Product Development engineers, often categorized as mechanical engineers, take a new product from conceptualization to production, including the multiple steps in between. The product may be a variation of a current brand or a creative new idea.
Product Development engineers most commonly work in industry, specifically manufacturing and production. They’re required to generate new ideas, design innovative products and engineer methods for manufacturing the products.
A bachelor’s degree is most often required for this profession. For management and supervisory positions, a higher-level degree may be required. A master’s or doctorate degree may be used to teach or train other engineers. In this field, a higher-level degree usually translates to a significant increase in salary and greater opportunities for advancement.
Product develop engineering responsibilities vary based on the employer. For some engineers, this may simply mean being a member of a design team and creating prototypes. Other companies may require that the product development engineer oversee designers and extend to development of production methods as well as trouble shoot production issues.
Product Development engineers typically perform the following duties:
This type of engineering requires problem-solving skills, creativity, strong written and verbal communications skills and the ability to analyze under pressure.
As technology within the manufacturing industry continues to become more sophisticated, the need for properly trained high-tech engineers also increases. In this particular field, a higher level degree can make a $10,000-$12,000 a year difference per degree step.
In general, mechanical engineers make a median salary of about $70,000 annually according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Specialty areas, such as product development, may increase the salary rate in certain parts of the country. Level of responsibility, which tends to vary in this particular type of engineering, may also raise the annual salary.