Is React Native replacing native developer jobs?
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React Native popularity growth could help reduce the skills shortage

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Published 04/10/2018

React Native popularity growth could help reduce the skills shortage

React Native is seeing increasing traction, and major business are starting to make use of the framework, from Amazon and Uber to CNN, Pinterest, Skype and Tesla – and, of course, Facebook and Instagram.

The React Native framework’s primary virtue is that it allows engineers to reuse code across web, iOS and Android – meaning that an app only needs to be built once, rather than three times over. Because React Native apps aren’t simulations or ‘hybrid apps’ it unlocks some major efficiencies for development teams.

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“React Native... allows developers to build mobile applications more quickly and more easily than traditional native development,” explains Nader Dabit, Founder of React Native Training and author of React Native in Action. 

As Ignacio de Marco, CEO of BairesDev notes in CBR, “React Native allows developers to create applications with diverse features and build on existing code without the complexities of starting from the ground up.”

Dileep Gupta notes, React Native can be a great fit for apps across the e-commerce, social media and messaging sectors – or, simply, if you want to integrate Facebook ads into your app.

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Benefits React Native brings to businesses

The immediate benefit is that React Native opens up the talent pool and by integrating React Native JavaScript developers into their development function. This can reduce businesses’ reliance on native developers where there is currently a chronic skills shortage. 

“The [biggest] benefit typically... is faster iteration,” says Nader. “[Businesses are] much more easily able to find talent. Native developers are pretty high in demand... but because Reactive Native is written in JavaScript, [the companies we talk to] have a much easier time finding competent developers.”

React Native challenges
“There are definitely weaknesses,” says Nader. “Because React Native is just an abstraction, on-top of the existing native platform, and native development is hard as it is, you’re going to be limited to that abstraction. What that basically means is if someone hasn’t already built a widget or a plug-in for accessing certain native functionality that you need, you end up having to write it yourself or you end up maybe finding a third-party library that someone has written, that’s outdated, that you end up having to maintain yourself.”

A second major challenge is adding React Native to existing native apps.”It’s really tough to add React Native to existing native applications,” says Nader. “The sweet spot is typically where you’re building a brand new application from the ground up, starting with React Native.”

The greater adoption of React Native has meant that “It’s definitely gone from being an experimental technology to being a core technology in a lot of companies’ infrastructure,” notes Nader.

In our next piece on React Native, we’ll address what lies ahead for the framework and how the market is changing.

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