Product Development Directors


Education and Training Requirements

High School

A good foundation for a career in product development includes classes in business, math, science, economics, and history. English classes will help hone communication skills that are needed for reading and writing reports on product development and for communicating with development team members. Computer sciences classes are also helpful. 

Postsecondary Education

A bachelor's degree is required for product development director positions. Many companies prefer to hire directors who have an advanced degree. Degree majors vary depending upon the industry and product category. Some directors have a degree in business administration or management, finance, marketing, or advertising. Useful classes include business, math, statistics, finance, marketing, economics, communications, English, and computers.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

Product development directors may get voluntary certification to enhance their knowledge and skills and show a recognized level of expertise in their profession. The Product Development and Management Association awards the New Product Development Professional (NPDP) certification to development professionals who meet certification requirements: hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution; have at least two years of experience in the profession; pass the certification exam.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

This is not an entry-level position and requires prior experience in product development, with increasing levels of responsibility. Product development directors usually have four or more years of experience in the field. Some companies prefer to hire developers who hold a master's degree and have more than five years of experience successfully directing product development teams. Product development directors have a variety of tasks and must be able to handle all of the responsibilities and challenges they face in the job. Attention to detail is essential in making sure product development schedules are followed, products are developed according to specifications, and development team members are following procedures and meeting deadlines. Directors must have strong interpersonal and leadership skills as they work closely with others and communicate regularly with their peers and upper management. The ability to identify and solve problems is important. A flexible attitude is also helpful because there are often changes to the work and the workplace.