Neither of these have ever worked as incentives for me to learn React:

  • Because oOoOoOo new shinyyy (~2015) 🙅🏻‍♀️
  • Because the framework is built by Facebook 😣
  • Because everyone else already has 🤷🏻‍♀️
  • Because web apps everywhere uses it 🤨
  • Because it makes me more hireable (~2019) 🤬

Maybe other developers, but not me. Especially when I find it hard as hell; none of these will keep my chin up on the days when it feels like an effing framework is punching me in the face. I want to actively work on my motivation, by clearly defining for myself what my incentives are for learning React. Not why other people want it on their CV or implemented in their web app — but what I will use as inspiration when I need it — plodding alone up a steep learning curve.

Understand my own background better

When I worked on a logistics system, I was a nimble UI developer in the Java apps. There were .jsp files, or sometimes template engines like Velocity or Freemarker. I could track down code that would look more or less like the HTML and CSS I knew, and run with it. Teams around me started building new frontends in React, but for me personally — working on the UI was easier in the older apps. This was my experience with the advance of React at work then — but there’s stuff I could be more mindful of around this.

My tasks were skewed away from building specific user experiences. Sure, I responsified the entire system without breaking a sweat, built a design system, and established a badass horizontal team, but all that was focused on the “front of the frontend”. I have far less struggled with reinventing wheels (or doing without them completely) in the absence of modern frontend frameworks. It will strengthen my motivation now to understand that React solves problems I honestly didn’t deal with in applications before.

Think about the users

Another important note to self: just because I was a productive UI developer rummaging around in the older frontends at my previous job, doesn’t mean that our users benefited. We needed to have buttons to “update page”, and simple forms split over separate pages to send data back and forth. Regardless of the HTML and CSS in the browser, there was a whole lot of other code involved in defining narrow boundaries of the user experience.

Motivation for me to learn React now in 2020

  • I want to be able to build better user experiences 🥰
  • Single-page applications blast open those possibilities 🚀
  • Studying React is a practical gateway for me to learn more JavaScript 💛 (yeah no maybe the correct approach would be to learn JS properly first, but in parallel is also fine)
  • It will be fun! 🥳 Even though it’s not always been a blast for me in the past, there’s every reason to believe I will enjoy learning now. Most of the time. As one does.