development engineer

A development engineer designs new products or improves existing products to increase revenue for a company. That means you need to know the phases of the product development cycle to design, develop and create new product ideas for businesses.

As a development engineer, you can work in any industry that manufactures products for consumers, from pharmaceutical industries that create medical equipment to mechanical toys. It is crucial to understand mechanical engineering principles to succeed in your role, especially designing or developing equipment and gadgets. Some development engineers also spend their careers developing systems or components that facilitate the use of products.

job description of a development engineer?

As a development engineer, before you design a product, you conduct market research to identify gaps, targeting users and similar products in the market. From the research, you can decide on the features to incorporate for your product to stand out or develop a new concept that meets the needs of consumers. After creating the prototype and design, you collaborate with engineers and other specialists in the field to ensure the product meets the quality standards. You also engage the marketing teams to build a marketable product with promising returns on investment.

Would a career in IT and tech as a development engineer suit your problem-solving skills? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a development engineer role.

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average salary of a development engineer

The salary of an entry-level development engineer according to National Careers, is £24,000 per year. Your earnings increase to £50,000 annually when you are a senior development engineer with adequate experience and skills. Most companies offer additional compensation for successful products. For instance, you will enjoy bonuses and overtime pay for working long hours. Some companies also offer shares to development engineers for creating successful products in the market. Other standard benefits include medical insurance, transport allowance and contribution to a pension scheme. You also enjoy paid vacation time.

how to boost your earning potential as a development engineer

As a development engineer, your compensation package relies on numerous internal and external factors. Internal factors like education, skills and experience determine the value you add to an employer and how much they are willing to pay. If you have spent many years in the profession, an employer can consider a higher salary due to your skills and expertise. Having educational qualifications and certifications to back up your skills also improves your salary prospects.

External factors that impact your compensation package include location and industry. Some industries produce complex products, and your salary reflects the technical expertise required in the role. For instance, developing medical equipment is challenging compared to building toys and other consumer products.



types of development engineers

As a development engineer, you use your expertise to create products, from conceptualisation to the final stage of production. In some cases, you have to specialise in the following areas:

  • product design engineer: your job is to plan and build a functional product for your employer from the idea provided. You research various ways to implement the concept and prepare the technical drawings and prototype. You can also improve on existing products.
  • project development engineer: your role is to supervise the entire product life cycle process, from idea conceptualisation to releasing the product to the market.
  • test development engineer: your job is to run quality assurance tests and ensure a product meets the industry standards. You also analyse the efficiency and functionality of the product.
  • technical development engineer: as a development engineer in charge of the technical aspects, you create the blueprints and drawings and check the artist renderings for practicability.

working as a development engineer

As a development engineer, you work on all stages of the product creation process to ensure a product meets the company's standards. Discover typical duties and work schedules of development engineers.


education and skills

Explore the different ways of becoming a development engineer:

  • university course: you need a higher national diploma, foundation degree or bachelor's degree to become a development engineer. Join a degree course in engineering product design, materials science and industrial design. You can also study civil, mechanical and electrical engineering and find a conversion course into development engineering. You need 2 to 3 A Levels for the degree, while the foundation degree requires 1 or 2 A Levels.
  • apprenticeship: if you have 4 or 5 GCSEs in grades 9 to 4, you can join the product design and development engineering apprenticeship.

skills and competencies

The skills you need as a development engineer include:

  • communication: when you are a development engineer, you need good communication skills. It helps you communicate clearly with clients, team members and company stakeholders when explaining the product design or the development process.
  • research skills: as a development engineer, market research is important in determining the consumer needs and features to include in a product. Research skills help you understand the target market and competition before designing a product.
  • attention to detail: as a development engineer, you draw blueprints and prepare technical drawings for various products. If you aren't detail-oriented, you are likely to miss important aspects of the design specifications.
  • computer skills: since you will use computer-aided applications to create your designs, computer skills come in handy. Experience in using CAD applications also helps you draw exceptional designs.
  • interpersonal skills: as a development engineer, you work alongside various professionals. You need interpersonal skills to collaborate with them and avoid conflicts.

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FAQs about working as a development engineer

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