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Working as a Lead Product Engineer

Every product, big or small, from Microsoft Windows to the latest mobile game, starts with an idea. However, an idea needs to become a reality to change the world; otherwise, it is just a daydream. In tech, a lead product engineer is in charge of a whole team of people dedicated to making ideas into concrete products.



The lead product engineer manages every step of the production process, from developing prototypes to sourcing material to building the product. Sometimes, they have to communicate with the manufacturing team to ensure that the process is going smoothly. Of course, a lead product engineer does not have to do all this alone. They usually oversee a whole team of dedicated product engineers.



It goes without saying that lead product engineers need to be excellent engineers; otherwise, they would not be qualified to lead anybody. Often, lead product engineers have bachelor's or even master's degrees in engineering and many years of work experience before leading a product team.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a lead product engineer. For example, did you know that they make an average of $51.29 an hour? That's $106,677 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 4% and produce 12,800 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Lead Product Engineer Do

There are certain skills that many lead product engineers have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed mechanical skills, creativity and listening skills.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a lead product engineer, we found that a lot of resumes listed 5.7% of lead product engineers included solidworks, while 5.3% of resumes included r, and 4.8% of resumes included product design. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the lead product engineer job title. But what industry to start with? Most lead product engineers actually find jobs in the technology and manufacturing industries.

How To Become a Lead Product Engineer

If you're interested in becoming a lead product engineer, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 45.4% of lead product engineers have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 39.0% of lead product engineers have master's degrees. Even though most lead product engineers have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a lead product engineer. When we researched the most common majors for a lead product engineer, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor's degree degrees or master's degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on lead product engineer resumes include associate degree degrees or doctoral degree degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a lead product engineer. In fact, many lead product engineer jobs require experience in a role such as product engineer. Meanwhile, many lead product engineers also have previous career experience in roles such as project engineer or senior product engineer.

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Average Salary$106,677
Job Growth Rate4%

Lead Product Engineer Career Paths

Top Careers Before Lead Product Engineer

Top Careers After Lead Product Engineer

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Average Salary for a Lead Product Engineer

Lead Product Engineers in America make an average salary of $106,677 per year or $51 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $131,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $86,000 per year.
Average Salary
$106,677

Best Paying Cities

City
Average Salary
San Francisco, CA
Salary Range104k - 161k$130k$129,742
New York, NY
Salary Range93k - 134k$112k$112,312
Eden Prairie, MN
Salary Range91k - 124k$106k$106,275
Austin, TX
Salary Range83k - 130k$104k$104,275
East Brunswick, NJ
Salary Range87k - 124k$104k$104,263
Salem, VA
Salary Range86k - 125k$104k$103,807
$75k
$161k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Lead Product Engineer
Lead Product Engineer
Averity
Averity
09/24/2019
09/24/2019
$180,00009/24/2019
$180,000
Lead Software/Product Engineer
Lead Software/Product Engineer
Nortech North America Inc.
Nortech North America Inc.
09/23/2019
09/23/2019
$100,00009/23/2019
$100,000
Product Development Leader-Director of Engineering
Product Development Leader-Director of Engineering
Graphiterx, Inc.
Graphiterx, Inc.
08/26/2019
08/26/2019
$150,00008/26/2019
$150,000
Web Products Engineer Lead
Web Products Engineer Lead
JBTP LLC
JBTP LLC
08/23/2019
08/23/2019
$127,00008/23/2019
$127,000
Lead Product Engineer
Lead Product Engineer
Cadence Design Systems, Inc.
Cadence Design Systems, Inc.
07/31/2019
07/31/2019
$139,40107/31/2019
$139,401
See More Recent Salaries

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Lead Product Engineer Demographics

Gender

male

77.6 %

female

15.7 %

unknown

6.7 %

Ethnicity

White

72.5 %

Asian

15.7 %

Hispanic or Latino

7.0 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

35.7 %

Portuguese

7.1 %

Swedish

7.1 %
See More Demographics

Lead Product Engineer Education

Degrees

Bachelors

45.4 %

Masters

39.0 %

Associate

6.8 %

Top Colleges for Lead Product Engineers

1. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

2. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

3. Georgia Institute of Technology

Atlanta, GA • Public

In-State Tuition
$12,424
Enrollment
15,201

4. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

5. Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA • Public

In-State Tuition
$18,454
Enrollment
40,108

6. Michigan Technological University

Houghton, MI • Public

In-State Tuition
$15,646
Enrollment
5,736

7. Cornell University

Ithaca, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,188
Enrollment
15,105

8. Boston University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,948
Enrollment
17,238

9. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$59,430
Enrollment
8,216

10. University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Lincoln, NE • Public

In-State Tuition
$9,242
Enrollment
20,592
See More Education Info
Job type you want
Full Time
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Internship
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Top Skills For a Lead Product Engineer

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 5.7% of lead product engineers listed solidworks on their resume, but soft skills such as mechanical skills and creativity are important as well.

Best States For a Lead Product Engineer

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a lead product engineer. The best states for people in this position are Alaska, California, Maryland, and Utah. Lead product engineers make the most in Alaska with an average salary of $144,754. Whereas in California and Maryland, they would average $122,485 and $114,285, respectively. While lead product engineers would only make an average of $112,924 in Utah, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. California

Total Lead Product Engineer Jobs:
8,210
Highest 10% Earn:
$183,000
Location Quotient:
1.62
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Vermont

Total Lead Product Engineer Jobs:
110
Highest 10% Earn:
$150,000
Location Quotient:
1.18
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Utah

Total Lead Product Engineer Jobs:
353
Highest 10% Earn:
$161,000
Location Quotient:
0.9
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Lead Product Engineer Employers

1. Cadence Design Systems
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$117,587
Lead Product Engineers Hired: 
49+
2. General Electric
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$98,123
Lead Product Engineers Hired: 
17+
3. Wipro
4.0
Avg. Salary: 
$69,285
Lead Product Engineers Hired: 
13+
4. IBM
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$97,829
Lead Product Engineers Hired: 
8+
5. Eaton Corporation
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$92,955
Lead Product Engineers Hired: 
8+
6. Whirlpool
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$89,392
Lead Product Engineers Hired: 
7+

Lead Product Engineer Videos

Updated October 2, 2020