Product development engineers are responsible for managing design, prototyping, and testing a product's development. These engineers assess the mechanical design properties of the product and determine if it has met the desired standards and functionality.
Product development engineers must conceptualize ideas, design those ideas in a 3-D modeling program, and specify accurate design properties. They must also be able to plan the steps of going from conceptualization to final product. Before the final product, product development engineers must determine the materials needed to create the product, potential designs, potential buyers for the product, and how the product can be marketed. During the production process, these engineers must document and write reports on the current status of the product.
Product development engineers often work in teams, which often includes product marketing professionals, to develop a functional, marketable product; these engineers need to be able to lead a team and have great communication skills. Some companies also require their engineers to travel.
Many employers require that product development engineers have a bachelor's degree or higher in mechanical, industrial design, material science, or manufacturing engineering. They must also be highly experienced in 3-D modeling software such as AutoCAD or SolidWorks.
Product Development Engineer Tasks
- Produce detailed designs and/or CAD drawings, acting as technical expert on products and processes.
- Analyze and improve existing processes and products, including updating documentation.
- Test products and processes and evaluate results to identify problems and estimate cost of resolutions.
- Design, develop, and test processes for producing prototypes and long-term production of products.
- Define quality control criteria and safety guidelines.