How to Become a React Developer in 3 Steps

Written by Coursera • Updated on

The following article examines the career path of a React developer in three steps. Read on to learn more about essential skills, relevant duties, and qualifications.

[Featured Image] A react developer sketches ideas for the user interface of a web application.

React is a popular library among web developers thanks to its open-source, elementary design. If you’re unfamiliar with its use cases, consider the look and feel of the applications you use daily. Industry leaders like Netflix, Instagram, and Uber Eats used React to create their iconic user interfaces (UIs). The following article examines the career of a React developer and how you can become one in just three steps. 

What is a React developer?

A React developer designs and creates JavaScript-based applications for web or mobile environments. They typically specialize in front-end development. React is an open-source JavaScript library. It is sometimes referred to as React.js or ReactJS. In programming, libraries serve as toolkits for developers. Their contents may include configuration data, prewritten code, and message templates. 

Read more: Java vs. JavaScript: What's the Difference?

What does a React developer do?

React developers are heavily involved in all stages of interface development. The list below outlines a few core responsibilities for React developers.

  • Develop front-end features. React developers may be responsible for UI elements such as icons, images, and gesture-driven features. Examples of gesture-driven features include swiping, long-pressing, and drag-and-drop.

  • Write code. A React developer translates wireframes (also known as screen blueprints) into code. They also work with and write CSS selectors and HTML tags.

  • Optimize application functionality. In addition to designing and creating new features, React developers are responsible for cross-platform functionality. They ensure that different browsers and devices can efficiently run the application.

  • Software testing. Being involved with all stages of interface development requires React developers to test the applications they work on.

How to become a React developer

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts an above-average 22 percent growth rate for software developer occupations between 2020 and 2030 [1]. If you’re interested in front-end development and web design, a React developer position may be a great fit for you. You can learn more about pursuing this career path in the following walkthrough. 

1. Choose your focus.

The React library is a front-end development toolkit. Developers use it to handle the view layer of an application, which only deals with the elements of a page that are visible to users. However, the React library is JavaScript based, and JavaScript is a full-stack technology. Full-stack technologies can be used to develop both the front-end and back-end of an application. 

Although React works solely with the view layer of an application, it can be used in conjunction with back-end frameworks for server-side development. For this reason, aspiring React developers can choose to focus on front-end development or acquire full-stack development expertise. 

Front-end web development

Most React developers focus on front-end development. Front-end development includes content structurization, visual style, and interactive user experiences (UX). Earning a Professional Certificate in front-end development is an excellent way to gain the skills you need to prepare yourself for an entry-level role.


professional certificate

Meta Front-End Developer

Launch your career as a front-end developer. Build job-ready skills for an in-demand career and earn a credential from Meta. No degree or prior experience required to get started.


(5,546 ratings)

93,241 already enrolled


Average time: 7 month(s)

Learn at your own pace

Skills you'll build:

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), HTML, UI/UX design, React, JavaScript, Web Development Tools, User Interface, Front-End Web Development, HTML and CSS, Responsive Web Design, Test-Driven Development, Object-Oriented Programming (OOP), Linux, Web Development, Bash (Unix Shell), Github, Version Control, Debugging, React (Web Framework), Web Application, Application development, Unit Testing, Web Design, User Experience (UX), Accessibility, Pseudocode, Algorithms, Communication, Data Structure, Computer Science

Full-stack web development

In addition to developing the UI, full-stack developers work with server-side frameworks and languages like Node.js, Django, and Python. If you’re interested in learning more about full-stack development with React, consider obtaining a relevant Professional Certificate such as the University of Hong Kong’s Full Stack Web Development with React Specialization

2. Gain the essential skills.

Although jobs in the software development field are growing at an above-average rate, a competitive skill set is crucial for React.js candidates [2]. You can use the list below to determine which essential skills to focus on.

  • Programming, stylesheet, and markup languages. React is a JavaScript library. Knowledge of the programming language and its applications is crucial. Other areas of focus for React developers to study include HTML and CSS. Someone new to the web development field may consider an introductory course like Web Design for Everybody: Basics of Web Development and Coding Specialization from the University of Michigan.

  • React developer tools. With proficiency in React developer tools, you can manage your application throughout development. For example, Redux is an open-source state management library. React developers frequently use Redux for application state management and centralization. 

Relevant degrees

Many software developers begin their careers with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, a Master of Computer Science, or a degree in a related field. Some universities may offer degrees that focus on UX and UI. These areas of study can be particularly beneficial for aspiring React developers. Higher education can be advantageous, but employers do not always require it. 

3. Enhance your resume.

Entering or transitioning into a new role can be intimidating when you don’t yet have on-the-job experience. In place of experience, software developers can build portfolios of their work. These portfolios provide an opportunity to showcase specific skills and expertise. Open source tools like React enable developers of all backgrounds to create and manage projects independently. If you’re unsure where to begin, consider using a Guided Project to help you get started. For example, you can build your own React website with the project-based course below:


guided project

Build Your First React Website (Part II)

This 1.5 hours guided project is part 2 of the project "Build Your First React Website." In this project, we focus on persistent states for class components ...


(55 ratings)

5,111 already enrolled


Average time: 1 month(s)

Learn at your own pace

Skills you'll build:

Web Development, React, Front-end Development, React (Javascript Library), JavaScript

Professional Certificates

Another way to highlight your skill set without prior experience is to earn a relevant Professional Certificate. As mentioned above, React developers work primarily with user interfaces and experiences. A specialization in UI or UX can help demonstrate your abilities. Google offers a Professional Certification in UX design that future React developers can use to build three different end-to-end applications.


professional certificate

Google UX Design

This is your path to a career in UX design. In this program, you’ll learn in-demand skills that will have you job-ready in less than 6 months. No degree or experience required.


(57,137 ratings)

713,799 already enrolled


Average time: 6 month(s)

Learn at your own pace

Skills you'll build:

User Experience (UX), UX Research, Wireframe, Prototype, User Experience Design (UXD), Usability Testing, mockup, Figma, Adobe XD, UX design jobs

Start today with Coursera

Ready to advance your career as a React developer? Learn programming fundamentals and skills for developing mobile apps from the experts at Meta with the Meta React Native Specialization. Consider also the Full-Stack Web Development with React Specialization from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.



Meta React Native

Become a cross-platform mobile app developer. Learn in-demand skills for developing reliable, scalable and user-friendly mobile apps for multiple operating systems, such as iOS and Android.


(396 ratings)

1,712 already enrolled


Average time: 8 month(s)

Learn at your own pace

Skills you'll build:

Web Development, React (Web Framework), HTML and CSS, Mobile Development, JavaScript, Test-Driven Development, Front-End Web Development, Object-Oriented Programming (OOP), Linux, Bash (Unix Shell), Github, Version Control, Web Application, Application development, React (Javascript Library), React, Data Management, REST APIs, Web Design, User Experience (UX), Accessibility, UX and UI, Figma, SQL

Related articles

Article sources

1. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Occupational Outlook Handbook: Software Developers, Quality Assurance Analysts, and Testers,” Accessed May 19, 2022. 

2. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Occupational Outlook Handbook: Software Developers, Quality Assurance Analysts, and Testers: Job Outlook,” Accessed May 19, 2022. 

Written by Coursera • Updated on

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