The seven stages of the New Product Development process include — idea generation, idea screening, concept development, and testing, building a market strategy, product development, market testing, and market commercialisation. As a product development engineer, you will be responsible for managing the design of new and existing products. You will build prototypes of new products and test them to ensure that they meet the quality and functionality standards expected. You will need to produce or manage the creation of detailed product designs and be a proficient user of computer aided design software. As the key engineer in the development of the product, you will consistently analyse the product to look for ways to improve existing processes. With so many moving parts the ideal candidate will be methodical, meticulous, and consistent in their approach to every element of the development process. However, as you will also be creating new products you will also be innovative and not afraid to challenge the status quo.
The path to become a qualified engineer is relatively direct. You will need to have a bachelor's degree in engineering. You will need a number of years of experience of development before you can become a fully fledged engineer. Product engineers work across a number of different sectors. These sectors can include; Aerospace, Automotive, Communications, Electrical/Electronic, Mechanical, Biomedical, Chemical, Environmental, Transport, Rail & Marine Engineering. Given the wide range of industries that you can work within, often employers will expect industry specific experience.
Salaries will vary across different cities and countries. However, in Ireland the average salary for a Production Engineer is approximately €40,000. A Production Engineer, who is early in their career will earn circa €36,000. Those who are mid-career (5-9 years) can expect approximately €43,000.