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Product Developer

Create new products and improve existing ones to make them more practical.

What does a Product Developer do?

Every monster has its Dr. Frankenstein. And when you’re a product developer, you’re him for everything from kitchen appliances and furniture to electronics and toys. Like a mad scientist, you’ll therefore start and finish your days exclaiming, “It’s alive!”—hopefully over a toaster or television and not a misunderstood-but-murderous horror-movie monster.

Forget “as seen on TV.” For you, everything is “as seen in my head.” Part artist, part engineer, and part businessperson, the job of a product developer is to create new products and improve existing ones by developing creative yet practical solutions to everyday problems. Part of a larger product development team, the product developer works with engineers to build your creations, and with sales and marketing departments to sell them.

Whether you’re designing a new car or a better ballpoint pen, your job starts with researching consumer needs then sketching designs that address them. You often use a computer-aided design program to turn your rough sketches into detailed product blueprints which a manufacturer will then turn into a working prototype based on your specifications, including everything from how the product is assembled to what materials it’s made of. Prototype in hand, you then test and refine the product, and work with a sales and marketing team to develop everything from pricing to packaging before your company takes it to market.

If it sounds cool, that’s because it is. The 21st century version of a Thomas Edison, you’re in charge of inventing the best things since sliced bread—including perhaps new ways to slice bread!