Development Engineer Job Description

Development Engineers are responsible for designing, creating and testing new products for companies. They work in every industry imaginable, developing products that vary dramatically. One Development Engineer may spend their career creating mechanical toys, while another may create medical devices. They are also referred to as Product Development Engineers. Most Development Engineers have a background in an area such as mechanical engineering or bioengineering.

Development Engineers may work in teams developing products or may be hired to independently create devices or merchandise. Although much of the work is performed on their own, they do report to a team leader, project manager or executive who has the final say in whether or not a product will be developed. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Mechanical Engineers are expected to see a job increase of 5 percent through 2024. This will add an estimated 14,600 jobs to this sector during this period.

 

Development Engineer Duties and Responsibilities 

The responsibility of a Development Engineer may vary widely depending on the type of product they are hired to invent, but there are some main duties common to the occupation. A review of current job listings identified the following primary tasks and responsibilities.

Conduct Research

Development Engineers are often required to conduct research before they begin planning a new product. They must learn about the target audience, what products are currently on the market and what issues there are with current models. Their research will allow them to innovate a product or create a new product to fill a need discovered in the target audience. Some Development Engineers will perform the research themselves while others will have a team of researchers to complete this task. Regardless of who does the research, Development Engineers must be able to analyze the data and make interpretations and decisions based on it.

Create Prototypes

After researching and deciding on a product to create, the Development Engineer work on building a prototype to show to management. This is a very important step in convincing others that their design is valid and functional. It is also how the Development Engineer determines what aspects of their design will work and which need to be modified or adjusted.

Determine Manufacturing Specs

Development Engineers also work on the specifics of the manufacturing process. They must determine which materials are best for the construction of the product as well as what will be entailed in the manufacturing process and what techniques will be used. Development Engineers will usually consult with other engineers and specialists to create a successful manufacturing plan.

 

Development Engineer Skills

Creative minds and superb organization are important traits for Development Engineers to possess. They should be analytical and methodical individuals who enjoy problem solving and challenges. In addition to these traits, employers look for applicants with the following skills.

Core skills: Based on job listings we looked at, employers want Development Engineer with these core skills. Focus on the following, if you wish to become a Development Engineer.

  • Reading and understand blueprints and technical diagrams
  • Advanced computer skills
  • Knowing drafting and modeling techniques and practices
  • Managing complex projects

Advanced skills: While most employers did not require the following skills, multiple job listings included them as preferred. Add these to your skillset and broaden your career options.

  • Professional Engineering (PE) license
  • Computer-aided design (CAD) experience
  • Simulation and modeling software experience

 

Development Engineer Resources

There are some helpful and informational resources available on the Web for those interested in becoming Development Engineers. We scoured the internet and found these links full of learning opportunities and the latest industry news.

On the Web

Product Design and Development – This industry standard magazine has been offering design engineers the latest news and technologies for over 60 years. A wonderful resource for any Development Engineer.

PE Magazine – This publication is released six times a year by the National Society of Professional Engineers and covers all the current news in the various engineering communities.

National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying – This nonprofit organization is one of the leading sources for obtaining professional licensing in engineering or surveying. Their site includes educational resources, exam information, and industry news and events.

Development Engineer Books

Product Design: Techniques in Reverse Engineering and New Product Development – This comprehensive resource is essential for design and engineer professionals interested in learning more about the process of developing new products. With wonderful examples, illustrations and references, it is a handbook for the Development Engineer.

Manufacturing Process for Design Professionals – This text goes over manufacturing methods and materials in great detail to give design professionals the knowledge they need to make the best manufacturing decisions for their products.

Prototyping and Modelmaking for Product Design – This book covers the process involved in creating a prototype and model. From practical techniques to best practices, it gives beginning designers and engineers a good introduction into creating models of their products.

Industry Groups

National Society of Professional Engineers – Founded in New York City in 1934, NSPE is dedicated to addressing the professional concerns of their licensed professional engineer members.

American Society of Mechanical Engineers – ASME was founded in 1880 and now boasts of over 130,000 members. Their members enjoy educational workshops, career development assistance, research and literature, and networking opportunities.

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers – IEEE established in 1884 for the burgeoning electrical industry, has grown into an organization with over 430,000 members worldwide composed of scientists, engineers, software developers and computer science employees. Their large network of members enjoys career development, technical information, research and industry news from this organization.

 

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