"React" developers don't exist

Last updated on July 11, 2024
"React" developers don't exist

There is no such thing as a React developer -- don't ever call yourself that.

This is a huge mistake many software developers make that wastes so much of their time.

Focusing on tools instead of concepts. Losing sight of the big picture.

The fact is:

React is just a JavaScript tool. JavaScript is just a computing tool. Computing is just a problem-solving tool.

When I first started coding I was obsessed with languages and their specific syntaxes and APIs.

In fact once I hit a tiny learning roadblock I would switch to a new language expecting things to be different. And then again and again.

Not realizing that every language is fundamentally the same and built on the same core concepts!

  • Input processing output storage.
  • Selection sequence iteration.
  • Data and actions: Create Read Update Delete ("everything is CRUD").
  • Divide & conquer: modules functions OOP...

There is no programming language anywhere that isn't based on these core concepts. These are what you should focus on.

These are the abstract foundations of computing -- of problem-solving in general.

That is why once I learned one language it was so much easier to learn any new one on the fly.

And the same thing for our natural languages -- tools for communicating with other humans.

I'm learning French now and I'm seeing clear core components found in English and every other language:

  • Parts of speech: nouns, verbs & tenses, etc.
  • Grammar rules & idiosyncracies
  • Pronunciation & accent
  • Cultural idioms & slangs: that you'll never know if you learned the language in a formal setting.

And the same thing for frameworks.

Some devs get so hung up on the specifics of React-Vue-Angular instead of focusing on the foundations:

  • Components & lifecycle: divide & conquer
  • State & updates: data flow & actions
  • SPA routing: navigation, etc.
  • Rendering: interpolation, conditional, etc.

Another mistake I made -- reading and re-reading C++ books so I wouldn't "forget" all those important string functions.

Why worry about the API specifics when you can easily look them up on Google?

And if it's so crucial to be at your fingertips -- like useEffect -- that's going to eventually happen when you search and use it enough times.

Because forgetting is a feature, not a bug.

It's just like how many of us were taught all sorts of useless/esoteric things in school.

Instead of essential knowledge and skills to succeed in the real world:

  • How to learn, think, and solve problems
  • Social skills: negotiation, empathy, listening, etc.
  • Financial skills: Career decision, managing cashflow, investing, etc.
  • How to find fulfillment in life by setting goals and defining personal values

So programming is thinking not typing.

The tool you use to bring your thoughts into reality is less important than developing those thoughts in your brain.

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