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Career Story: Product Development Engineer

Product Development Engineer

Job Title: Product Development Engineer

Type of Company: I work for a company that makes ceramic water filters. The main application for these filters is the de-oiling of water extracted from oil wells.

Education: BS, Materials Science, University of Connecticut

Previous Experience: I worked as a process engineer for a 3D printing company. This sparked my interest in product development, as I was on the powder development team.

Job Tasks: The title for my job is product development engineer. This title refers to someone who thinks of ideas for new products or modifications to existing products that will provide some improvement: greater ease of use, better quality or lower cost to the consumer. I am constantly evaluating the product I am working on and thinking of ways I could make it better. To give impetus to that process I read relevant journals or patents, brainstorm with co-workers, or read up on my competitors. When I do come up with a new idea, I run initial tests or experiments that show whether the idea will work. If I can prove the initial concept will work, I set about trying to optimize it. This involves pulling any lever that I can to improve the idea or design. When I think I have the best design possible, it is time to make the actual product. If the product works and everyone agrees it is worth the cost of putting it into production, we start making it. From here I will work on creating a process to make this product on a large scale. Once the product is launched, it is back to the drawing board where the cycle starts over again.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: This job can be really rewarding. When you launch a product, you get a lot of recognition. It is not only nice to get the recognition, but nice to hear feedback from people who use your product and like it.

On the other hand, it can be very frustrating if your ideas don't pan out.

Job Tips: Take as many business courses or electives as you can (if you are studying engineering). It always helps to understand how the rest of a company is working.

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