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How Do I Become a Director of Product Development?

D. Nelson
D. Nelson

Directors of product development are high level leaders who are responsible for learning which products an organization should sell based on market demand and the preferences of target demographics. These professionals also may work with leaders from finance departments to determine which kinds of budgets should be set and with members of engineering and development teams to to create products that are satisfactory and which can be produced for reasonable costs. People who work as directors of product development tend to be experienced professionals who have been in an industry for a number of years and who have a deep understanding of the way markets work, competitor behaviors, and any relevant laws and regulations.

To become a director of product development, it is essential to have an undergraduate degree in a field such as marketing or management. People who are interested in highly specified fields, such as software development or pharmaceuticals, might choose to study areas directly related to their industries of choice. A person who would like to become a director of product development also should make sure that he or she spends years upon years in a particular industry, getting experience in areas such as development, sales, and marketing.

Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

It is important for a person who would like to become a director of product development to get a degree in business or in a field related to his or her industry. Directors of product development must be able to learn new kinds of software quickly and must also be able to communicate clearly about business strategy with high level professionals, such as executives and priority clients. Formal academic preparation is a great way to learn related skills, and most employers expect job candidates to have these credentials. While it might not be necessary to enter the work force with a graduate degree, a person who wants to become a director of product development should plan on earning a master's degree eventually.

In most cases, a person who wants to become a director of product development should plan also on getting a highly technical education in product development. This does not necessarily mean that he or she needs to have an engineering degree, but a strong background and the ability to communicate with engineers or designers in technical terms can be valuable assets. An individual who would like to become a director of product development in the software industry, for example, might have an academic background in business administration, but might also take courses in software programming.

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