When it comes to manufacturing products, it’s all about quality, quantity and efficiency. You’ve got to get the product right, and you’ve got to get the production process spot on too! This is where process and product development scientists come into play.
These guys work in the manufacturing and production sector to develop quality products and improve production processes. Some of these scientific professionals focus purely on the process side of things, while some only concentrate on product development, and others still are actually responsible for both.
While the day-to-day activities for product and process development scientists may be different, the core objectives of their roles remain the same.
If you enter this profession, you’ll be responsible for reviewing existing processes or products, identifying gaps and faults with the current models, and then developing new products and processes that solve the problem.
Following the development process, you’ll be responsible for overseeing testing procedures and fine-tuning the product or process in order to optimise performance.
Development scientists need to take all kinds of things into consideration when developing new products and process, such as: costs, infrastructure and resource requirements, business objectives, market conditions, profitability, sustainability, access to raw materials and compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements.
Salary & benefits
Annual salaries for product and process development scientists in the early stages of their careers range between £20,000 and £30,000, while employees in senior positions with a wealth of experience can earn up to £70,000 per annum.
Process and product development scientists tend to work 35-40 hours a week on a standard nine-to-five basis. However, when it comes to meeting critical project deadlines, you may be required to work extra hours in the evening and during weekends.
For the most part, you will be working in the same lab or on the same production floor on a daily basis, but process development scientists that work for corporations with a multinational presence may be required to travel around from time to time.
A degree in any scientific or engineering discipline is the basic requirement for entry into this profession. However, studying chemistry, physics, biology or electrical, electronic or mechanical engineering can give you an edge over other candidates.
To make yourself stand out even further, you could even consider doing a relevant MSc or PhD.
Training & progression
Most companies provide ‘on-the-job’ training, with guidance and supervision provided by senior employees within the team. Training is likely to cover all aspects of production, from quality control and design, to post-production operations and health and safety regulations.
Career growth is dependent upon individual performance, professional expertise and organisational hierarchy.
You could move vertically into advanced technical or managerial positions, or laterally into specialist research positions.