What is the job of a Product Developer?
Product developers play an important role in small businesses. They are responsible for developing new products or improving existing ones so that the company can more effectively meet customer needs. Product development jobs may work as part of a team, collaborating with marketing, technical, and manufacturing professionals throughout the product development process. A product developer, also known as an industrial designer, combines design, business, and engineering skills to create products that meet market and production demands, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Market research and product research are the starting points for a product developer. By talking with customers and sales personnel or visiting product review sites, product developers find out what customers want from a product, how they use it, and why they prefer certain product features over others. Developers also evaluate competitors’ products to determine important features and compare performance with similar companies’ products. Research helps developers determine key requirements for a new product or product upgrade.
To advance the product development program, the company may put together a project team in which the product developer plays a central coordinating role. Using the research results, the developers put together a product specification that includes a wish list of potential new features. They then consult with expert colleagues in engineering, finance, and manufacturing departments to determine which features can be incorporated within cost and technical constraints. The marketing team will also have a look at which features are most important to customers.
When the project team agrees to specifications, the product developer performs or supervises detailed design work, preparing working drawings and a prototype if necessary. The developer collaborates with engineering and technical professionals to ensure the design takes advantage of the latest materials or technology. For example, a developer working on an industrial machine aims to build materials and components that reduce maintenance requirements and extend machine life—benefits that will be important to customers.
At each stage of a project, developers submit proposals and designs for review by the project team and other decision-makers before moving on to the next stage. This process ensures that the design continues to achieve its marketing, technical, and financial goals. Upon completion of the design, the developer prepares final cost estimates and detailed product specifications for the manufacturing team. On a small project team, the developer may also be involved in product launches, work with sales and marketing specialists to plan the launch, or help train sales and customer service teams.
2021 Salary Information for Industrial Designers:
As of my training data (2021), the median annual salary for industrial designers in the United States was $65,970. However, this amount can vary depending on factors such as location, experience, and the type of company they work for. For example, industrial designers working in cities with a high cost of living, such as San Francisco or New York, may earn more than those working in smaller cities. Additionally, industrial designers with many years of experience and a strong portfolio of successful designs may command higher salaries than those just starting out in the field.
It’s important to note that salaries can also vary depending on the type of company that an industrial designer works for. For example, designers working for large corporations or design firms may earn more than those working for smaller design studios or freelance.
It’s also worth considering that salary is just one aspect of a job. Other factors, such as job satisfaction, opportunities for growth and advancement, and the company culture, should also be taken into consideration when evaluating job offers.