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>in any IT job, how common is it for you to spend an entire day or days researching new tech for a new product or project
hahahahahaha. Oh lad. That's a key part of the job!
Personally I would go React if you're thinking of future job prospects, but to tell the truth, the market for JS frameworks has exploded in the last few years as front-end development has become a respectable engineering art; they are two a penny now and the source of much geek arguments.
A key concept in programming is that you aren't going to support a lot of the code you write - some other chump will have to work with it in a couple of years time as you move onto something else. You'll appreciate this when you get to do it that way round, it is RARE in IT to be at the start of the project and choosing all the tools/frameworks for a project. Don't go for the latest, greatest and shiny tool; all the other geeks will like you more.