Product Development Manager: Salary & Job Description

Product development managers help create ideas and oversee the process of turning those ideas into a product people can buy in stores. Read on to learn more about their duties, what they earn and how to prepare for this career.

Career Definition of a Product Development Manager

A product development manager can help determine what products are created and produced. Their role is to determine how their company can meet business targets while providing new products that will serve the needs of their clients. They want to ultimately produce products that will represent the brand image of their company and meet customer expectations for quality and function.

The product development manager is involved with all stages of a product's life cycle. They generate ideas. They also identify gaps in their company's product line that can help them determine where there is need for product development. They perform market research to assess the potential demand, develop design proposals, oversee production, set pricing, coordinate efforts with marketing staff to ensure the product will fit with existing marketing strategies and ensure products meet expectations. Product development managers will also conduct research when products are in the development stage to determine if potential customers are satisfied. They use feedback to inform decisions about product modifications before finalizing the product and making it available for sale. They are also responsible for making sure that regulations are followed.

Educational Requirements Bachelor's degree
Job Skills Design skills, research abilities, analytical strengths, leadership skills, marketing abilities, teamwork strengths
Median Salary (2017)* $77,998
Job Outlook (2016-2026)** 10% (marketing managers)

Sources: *; **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Product development managers must usually have a bachelor's degree. They can benefit from studying subjects that strengthen their design skills, such as industrial design, or they may also opt to study engineering. Aspiring product development managers should take courses in business and marketing and should learn how to use computer design software to prepare for their career.

Required Skills

Product development managers should have strong design skills so that they can develop effective technical images related to the products they're creating. Investigative abilities are required in order to conduct thorough and accurate market research when evaluating product ideas. Analytical strengths are important to assess market data and evaluate the production strategy. Marketing abilities are essential for this position, as these managers are involved in developing sales and promotional strategies for their products and should strive to ensure that their products conform to their company's brand strategy. These managers must also display teamwork and regularly collaborate with marketing staff and others during the product's development.

Career Outlook and Salary

The tasks performed by product development managers are similar to the duties often performed by marketing managers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that marketing managers are expected to see a 10% rate of job growth from 2016 to 2026. reports that in 2017 the median income for product development managers was $77,998 per year.

Related Careers

If a career as a product development manager sounds appealing, there are a number of other careers that also involve creating and developing products that may appeal to you. Follow the links here to learn more about several types of design and engineering professions.

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