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What Does a Product Developer Do?

Nick Mann
Nick Mann

A career as a product developer is perfect for individuals who are creative, artistic and innovative. Some people in this field are employed by companies, and others are self employed as freelancers. While it's possible to work on products both large and small, the essential job duties of a product developer are usually the same. Some of these include performing industry research, researching creation and production possibilities, creating rough draft illustrations, performing product presentations and assisting with product development.

Before beginning a project, a product developer will typically perform some initial background research. For example, if he is planning on designing a new children's toy, he may look at what types of toys are currently in demand. He also may also think about what the predicted future forecast is for products within the toy's niche. As a product developer uncovers information, he will take it into consideration when planning the design of his new product.

Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

Once he has an idea in mind, a product developer will then look into creation and production possibilities. This usually involves researching different material options for production, the costs of those materials and manufacturing techniques. Performing this research is essential for producing the highest quality product at the lowest cost.

The next step in the process is creating some rough draft illustrations on the intended product. At this time a product developer will typically create these illustrations on paper at first. Afterward, he will often use a computer program to create a more in-depth and sophisticated draft design of the product. Throughout this process, a product developer will often modify and tweak his design until he comes up with the most feasible one.

In most cases, he will perform a product presentation to manufacturers or the company that is employing him. During this time, he will usually present his completed draft of the product and will sometimes bring along a product prototype as well. He may discuss details like safety, marketability and manufacturing possibilities. In some instances, the product will be approved right away. In others, certain modifications will need to be made before production can begin.

The final phase of product development involves assisting with all the details of manufacturing. For example, he may help designers with the process of creating a graphic for product packaging. He might also inspect the product prototype and evaluate its safety and eye appeal. Once the product developer and manufacturer agree on all the details, the actual manufacturing process will usually begin.

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Discussion Comments


What sort of education do most product developers have? It seems like there could be many different paths to getting to the goal of becoming a product developer. You could major in engineering, design, web development, marketing, business or even art, but what background did most product developers actually come from?

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