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Become A Product Development Engineer

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Working As A Product Development Engineer

  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Getting Information
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Deal with People

  • $87,002

    Average Salary

What Does A Product Development Engineer Do

Industrial engineers find ways to eliminate wastefulness in production processes. They devise efficient systems that integrate workers, machines, materials, information, and energy to make a product or provide a service.

Duties

Industrial engineers typically do the following:

  • Review production schedules, engineering specifications, process flows, and other information to understand methods that are applied and activities that take place in manufacturing and services
  • Figure out how to manufacture parts or products, or deliver services, with maximum efficiency
  • Develop management control systems to make financial planning and cost analysis more efficient
  • Enact quality control procedures to resolve production problems or minimize costs
  • Design control systems to coordinate activities and production planning in order to ensure that products meet quality standards
  • Confer with clients about product specifications, vendors about purchases, management personnel about manufacturing capabilities, and staff about the status of projects

Industrial engineers apply their skills to many different situations, from manufacturing to healthcare systems to business administration. For example, they design systems for

  • moving heavy parts within manufacturing plants
  • delivering goods from a company to customers, including finding the most profitable places to locate manufacturing or processing plants
  • evaluating job performance
  • paying workers

Industrial engineers focus on how to get the work done most efficiently, balancing many factors, such as time, number of workers needed, available technology, actions workers need to take, achieving the end product with no errors, workers’ safety, environmental concerns, and cost.

To find ways to reduce waste and improve performance, industrial engineers study product requirements carefully. Then they use mathematical methods and models to design manufacturing and information systems to meet those requirements most efficiently.

Their versatility allows industrial engineers to engage in activities that are useful to a variety of businesses, governments, and nonprofits. For example, industrial engineers engage in supply chain management to help businesses minimize inventory costs, conduct quality assurance activities to help businesses keep their customer bases satisfied, and work in the growing field of project management as industries across the economy seek to control costs and maximize efficiencies.

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How To Become A Product Development Engineer

Industrial engineers must have a bachelor’s degree. Employers also value experience, so cooperative education engineering programs at universities are also valuable.

Education

Industrial engineers need a bachelor’s degree, typically in industrial engineering. However, many industrial engineers have degrees in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, manufacturing engineering, industrial engineering technology, or general engineering. Students interested in studying industrial engineering should take high school courses in mathematics, such as algebra, trigonometry, and calculus; computer science; and sciences such as chemistry and physics.

Bachelor’s degree programs include lectures in classrooms and practice in laboratories. Courses include statistics, production systems planning, and manufacturing systems design, among others. Many colleges and universities offer cooperative education programs in which students gain practical experience while completing their education.

A few colleges and universities offer 5-year degree programs in industrial engineering that lead to a bachelor’s and master’s degree upon completion, and several more offer similar programs in mechanical engineering. A graduate degree allows an engineer to work as a professor at a college or university or to engage in research and development. Some 5-year or even 6-year cooperative education plans combine classroom study with practical work, permitting students to gain experience and to finance part of their education.

Programs in industrial engineering are accredited by ABET.

Important Qualities

Creativity. Industrial engineers use creativity and ingenuity to design new production processes in many kinds of settings in order to reduce the use of material resources, time, or labor while accomplishing the same goal.

Critical-thinking skills. Industrial engineers create new systems to solve problems related to waste and inefficiency. Solving these problems requires logic and reasoning to identify strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to the problems.

Listening skills. These engineers often operate in teams, but they also must solicit feedback from customers, vendors, and production staff. They must listen to customers and clients in order to fully grasp ideas and problems the first time.

Math skills. Industrial engineers use the principles of calculus, trigonometry, and other advanced topics in mathematics for analysis, design, and troubleshooting in their work.

Problem-solving skills. In designing facilities for manufacturing and processes for providing services, these engineers deal with several issues at once, from workers’ safety to quality assurance.

Speaking skills. Industrial engineers sometimes have to explain their instructions to production staff or technicians before they can make written instructions available. Being able to explain concepts clearly and quickly is crucial to preventing costly mistakes and loss of time.

Writing skills. Industrial engineers must prepare documentation for other engineers or scientists, or for future reference. The documentation must be coherent and explain their thinking clearly so that the others can understand the information.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Licensure is not required for entry-level positions as an industrial engineer. A Professional Engineering (PE) license, which allows for higher levels of leadership and independence, can be acquired later in one’s career. Licensed engineers are called professional engineers (PEs). A PE can oversee the work of other engineers, sign off on projects, and provide services directly to the public. State licensure generally requires

  • A degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program
  • A passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam
  • Relevant work experience, typically at least 4 years
  • A passing score on the Professional Engineering (PE) exam

The initial FE exam can be taken after one earns a bachelor’s degree. Engineers who pass this exam are commonly called engineers in training (EITs) or engineer interns (EIs). After meeting work experience requirements, EITs and EIs can take the second exam, called the Principles and Practice of Engineering.

Several states require engineers to take continuing education in order to keep their licenses. Most states recognize licenses from other states, as long as the other state’s licensing requirements meet or exceed their own licensing requirements.

Advancement

Beginning industrial engineers usually work under the supervision of experienced engineers. In large companies, new engineers also may receive formal training in classes or seminars. As beginning engineers gain knowledge and experience, they move on to more difficult projects with greater independence to develop designs, solve problems, and make decisions.

Eventually, industrial engineers may advance to become technical specialists, such as quality engineers or facility planners. In that role, they supervise a team of engineers and technicians. Obtaining a master’s degree facilitates such specialization and thus advancement.

Many industrial engineers move into management positions because the work they do is closely related to the work of managers. For more information, see the profile on architectural and engineering managers.

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Product Development Engineer Jobs

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Product Development Engineer Career Paths

Product Development Engineer
Quality Engineer Systems Engineer Application Engineer
Applications Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Systems Engineer Application Engineer Senior Design Engineer
Design Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Quality Engineer Senior Manufacturing Engineer Manufacturing Engineering Manager
Director Of Manufacturing Engineering
15 Yearsyrs
Senior Mechanical Engineer Engineering Manager Product Development Manager
Director Of New Product Development
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Project Engineer Senior Process Engineer
Engineering Group Leader
7 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Senior Manufacturing Engineer
Manufacturing Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Engineering Manager Consulting Engineer Senior Mechanical Engineer
Mechanical Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Product Development Manager Research And Development Manager
New Product Development Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Product Engineer Product Engineering Manager
New Product Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Engineer Process Engineer
Process Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Product Manager Research And Development Technician Process Engineer
Process Engineering Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Project Engineer Senior Product Engineer
Product Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Product Developer Process Engineer Production Engineer
Production Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Engineering Manager Product Manager Product Development Manager
Research And Development Director
12 Yearsyrs
Product Developer Design Engineer Research And Development Engineer
Research And Development Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Senior Project Manager Engineering Director
Senior Director Of Engineering
15 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Engineering Manager
Senior Engineering Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Product Manager Product Development Manager
Senior Manager, Product Development
10 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Engineer Manufacturing Engineer Plant Manager
Vice President Of Manufacturing
14 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Product Development Engineer?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Product Engineer 3.5 years
Top Employers Before
Engineer 6.1%
Internship 5.5%
Top Employers After
Engineer 4.9%
Consultant 3.3%

Do you work as a Product Development Engineer?

Product Development Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

82.2%

Female

14.1%

Unknown

3.7%
Ethnicity

White

55.3%

Asian

18.2%

Hispanic or Latino

12.8%

Black or African American

8.8%

Unknown

4.9%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

33.3%

French

11.0%

Chinese

11.0%

Mandarin

8.9%

German

8.4%

Portuguese

4.6%

Italian

3.0%

Arabic

3.0%

Korean

2.5%

Russian

2.5%

Japanese

2.1%

Hindi

1.7%

Cantonese

1.7%

Ukrainian

1.3%

Carrier

1.3%

Vietnamese

0.8%

Tagalog

0.8%

Hebrew

0.8%

Dakota

0.8%

Swedish

0.4%
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Product Development Engineer Education

Schools

Drexel University

7.4%

Purdue University

7.1%

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

6.9%

Northeastern University

6.6%

Pennsylvania State University

6.3%

Rochester Institute of Technology

6.0%

University of Texas at Austin

5.2%

Wayne State University

5.1%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

5.1%

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

4.8%

University of Toledo

4.3%

New Jersey Institute of Technology

4.3%

Michigan Technological University

4.2%

University of Cincinnati

4.0%

University of Massachusetts - Lowell

4.0%

Lawrence Technological University

4.0%

North Carolina State University

3.9%

University of Illinois at Chicago

3.5%

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

3.5%

University of Delaware

3.5%
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Majors

Mechanical Engineering

35.5%

Electrical Engineering

11.1%

Business

10.9%

Biomedical Engineering

5.4%

Chemical Engineering

5.3%

Engineering

3.4%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

3.2%

Computer Science

2.6%

Computer Engineering

2.4%

Engineering And Industrial Management

2.2%

Management

2.2%

Project Management

2.2%

Industrial Technology

1.9%

Industrial Engineering

1.9%

Drafting And Design

1.8%

Materials Science And Engineering

1.7%

Finance

1.7%

Plastics Engineering

1.6%

Chemistry

1.6%

Graphic Design

1.4%
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Degrees

Bachelors

44.5%

Masters

36.6%

Other

8.3%

Doctorate

4.5%

Associate

3.4%

Certificate

2.3%

Diploma

0.4%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Product Development Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Staff Software Product Development Engineer Marvell Semiconductor Inc. Santa Clara, CA Nov 22, 2016 $165,000 -
$179,000
Product Development Engineer KLA-Tencor Corporation Milpitas, CA Apr 06, 2016 $142,310
Product Development Engineer KLA-Tencor Corporation Milpitas, CA Jul 19, 2016 $138,154
Staff Product Development Engineer Outset Medical, Inc. San Jose, CA Sep 07, 2015 $132,000
Product Development Engineer-Software Development MCI Communications Services San Jose, CA Feb 22, 2016 $130,000
Smts Product Development Engineer Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. Austin, TX Dec 12, 2016 $128,981 -
$183,300
Principal-Product Development Engineer at&T, Inc., and All of Its Subsidiaries and Affiliates Redmond, WA Sep 01, 2015 $128,710
Staff Product Development Engineer Sandisk Corporation Milpitas, CA Jan 21, 2015 $128,400
Product Development Engineer Proserv Operations, Inc. Houston, TX Jan 28, 2015 $128,000
Principal Product Development Engineer at&T Mobility Services LLC Redmond, WA Jul 09, 2016 $124,200
Principal Product Development Engineer at&T Mobility Services LLC Redmond, WA Jul 16, 2016 $123,942
Principal Product Development Engineer at&T Mobility Services LLC Redmond, WA Nov 09, 2015 $121,194
Product Development Engineer KLA-Tencor Corporation Milpitas, CA Oct 25, 2015 $120,837
Product Development Engineer Ford Motor Company Dearborn, MI Feb 05, 2016 $90,714 -
$126,660
Product Development Engineer Bridgelux, Inc. Livermore, CA Jan 02, 2016 $90,563
Product Development Engineer OFS Fitel, LLC Avon, CT Jul 09, 2016 $90,331
Product Development Engineer KLA-Tencor Corporation Austin, TX Jun 06, 2016 $90,189
Product Development Engineer KLA-Tencor Corporation Beaverton, OR May 12, 2015 $90,147 -
$93,147
Product Development Engineer St. Jude Medical, Inc. Saint Paul, MN Apr 15, 2016 $90,022
Product Developement Engineer Micron Technology, Inc. Boise, ID Aug 08, 2015 $90,000
Product Development Engineer Avon Automotive Farmington Hills, MI Jan 07, 2016 $90,000
Product Development Engineer 2 Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) Austin, TX Sep 18, 2015 $79,954 -
$109,200
Engine Performance-Product Development Engineer Ford Motor Company Dearborn, MI May 27, 2015 $79,766 -
$109,740
Product Development Engineer Ford Motor Company Dearborn, MI Sep 10, 2015 $79,643 -
$116,640
Product Development Engineer A123 Systems LLC Livonia, MI Jan 09, 2015 $79,643 -
$117,500
Product Development Engineer-Supplemental Ford Motor Company Dearborn, MI May 07, 2015 $79,643 -
$109,740
Product Development Engineer A123 Systems LLC Livonia, MI Sep 01, 2015 $79,643 -
$117,500
Product Development Engineer Ford Motor Company Livonia, MI Sep 18, 2015 $79,643 -
$107,520
Product Development Engineer, Engine Performance Ford Motor Company Dearborn, MI Jan 28, 2016 $79,643 -
$109,740

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Top Skills for A Product Development Engineer

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  1. New Product Development
  2. Test Plans
  3. Prototype Development
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Supported new product development and line extension projects being executed by senior level engineers and project managers.
  • Generated and executed test plans and experiments to demonstrate that designs meet requirements.
  • Create and facilitate prototype development schedules/plans and ensure timely participation of relevant functions throughout the design process.
  • Participated in market research, animal and cadaver labs to define and develop customer requirements.
  • Created corporate documents including installation instructions depicting detailed steps involved in the construction of utility-scale solar power plant components.

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Top 10 Best States for Product Development Engineers

  1. Washington
  2. California
  3. Colorado
  4. Rhode Island
  5. Texas
  6. Idaho
  7. Massachusetts
  8. Michigan
  9. New Hampshire
  10. New Mexico
  • (3,816 jobs)
  • (7,642 jobs)
  • (872 jobs)
  • (119 jobs)
  • (3,042 jobs)
  • (148 jobs)
  • (1,785 jobs)
  • (1,404 jobs)
  • (340 jobs)
  • (240 jobs)

Top Product Development Engineer Employers

Jobs From Top Product Development Engineer Employers

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