

Before we go into why you need to learn Javascript before React, let’s briefly introduce the programming language called Javascript. 

JavaScript is the most popular programming language and used by over 98% of websites in the world. It is a scripting language that is used to develop websites and applications and control dynamic web content. 

This programming language, JavaScript, is versatile and works for both front-end and back-end functions. It is also used for different websites and applications, like software, hardware controls, and servers. 

React, on the other hand, is a JavaScript library used in front-end development. As a developer who wants to learn how to build an interactive client-side for websites and applications using Javascript, you need to learn React. 

Why Should We Learn JavaScript Before React?

Web frameworks and libraries make it easy for developers to efficiently build websites and apps, and React is one of the most popular JavaScript libraries. It allows you to build JS-based websites and applications with ease and efficiency.

But before you go right into learning React, you need some knowledge of JavaScript. That’s because you need to understand a web language to know how its tools work. That way, you’ll be able to develop a cohesive website or app.

Also, having some knowledge of JavaScript before diving into React makes it easier to learn and master. 

Why React is Important

As a front-end web developer, you will build several user interfaces for different projects. UI refers to on-screen menus, search bars, buttons, and anything else people interact with to use an application or website. 

React makes it easy to create interactive and efficient user interfaces for JavaScript-based websites and applications. 

Every successful developer uses the right tools to make development projects easier and more efficient. With React JS, you’ll build more efficient user interfaces.  

What to Learn Before Covering React

There are specific concepts you need to understand before going into React. Here are the topics you should learn to better understand React:

  1. Different methods available on JavaScript: It is recommended you learn default methods for data types like strings and arrays such as map, filter, reduce, sort, include, split, join, reverse, etc. 
  2. Promises, callbacks, and asynchronous JavaScript: You have to make network calls asynchronously, and for that, the knowledge of asynchronous JS and how to handle AJAX requests becomes necessary.
  3. Async Await: Async-await provides a more straightforward way to interact with promises. They make asynchronous code look synchronous, and yet, the work is still asynchronous.
  4. Modules, import, export: When working with React, you isolate your components on separate files. You export some elements from a file and import them to another.
  5. Inheritance: This allows you to create a class that inherits all the functionality of its parent class, and add extra features.
  6. Typecasting: Typecasting, also known as coercion, is the conversion of a data type to another data type.
  7. Constructor function: This allows you to do the necessary custom initialization on an instantiated object.
  8. Undefined and Null: Undefined is a variable declared without any value assigned, while null is an assignment value. 
  9. Array functions: This enables you to perform multiple calculations on several items in an array. 
  10. Block-level scoping: The block scope restricts the outside of a specific block from accessing the variable declared inside the block. 
  11. The “this” keyword and its binding rules: “This” keyword is an object executing the current piece of code or function.
  12. Arrow functions: This introduces concise body syntax to let you create functions in a cleaner way than the regular functions. 
  13. Exception handling: With this feature, you can handle coding errors and maintain a regular JavaScript flow. 
  14. String manipulation: This involves the different processes of handling, analyzing, and modifying strings. 
  15. Event bubbling and capturing: Event bubbling is when you propagate an event from a child element to ancestor elements in the DOM while event capturing is the propagation of an event from ancestor elements to a child element.

Why is React Hard to Learn?

If you’re knowledgeable in JavaScript, React should not be too difficult to get a hang of. One of the reasons some find React a bit difficult to learn is being stuck on tutorials. Following tutorials without actually writing the code and practicing with personal projects prevents one from mastering React. 

Another reason is learning everything at once. This is a common mistake made by upcoming web developers/programmers. Most learning resources on the internet tend to cram in many topics and when you try to learn all at once, it can be difficult to fully grasp the concepts.

So, learn one thing at a time. Learn at your own pace and practice what you learn by writing code for real-life projects.

How Much Time Does it Take to Learn React?

After gaining a solid grasp of the necessary topics mentioned above, you should be able to learn the basics of React within one to two months. If you keep studying and working with this JS library, you should be able to create interactive front-end for websites and apps in four to six months. 

However, the time it’ll take you to learn React will be determined by your availability, dedication, and learning material. 

So, someone who studies full-time will learn it faster than someone who studies part-time. The learning resources you use — Techdegree, video courses, and text-based courses — will determine how fast and efficient you’ll learn.

At Treehouse, we have a list of self-paced curriculums that include courses and workshops to help you start and master React JS. Check out these tracks to Learn React and Javascript

Do I Need to Master JavaScript Before React?

You do not need to master “all” JavaScript before moving to React. But, you need to have a solid grasp of the language. If you aim to become a web developer, you should understand Javascript, especially since it’s the most popular programming language in this century. 

If you want to learn React JS and become a proficient front-end developer, it is essential to start with JavaScript. It doesn’t have to be all of JavaScript since it’s used for both front-end and back-end development functions. 

We recommend focusing on the client-side development skills and some other JS-relevant techniques such as:

  • Fetch API and errors in JavaScript 
  • Optional chaining in JavaScript 
  • Async/Await in JavaScript 
  • Unique value – set () in JavaScript 
  • Reduce () in JavaScript 
  • Dynamic object keys in JavaScript
  • Event delegation
  • Rest and spread operators in JavaScript 
  • Map () in JavaScript 
  • Destructuring arrays and objects in JavaScript 
  • Filter () and find () in JavaScript 
  • Callback functions in JavaScript 
  • Promises in JavaScript 

Get Started With Treehouse

React is a JavaScript-based Library for seamlessly building interactive front-end for websites and apps. Since React is based on Javascript, we recommend that you first learn JavaScript to a certain level.

Ready to get started with Javascript? Try the Treehouse Full-Stack Javascript Techdegree for free.

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