Product developers work to design and develop new products in a variety of industries. Many employers will require you to have a bachelor's degree when you want to become a product developer, though some prefer to hire candidates with graduate-level educations in such fields as engineering or design. You often can land an entry-level position right out of college, but participating in an internship can provide valuable experience and references that may make landing your first job easier. As far as skills are concerned, you will likely need creativity to stimulate product ideas and problem-solving skills for creating products without exceeding your company's budget.
The educational path you choose will likely matter a good deal when you want to become a product developer. In most cases, a minimum of a bachelor's degree is necessary for this job. Additionally, selecting the right major for your undergraduate education may influence your ability to land a job in this field and excel within it. Often, majors in fields such as engineering and design are helpful for pursing this career. Degrees in art or architecture may prove suitable as well.
While a bachelor's degree is the minimum level of education required to become a product developer, you may benefit from seeking graduate education as well. Many employers give preference to individuals who earn master's degrees, and you may find it more challenging to land some jobs without this level of education. Additionally, your career advancement goals may prove easier to achieve if you earn a master's degree.
You can become a product developer in a number of different areas. For example, you may wish to work with electronics, fashion, toys, or agriculture. To get a better handle on the type of product development career you want, you can take elective classes during your early years in college. You can take advantage of these types of classes to build knowledge helpful throughout your career as well; you may benefit, for instance, from including business and marketing classes among the electives you take, as some jobs require business and marketing skills.
Entry-level positions typically provide experience you can use to move forward in your career as a product developer. You may, however, also benefit from gaining experience before you land your first job. You can do this by participating in an internship program in the area of product development that interests you. In addition to the experience you will gain through an internship, such an opportunity might provide you with references helpful in landing a job. In fact, some people receive their first job offers from companies at which they interned.
Your skill set may factor prominently when it comes to becoming a product developer. Most employers prefer to hire candidates who are creative and have analytical minds. Computer skills are typically required for this job, and you may need the ability to problem-solve as well. For instance, your problem-solving skills might prove important when you need to figure out how to develop a product within a budget. Additionally, communication skills are often required for this job.