There are specific steps necessary to become a prototype developer: obtain a post-secondary education, gain experience in prototype development, and apply for positions. Most prototype developers have engineering bachelor's or master's degrees. In addition, experience can help you determine which type of prototype development career you are interested in pursuing, as prototypes are developed for many different industries and applications.
Prototype developers work in industries from automotive to technology, creating prototypes that can be tested before being used in the manufacturing process. A high school diploma is needed to apply for an undergraduate degree in engineering. The specific type of engineering is not as important to become a prototype developer, as prototypes are needed in electrical, mechanical, industrial, and computer engineering. Obtaining a graduate degree in engineering can help you become a prototype developer who also has supervisory or management authority, as well as increase the amount of money you make per year. You should attempt to take classes in your field that include prototype development through computer modeling, three-dimensional techniques, and building models.
It is important to gain experience developing prototypes while taking engineering classes. This can be done by obtaining an internship with an organization that has a prototype development department and provides you with valuable experience as well as the opportunity to network and gain future recommendations for jobs in the field. Internships are often competitive, so you should attempt to work towards a high grade point average (GPA) while in school, as well as participate in volunteer and extracurricular activities. During your time in school, you should learn about which type of prototype development you are interested in because the work can be very different on a day-to-day basis once you become a prototype developer.
Once you have completed an education, it is time to apply for jobs with organizations. Prototype developers often have a few years of experience in the field before beginning work in this area, so you might need to work at an entry-level position in this type of department under the supervision of an experienced prototype developer. There are jobs available in many industries that manufacture products and technology, with the government, and in private organizations whose main purpose is to develop prototypes. Job applications require that you submit a resume, cover letter, and a list of references before being asked for an interview. The final step on your journey to become a prototype developer is to train with the company that you have been hired to work for.