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Hiring React devs: a few pointers

By Michał Tyszkiewicz

React is by far the most widely used frontend framework and it has only increased its lead over the competition in the last few years. According to the StackOverflow survey over 42% of devs use it in their projects. For good reason as React is in high demand and you can easily land a job if you know your way around it. Finding React devs isn't a problem, a simple search on LinkedIn will yield a ton of contacts, the real issue though is getting the right developers for you. Even just a couple simple questions and checks can help you avoid problems and find the right person or team for the job.

Ask about hard skills

The first thing to get a hang of is what to look for in terms of skills. After all, while React is widely adopted and it is fairly easy to find devs familiar with it, you still want to make sure you get someone who knows its ins and outs and will deliver what you want. React's popularity can be a bit of hindrance here, as while looking for the right people you can bump into both experts and people who are just getting a hang of it, as well as everyone in between. While you might not need top of the line experts for your project it's still good to ask some basic questions about skills to avoid potential issues in the future and get a better idea of who you're dealing with.

  • experience in using React: while it is the most widely used framework you should look for someone who actively and regularly uses React in their work and not just is somewhat familiar with it.
  • mastery of JavaScript: React is a JavaScript framework so good knowledge of the language is essential to handle things like performance issues, state management, memory leaks etc.
  • familiarity with React libraries: a lot of third party libraries, while not essential, do help tremendously with the speed and efficiency of development. A dev who knows his way around those will be significantly better off than someone who sticks with vanilla React.
  • proficiency in JSX: a tool to handle HTML or XML in React and make it work with JavaScript. A good sign of someone who knows his way around React and has likely handled a number of projects focused on it.
  • knowledge of Node.js: the most widely used solution for using JavaScript on the backend. If you want someone who will also handle the client side of your project your best bet is asking about Node.
  • comprehension of TypeScript: a superset of JavaScript focused on static typing, which helps create easily understandable code, is great for teams and perfect for adapting things into an existing project.

Plan out your project

An even more important question is what does your project really need. The size, scope and stage of it will be key to determine the actual work that needs to be done and who is needed to handle it. You certainly don't want to overdo it and hire a whole team just to do some touch ups on an almost finished project, but trying to scrape by, through laying all the work on one poor freelancer is never the way to go either. A lot of the potential problems can be avoided by simply asking yourself a few key questions and coming up with a bit of a roadmap for your project.

  • What stage is your project in? Is it an entirely new business idea that needs to be worked on from scratch? Do you already have a React based project that needs finishing up or improving? Maybe you just need someone to help your team already working on the project?
  • How big is the project? Do you need just one dev to handle a couple things here and there or do you need a team to get the job done?
  • Is the project short term or long term? Is it a one-off or will it need maintenance, updates or fixes in the future?

Look for particular traits

Answering some of these questions will get you started on figuring out a plan for the project and what exactly it requires. For a completely new project a good idea is to go for a MVP (minimum viable product) first, which is a proof of concept for the idea and lets you know if it is actually feasible. It also functions as a good test for how the hired team works. For an existing project you might want to know what and how exactly it will be improved in terms of performance, maintenance or if it can handle additional features. React does well with integrating new stuff into an existing project due to its component based structure so an expert can probably help a lot there. Additionally figuring out the extent of the project will help you understand what experience level you are looking for:

  • a junior React dev usually has some experience with the framework and will probably have a good baseline understanding of front-end development. If your project is small and you can outline exactly what needs to be done a junior dev can often handle that just fine.
  • a mid level React dev usually has a lot of experience with React and some additional experience in software development. They can come up with optimal solutions to your issues, handle improving performance and solve bugs. If you have an existing project that needs some fixes they will probably know how to handle them.
  • a senior React dev usually has mastered React and additionally has tons of experience in frontend software development and expert knowledge of JavaScript. They can offer the best solutions for any encountered problems, offer key advice, make sure the code is easily understandable for others to work on and make sure the project is easily maintainable and scalable. If you’re looking for the complete package either for a bigger or more complex project or to fill a longtime position that can handle the project down the road or teach your employees how to do it, this is who you’ll probably want.

Finding the right team for you

Obviously that’s not all and you still need to consider a few other things like soft skills, especially if you're thinking about a long term partnership. Finding the right React developers takes time, effort and a bit of luck since even following the above mentioned steps doesn't guarantee you'll always find a perfect fit. That said, even a few simple tips like these can help avoid some common mistakes which stem from not doing enough research. It's always worth it to take your time and figure things out before you actually commit. It's good to keep in mind that only hiring the right React team can really transform your great business idea into a reality.


Michał Tyszkiewicz

Content Ninja

When his head is not between the hoops, he's busy creating content & planning the next marketing automation.

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