Should You Really Learn Vanilla JavaScript Before React?

“Learn the basics before you learn React”, they say. But if you’re a beginner who’s learning with React first, you probably start to worry. You might start asking if you’re learning everything the wrong way.

The thing is, if you’re learning React before the basics, chances are that you’re doing it right. And that’s because it all boils down to your personal learning style.

Basically, devs can learn things in two ways: bottom-up and top-down. A bottom-up learner feels more comfortable learning the basics (i.e. JavaScript, HTML, or CSS) first. They only start learning the libraries after they feel confident with the fundamentals.

On the other hand, a top-down learner prefers learning the frameworks first. The framework patterns help them learn the fundamental libraries and languages under the hood.

What’s Your Learning Style?

And now, the question is: what’s the best learning style for you? Of course, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, you’ll have to find the answer for yourself.

The best way to find out is to try both approaches, and check which method helped you learn better. Or if you’re already trying to learn things and you’re facing too many challenges, try the opposite approach.

The only caveat here is: some top-down learners might put off learning the fundamentals, even after they became proficient with the framework. I strongly recommend that you don’t put off learning the fundamentals.

Learning the basics helps you a lot when you have to find and fix bugs in your code. No matter if you learn them before or after, what counts is that you do know them.

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