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Become A Product Designer

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Working As A Product Designer

  • Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment
  • Thinking Creatively
  • Getting Information
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Deal with People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • $84,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Product Designer Do

Industrial designers develop the concepts for manufactured products, such as cars, home appliances, and toys. They combine art, business, and engineering to make products that people use every day. Industrial designers consider the function, aesthetics, production costs, and the usability of products when developing new product concepts.

Duties

Industrial designers typically do the following:

  • Consult with clients to determine requirements for designs
  • Research the various ways a particular product might be used, and who will use it
  • Sketch out ideas or create renderings, which are images on paper or on a computer that provide a better visual of design ideas
  • Use computer software to develop virtual models of different designs
  • Create physical prototypes of their designs
  • Examine materials and manufacturing requirements to determine production costs
  • Work with other specialists such as mechanical engineers or manufacturers to evaluate whether their design concepts will fill needs at a reasonable cost
  • Evaluate product safety, appearance, and function to determine if a design is practical
  • Present designs and demonstrate prototypes to clients for approval

Some industrial designers focus on a particular product category. For example, some design medical equipment, or work on consumer electronics products, such as computers and smart phones. Other designers develop ideas for other products such as new bicycles, furniture, housewares, and snowboards. Self-employed designers have more flexibility in the product categories they work on. Designers who work for manufacturers help create the look and feel of a brand through their designs.

Industrial designers imagine how consumers might use a product and test different designs with consumers to see how each design looks and works. Industrial designers often work with engineers, production experts, and market research analysts to find out if their designs are feasible. They apply the input from their colleagues’ professional expertise to further develop their designs. For example, industrial designers may work with market research analysts to develop plans to market new product designs to consumers.

Computers are a major tool for industrial designers. They use two-dimensional computer-aided design (CAD) software to sketch ideas, because computers make it easy to make changes and show alternatives. Three-dimensional CAD software is increasingly being used by industrial designers as a tool to transform their two-dimensional designs into models with the help of three-dimensional printers. If they work for manufacturers, they also may use computer-aided industrial design (CAID) software to create specific machine-readable instructions that tell other machines exactly how to build the product.

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How To Become A Product Designer

A bachelor’s degree is usually required for entry-level industrial design jobs. It is also important for industrial designers to have an electronic portfolio with examples of their best design projects.

Education

A bachelor’s degree in industrial design, architecture, or engineering is usually required for entry-level industrial design jobs. Most industrial design programs include courses that industrial designers need in design: drawing, computer-aided design and drafting (CADD), and three-dimensional modeling. Most programs will also include courses in business, industrial materials and processes, and manufacturing methods that industrial designers need when developing their design.

The National Association of Schools of Art and Design accredits approximately 320 postsecondary colleges, universities, and independent institutes with programs in art and design. Many schools require successful completion of some basic art and design courses before entry into a bachelor’s degree program. Applicants also may need to submit sketches and other examples of their artistic ability.

Many programs provide students with the opportunity to build a professional portfolio of their designs by collecting examples of their designs from classroom projects, internships, or other experiences. Students can use these examples of their work to demonstrate their design skills when applying for jobs and bidding on contracts for work.

Some designers have a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) degree which helps further develop a designer’s business skills. These skills help designers understand how to fit their designs to meet the cost limitations a firm may have for the production of a given product.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Industrial designers use logic or reasoning skills to study consumers and recognize the need for new products.

Artistic ability. Industrial designers sketch their initial design ideas, which are used later to create prototypes. As such, designers must be able to express their design through illustration.

Computer skills. Industrial designers use computer-aided design software to develop their designs and create prototypes.

Creativity. Industrial designers must be innovative in their designs and the ways in which they integrate existing technologies into their new product.

Interpersonal skills. Industrial designers must develop cooperative working relationships with clients and colleagues who specialize in related disciplines.

Mechanical skills. Industrial designers must understand how products are engineered, at least for the types of products that they design.

Problem-solving skills. Industrial designers identify complex design problems such as the need, size, and cost of a product, anticipate production issues, develop alternatives, evaluate options, and implement solutions.

Advancement

Experienced designers in large firms may advance to chief designer, design department head, or other supervisory positions. Some designers become teachers in design schools or in colleges and universities. For more information, see the profile on postsecondary teachers. Many teachers continue to consult privately or operate small design studios in addition to teaching. Some experienced designers open their own design firms.

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Product Designer Career Paths

Product Designer
Design Engineer Project Manager Product Manager
Product Management Director
12 Yearsyrs
Design Engineer Consultant Product Manager
Product Development Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Design Engineer Senior Designer
Design Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Designer Project Engineer Product Manager
Product Director
11 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Designer Mechanical Engineer Product Engineer
Product Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Designer Senior Designer Creative Director
Director Of User Experience
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Senior Design Engineer
Design Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Marketing Manager Product Marketing Manager
Global Product Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Design Consultant Senior Graphic Designer
Creative Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Marketing Manager Brand Marketing Manager
Senior Brand Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Product Design Engineer Mechanical Engineer Research And Development Engineer
Research And Development Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Design Consultant Senior Graphic Designer Senior User Experience Designer
User Experience Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Product Design Engineer Engineering Manager Operations Vice President
Vice President Of Operations And Engineering
15 Yearsyrs
Lead Designer Art Director
Designation Marketing Director
5 Yearsyrs
Product Design Engineer Product Development Engineer Product Development Manager
Product Design Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Application Engineer Automation Engineer Web Developer
Web Content Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Engineer Research And Development Engineer Research And Development Manager
New Product Development Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Product Engineer Product Development Engineer Senior Product Development Engineer
Senior Manager, Product Development
10 Yearsyrs
Product Engineer Senior Product Development Engineer Senior Manager, Product Development
Senior Director, Product Development
13 Yearsyrs
Industrial Designer User Experience Designer
Product Lead
7 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Product Designer?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Mold Designer 5.9 years
Die Designer 5.5 years
Tool Designer 5.0 years
Senior Designer 4.2 years
Product Designer 4.0 years
Furniture Designer 3.6 years
Detailer/Designer 3.2 years
Designer 3.1 years
Toy Designer 2.4 years
Top Careers Before Product Designer
Designer 15.8%
Internship 6.2%
Draftsman 3.5%
Top Careers After Product Designer
Designer 12.3%
Engineer 2.9%
Owner 2.5%

Do you work as a Product Designer?

Average Yearly Salary
$84,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$53,000
Min 10%
$84,000
Median 50%
$84,000
Median 50%
$84,000
Median 50%
$84,000
Median 50%
$84,000
Median 50%
$84,000
Median 50%
$84,000
Median 50%
$132,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Microsoft
Highest Paying City
Seattle, WA
Highest Paying State
Washington
Avg Experience Level
3.7 years
How much does a Product Designer make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Product Designer in the United States is $84,266 per year or $41 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $53,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $132,000.

Real Product Designer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Product Designer Netflix, Inc. Los Gatos, CA Aug 25, 2015 $300,000
Product Designer-Enterprise Solutions Bloomberg, LP New York, NY Sep 01, 2015 $240,000
Product Designer Facebook, Inc. Menlo Park, CA Mar 09, 2015 $210,818
Product Designer Whatsapp, Inc. Menlo Park, CA Dec 19, 2016 $202,445
Product Designer Facebook, Inc. Mountain View, CA Sep 15, 2015 $192,000
Product Designer Whatsapp Inc. Mountain View, CA Oct 01, 2015 $192,000
Product Designer Facebook, Inc. Menlo Park, CA Feb 09, 2016 $187,035
Product Designer Facebook, Inc. Menlo Park, CA Sep 02, 2015 $182,400
Principal Product Designer Nerdwallet, Inc. San Francisco, CA Aug 31, 2015 $180,000
Product Designer Facebook, Inc. Menlo Park, CA Aug 27, 2016 $172,861
Product Designer Facebook, Inc. Menlo Park, CA Jul 12, 2015 $170,000
Product Designer Whatsapp, Inc. Menlo Park, CA Dec 12, 2016 $167,763
Product Designer Facebook, Inc. Menlo Park, CA Mar 28, 2016 $165,000
Associate Product Designer Salesforce.com San Francisco, CA Aug 05, 2015 $118,000
Product Designer Elation Health, Inc. San Francisco, CA Mar 10, 2016 $117,770 -
$130,000
Product Designer Bugcrowd, Inc. San Francisco, CA Oct 22, 2016 $117,770
Lead Product Designer Connect Software Corporation San Francisco, CA Oct 09, 2016 $117,603 -
$138,362
Staff Product Designer, Matrix Salesforce.com Inc. San Francisco, CA Oct 05, 2015 $117,603
Product Designer Edifecs, Inc. Bellevue, WA May 17, 2016 $117,458 -
$130,000
Product Designer Citrix Systems, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Apr 27, 2015 $117,200 -
$120,000
Product Designer Thumbtack, Inc. San Francisco, CA May 16, 2016 $116,542 -
$150,000
Product Designer Trizetto Corporation Boston, MA Jan 03, 2015 $88,691 -
$106,000
Product Designer Cornerstone Ondemand, Inc. Santa Monica, CA Dec 09, 2016 $87,975
Product Designer Majesco Software and Solutions, Inc. Clearwater, FL May 08, 2016 $86,782
Product Designer Majesco Software and Solutions, Inc. Sun Prairie, WI Nov 16, 2016 $85,350
Product Designer Majesco Software and Solutions, Inc. Clearwater, FL Dec 21, 2015 $85,080
Product Designer Daily Burn, Inc. New York, NY Dec 19, 2016 $85,000
Product Designer (UI Designer) Betterworks Systems Inc. Redwood City, CA Aug 29, 2016 $85,000 -
$110,000
Product Designer Spotify USA Inc. New York, NY May 01, 2016 $85,000 -
$145,000

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Top Skills for A Product Designer

  1. New Product Development
  2. CAD
  3. Design Concepts
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Designed, directed and developed private label brand statements and exclusive product for new product development initiatives.
  • Contracted to Ford Motor Company APTE - Allen Park, MI Engine cooling and intake components using CADDS 5.
  • Researched design concepts and designed / updated consumer-based products, working in conjunction with marketing, engineering teams and other designers.
  • Managed communications with manufacturers in Asia to expedite and revise prototypes.
  • Created presentation boards of new exhibition product using Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop.

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Top 10 Best States for Product Designers

  1. California
  2. Washington
  3. Oregon
  4. Arizona
  5. Idaho
  6. South Carolina
  7. Arkansas
  8. North Carolina
  9. Louisiana
  10. Nebraska
  • (1,413 jobs)
  • (241 jobs)
  • (132 jobs)
  • (133 jobs)
  • (27 jobs)
  • (83 jobs)
  • (33 jobs)
  • (224 jobs)
  • (30 jobs)
  • (32 jobs)

Product Designer Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 4,751 Product Designer resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Product Designer Resume

View Resume Examples

Product Designer Demographics

Gender

Male

65.3%

Female

23.2%

Unknown

11.5%
Ethnicity

White

59.1%

Asian

14.7%

Hispanic or Latino

13.7%

Black or African American

9.0%

Unknown

3.5%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

26.3%

Chinese

14.4%

Mandarin

13.9%

French

10.0%

German

7.7%

Korean

4.3%

Russian

3.3%

Cantonese

2.9%

Italian

2.9%

Japanese

2.9%

Hindi

1.9%

Portuguese

1.9%

Arabic

1.9%

Swedish

1.4%

Ukrainian

1.0%

Vietnamese

1.0%

Carrier

1.0%

Turkish

0.5%

Marathi

0.5%

Gujarati

0.5%
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Product Designer Education

Schools

Savannah College of Art and Design

7.9%

Academy of Art University

7.5%

Art Center College of Design

7.5%

Fashion Institute of Technology

6.6%

Rhode Island School of Design

6.3%

Macomb Community College

6.1%

Henry Ford College

5.1%

Pratt Institute-Main

5.1%

College for Creative Studies

4.7%

Purdue University

4.7%

University of Cincinnati

4.5%

Oakland Community College

4.5%

Parsons the New School for Design

4.5%

Carnegie Mellon University

4.2%

Rochester Institute of Technology

4.0%

Arizona State University

3.5%

University of Washington

3.5%

University of Phoenix

3.3%

School of Visual Arts

3.1%

University of Southern California

3.1%
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Majors

Graphic Design

34.1%

Drafting And Design

13.9%

Mechanical Engineering

10.9%

Business

6.4%

Fine Arts

6.2%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

3.1%

Engineering

2.6%

Computer Applications

2.6%

Design And Visual Communication

2.4%

Computer Science

1.9%

Industrial Technology

1.9%

Engineering Technology

1.7%

Architecture

1.7%

Interior Design

1.7%

Marketing

1.7%

Electrical Engineering

1.6%

Management

1.5%

Communication

1.5%

Computer Information Systems

1.4%

Photography

1.2%
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Degrees

Bachelors

44.9%

Other

18.2%

Masters

15.8%

Associate

15.3%

Certificate

4.0%

Diploma

1.0%

Doctorate

0.8%

License

0.1%
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Top Product Designer Employers

Jobs From Top Product Designer Employers

Product Designer Videos

Product Designers - A Day In The Life

Career Advice - Interior Design

How to Become a Product Designer - Heal's Discuss

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