Duties and responsibilities
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. Their typical duties and responsibilities include:
- Researching by using mathematical modelling to work through new developments and innovations
- Designing products (i.e., turning research ideas into technical plans for prototypes using computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-assisted engineering (CAE) software)
- Testing products by collecting and analysing data from prototype testing
- Modifying designs
- Writing and presenting reports to project managers
Like all other engineers, developmental engineers will need a bachelor’s degree in engineering (preferably chemical or mechanical engineering) from an ABET-accredited program. To obtain licensure, developmental engineers will need to pass several exams, participate in internships and obtain work experience. Many developmental engineers will go on to achieve a masters degree as this will allow them to enter high paying management positions.
Skills and relevant work experience
Developmental engineers will learn many skills through their education and on-the-job training. As well as this, they will need skills such as:
- Problem-solving skills, as developmental engineers will need to overcome engineers problems in designing products
- Communication skills, developmental engineers must work with and communicate other professionals
- Leadership skills, as developmental engineers need to oversee operations and must manage costs and time constraints
- Analytical skills, as developmental engineers must use advanced techniques to research, design and develop new products
Developmental engineers are likely to work full time hours (40 hours per week). They may have to work overtime when they have to travel between sites.
According to payscale, the median annual salary for a developmental engineer in the United States is $76,445. At the lower end, developmental engineers can expect to earn around $58,000 per year. Whereas, at the upper end, production engineers earned over $110,000 per year.
By obtaining a masters degree, developmental engineers will have lots more opportunities. With more experience, developmental engineers may develop into management conditions where they will become responsible for supervising a team of other engineers and technicians. They may also progress into project management, consultancy, research and lecturing roles.