Introducing The MDN Front-End Developer Curriculum
Written by Nikos Vaggalis   
Tuesday, 31 October 2023

MDN has another initiative to get developers up-to-date with the skills the industry looks for when looking to hire front-end web developers.

The Core skills of Coding aside, the skill set presented includes soft skills, knowledge of a typical development environment and learning how you can expand your knowledge and develop specialities.

As a matter of fact this skill set is not just desired of front end developers, but any developer out there, if you take the coding stack of html/javascript/css out and replace it with any other stack, say for backend development.

This is something we explored in Why Software Engineering Will Never Die in which I looked at a study that examines how graduates can become job ready and found that what the job market nowadays requires from candidates is:

Research, development, soft skills, requirements gathering and analysis, documentation, agile methodology, project management, teamwork and permanent communication between all members, tools, software integration, application synchronization, security, coding. It requires technically well-prepared graduates with good soft skills and a holistic experience about the paths followed today by software companies.

Yes, coding alone won't cut it anymore.

The MDN guide does not get into detail, but has got a few recommendations for the soft skills part. To begin with:

Students should get into the mindset of constant learning. The web is constantly evolving and technologies and trends are always changing, and they need to constantly update their knowledge to keep up. For that you have to:

  • Get into the habit of regularly reading technical news, blogs, and browser release notes
  • Engage in reading tasks or small research projects semi-regularly
  • Set aside specific learning time to spend on acquiring new skills
  • Be curious
  • Open to embracing failure
  • Effective searching for help/answers
  • Collaborating and working in a team
  • Doing well in a technical job interview
  • Familiarity with workflows and processes
  • Grasp of relevant contextual information

Together with the recommendations for topics related to the setup and usage of the computer systems used to implement websites/apps, this advice concludes the first part of the curriculum, The Precursor.

The other two parts of the curriculum are:

Core modules: Topics that every web developer should have a good grounding in. This includes all the information they need to design and build a basic, accessible website/app that follows modern best practices, and manage and deploy their code using a tool like GitHub.

Optional extension modules: These "extension" topics constitute useful additional skills to learn as web developers start to expand their knowledge and develop specialisms.

Of course, it is the Core that is most important and it lists the essential skills required:

  • The web standards model
  • HTML fundamentals
  • CSS fundamentals and text styling
  • CSS layout
  • JavaScript fundamentals
  • Accessibility
  • Version control
  • Basic design theory

Extensions, then goes through topics like:

  • CSS transforms and animation
  • Creating your own JavaScript objects
  • An in-depth look at common categories of Web API,
    including video and audio, graphics/animation, and storage
  • Performance
  • Security and privacy
  • Testing
  • Practical JavaScript framework usage
  • CSS tools and other tooling types

The curriculum is hosted on Github and while feature-complete and providing a holistic overview of the skills that all front end devs should posses, is invites suggestions from the community, asking it for its feedback:

  • Does our curriculum contain all the fundamental knowledge a front-end web developer needs? If not, what topics are we missing? We are interested in high-level concerns (for example, "this whole area is missing") as well as lower-level feedback (for example, specific CSS or JavaScript topic omissions).


  • Do you think the curriculum is helpful to its key target audiences, for example, students wanting to learn front-end development and teachers wishing to create courses based on it? If not, why not?

So while enjoying the lecture you can also suggest new topics or improvements for it to be refined. Perfect!


More Information

MDN front-end developer curriculum

Related Articles

Why Software Engineering Will Never Die


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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 31 October 2023 )