Need a comprehensive React course that is modern, and with code that isn’t broken? This is the course I recommend in 2020.

Hey folks. There are alot of React courses out there, and a lot of them suck for various reasons. A problem with all tech courses is they go stale – the code that worked in April 2019 no longer works because things have moved on. The concepts they teach are no longer modern. And many course just post some text files explaining where their video was wrong, they don’t even update the video.

I want to share my experience with a short course that is definitely not like that. It’s a free course, and there is a paid version too. Both are excellent.

The course is “Learn React For Free” with Bob Ziroll.

Note: this is NOT an affiliate link and I do not earn commission. I am not associated with the company that makes the course.

Bob Ziroll is not a super famous name in the React world, like Brad Travesty. However does that really matter? Having done the course myself I can tell you a bit about what it is like to do it, the strengths and weaknesses and why I recommend you do at least the free course if  you are new to React.

The way the course works is in many ways like many other React courses – a series of teaching videos taking your from the basics to more advanced concepts. 

What makes the course operate on a completely different level to the rest is that it is designed to take advantage of how YOU learn. 

How we process and store useful information, working knowledge and experience in our brains should not be ignored when teaching, and this course (and it’s cousins on the same platform) take this to heart.

The loop they use so you learn faster

One way it does this is by going through a loop like this:

  • Introduce a concept
  • Explain it by showing the code you need to write
  • Then give the student a small exercise that builds on previous knowledge
  • The exercise often starts with a blank screen and you have to type ALL of the code
  • However because they are bite-sized exercises it isn’t too daunting.
  • You then get to watch how the instructor solved the problem
  • On to the next concept

This loop is a great way to get you to actually learn and build muscle memory around the concepts. Even months after doing the course and a React hiatus, I can still create a React app without looking at any documentation. 

I even remember the import statements. For reference I am not the sort of coder who remembers code very well, you’ll catch me on Google A LOT. Once you can work like this, your memory being an effective cache you won’t want to go back to the slow way of looking everything up.

However be warned – at first the loop may seem tedious and you are keen to get on to the next topic when you are being asked to do your homework. Just remember if you do your homework you will be able to ace the more advanced topics because of the strong foundation. 

Projects so that you stay excited

In addition to this loop there is another trick up their sleeve to get the skills lodged deep into your brain. You work on a number of projects that are ideally scoped. Not to trivial or boring but not so hard you will just be stuck in details. They are the kind of projects that would make decent portfolio projects, and they are fun to work on. Here is one example of what you will build early on:

Meme  Generator Project

Meme Generator Project

By working towards these goals it adds some real fun and anticipation into the lessons, as you wonder how you will achieve what looks like a sizable goal as you progress the course. And indeed it will be you that does it – you will write every line of that app.

Live editing of code – I’d hate to do a course without it now

The best I have saved for last. The really good thing this course has that is unique is that you can pause the video anywhere in any video, and whatever code is being shown at the time, you can go edit it and run it!

Let’s unpack that – you can:

  • Be watching the course, the instructor Bob is typing away and runs something
  • You think “hmm I really want to understand this, lets try that code out”
  • You click PAUSE
  • You now have a text editor and you can change the code
  • You make a change
  • You click run
  • It works!

This “play” time is massively valuable for learning fast. You don’t need to spend an hour setting up what you just watched on your machine and getting it to run. You just go in and play. It’s hard to explain well without you feeling this, so I recommend you give it a try now. 

It will take less than 59 seconds. No exaggeration!

  • Go now to THIS lecture
  • Don’t click the PLAY button!
  • Instead click the RUN button
  • And play with the todo app on the right.
  • Now change the code. For example put a ! point after the {props.item.text}
  • Click Run again
  • Now the Todo items all have a ! after them.
  • And you have simply live edited code from a lecture.

See! At any point you can go have a play with the code on the screen. Imagine what that could do to accelerate your learning and understanding.

As for those courses where the code doesn’t work anymore, this isn’t a problem here. With this system they have to keep the code up to date and working. No old stale videos with stuff that doesn’t build anymore. No “Errata” notes saying well you watch the video, it’s all broken, this is what you do now. With this system the course is always fresh and the code is building.

It’s up to date with React in the 20’s

With this course you learn enough to be able to professionally create React Apps. Everything you need to know. There isn’t stuff in there that is superflous, that you don’t need to know.

It covers Class based, Functional and Hooks, with the paid course delving into Redux too. And you will build real life apps using those concepts. At the end you will be good enough to teach other people where you work, or your friends these concepts. That’s how bedded in they will be.

Anything bad about the course?

Some of you just want to learn the modern stuff i.e. functional components, hooks, and would rather skip class based components etc. This course isn’t really designed to dip in and out of. Lessons build on each other in the prescribed order. Now personally I would say just learn it all. Why skip class based components anyway? You will probably need to maintain some classes-based code at some point. 

However if you are doggedly determined to only learn modern React, you might want to check out other courses on the Scrimba site and cherry pick the courses  that you think you need.

Another thing is there are sometimes quirks on the platform so code might not run at certain places. This is rare, and the team are quite responsive to reporting such bugs, but this can happen.

Finally when I did the course back in (probably… Nov 2019??) they had some site reliability problems, the course was sometimes unavailable for a few hours. This sounds pretty bad, however I assume they have fixed these problems now, and despite the outages I still stuck with this course because it’s THAT GOOD, and I know they were working hard to diagnose the problems with the platform.


This course is excellent. Do it. That’s all I can say. 

Try the free version Learn React For Free, and if you get through all of that and are eager to pay for more, try the paid version – The React Bootcamp.

Even if you are experienced in React, you might not learn anything new, but the way you learn this will make you seem like a coding machine when you next pair and you can quickly type everything out without referring to the docs.

And if you are new to React (I still put myself in this camp), this course is wonderful and will get you to highly productive, modern React developing in the smallest amount of time this is achievable. It does take time and work, but this is the shortest way to get to proficiency in React.

This is the course that doesn’t go stale, and where the code doesn’t stop building.

Good luck!

Posted by Martin Capodici


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