Review: React JS training course – Codecademy

I’m working on developing my React skills. As part of this process, I worked my way through the Codecademy.com courses Learn ReactJS Part I and Part II. This review is about these courses. It is from the perspective of someone who has completed a limited amount of other ReactJS training.

What is React?

React (or more accurately ReactJS) is a very popular Javascript library used for developing user interfaces. It’s used for creating dynamic high-performance applications, particularly for mobile devices (through React Native) and the web. Originally developed by Facebook, ReactJS was made open-source in 2013. It is maintained by Facebook along with a community of developers.

What does the Codecademy course cover?

The aim of the course is to give the student a thorough grounding in the subject.  Part I introduces the foundations of React, JSX, Components, props, state, and rendering. Each lesson has exercises to reinforce the learning point. Part II goes into more depth – covering stateful/stateless Components, and PropTypes. It also includes the Mounting, Updating and Unmounting lifecycle methods.

Is it any good?

I’m a big fan of Codecademy courses. They are well thought out and clearly explain concepts. For the odd occasions where you’re just not getting a point, you can choose to see the completed worked example which clears things up.

Codecademy courses can be a bit slow because they break things down to a low level and reinforce concepts through repetition. This can be a bit frustrating but it does help to fix the knowledge in your brain.

Where I do find Codecademy courses a bit frustrating, however, is how they take you to a certain point but don’t seem to complete the job. Ideally, any beginner course should take you to a point where you have all the knowledge needed to attempt at least the simplest of implementations.

My experience is that with Codecademy, the last step – how to set up the working environment – is often missing, or tagged on as an afterthought. That said, however, it is usually not too difficult to find that information elsewhere.

The ReactJS courses definitely have this issue – you’ll need to find some additional resources to complete your learning from the practical setting up perspective (Arfat Salman has put together an excellent guide to this on Codeburst.io).

Where I feel the Codecademy courses really excel is in their coverage of the fundamentals, particularly when covering State and Props. Other courses I’ve used struggled with clearly explaining them, leaving me more confused than when I started! Codecademy, with its approach of breaking everything down into very small steps, covers this area very well.

How much does it cost?

Codecademy are very generous with their course material. All the essential material is free – though they offer extra materials, testing sessions and projects for a fee of $19.99 per month (Sep 2018). They also offer supported training as part of their intensive Build Front-End Web Apps course. This includes projects and personalised code reviews, for a fee of $199.

Should I take these courses?

Everybody has different learning patterns. For some, video lessons work best, for others just diving into the documentation is the way to go. The Codecademy method uses short lessons with immediate tests of your understanding. It’s good for people who find learning from a video or book challenging. It also has the advantage that for every piece of knowledge gained, the exercises give you immediate feedback.

I would recommend these courses if you’re looking to get a decent grounding in ReactJS. They won’t take you all the way, but they’ll help to get you a long way down the road. The best thing about them is that they are of a good quality and free. Give them a try, and if it’s not for you move on.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top