Do you love spending a large amount of your free time playing video games?
If so, a job as a game tester may well be the ideal career choice for you. Video games are more popular than ever and as the industry continues to expand. There is an ever-greater demand for outstanding game testers. But what exactly is required to make this dream a reality?
In this article, we will explore exactly what a game tester does. The qualifications and skills required. What kind of salary you can expect, and where this career can lead you once you’ve established yourself.
So, let’s discover the lowdown on how to become a game tester.
- What Does Game Testing Involve?
- Skills And Abilities Required For The Job
- Helpful Qualifications
- Salary Expectations
- Can Game Testers Work From Home?
- Other Benefits Of A Career In Game Testing
- For The Love Of The Game!
- Final Thoughts
What Does Game Testing Involve?
There’s a lot more to game testing than meets the eye. The first illusion to dispel is that you won’t just be kicking back all day long playing the latest video games to your heart’s content.
The main task at hand isn’t the enjoyment of the game, but rather examining every aspect of the production to discover any flaws, glitches, or bugs that the developers might have missed. It’s all about Quality Assurance. In fact, that is the official job title of a game tester.
It’s not all fun and games…
Game testers are required to play new games in a methodical way that is completely different from normal gameplay. To locate potential errors, testers must explore all aspects of a game. This includes exploring all levels with every different character to uncover any visual flaws or gameplay issues.
You’ll be expected to take actions you wouldn’t normally consider in standard gameplay to explore every nook and cranny of the game. In other words, every aspect of the game needs to be tested comprehensively before release. This process can become quite tedious when compared with playing for fun.
Work with developers and programmers…
Once identified, any flaws are reported back to the developers and programmers, who then work to smooth any glitches out before the game is released to the general public. The game tester will then have to replay that part of the game to check that the problem has been solved.
Skills And Abilities Required For The Job
The number one skill the best game testers must have in abundance is patience. The impatient do not thrive in this world. The work can be extremely repetitive, and frustration can creep in if you don’t have the right kind of temperament. A tolerance for monotony is essential.
Broad gaming experience is also a must. The best game testers will have a wide knowledge and experience of multiple genres across a wide range of platforms. This will give you far more employment opportunities than if you’re only used to playing one style of game.
Observation and concentration!
Attention to detail and good observational skills will also take you a long way in this industry. An ability to concentrate for long periods to catch the tiniest of glitches will give you a good advantage over the competition.
Not only will you have to spot those glitches, but you’ll also have to remember the exact sequence of actions you took to reveal it. The ability to explain that in a clear report to the development team requires adept communication and writing skills, essentials if you’re considering a career as a game tester.
It’s not uncommon to find a Quality Assurance (Game) Tester without an educational background in the computer sciences, but if you have a degree in game design, video graphics, software design, or programming related areas, you will be far more qualified to be considered for the higher paying positions in QA testing.
Virtually any good computer science degree combined with extensive gaming experience should deliver the appropriate training to consider yourself qualified for any game testing job.
Move into game development…
You’ll also have a far better chance of furthering your career outside game testing, potentially moving into game development itself. This is almost always a more lucrative career path than QA testing itself. For entry-level game testing jobs, you don’t need to have a relevant degree. A high school diploma is often the only educational requirement.
However, you’ll be limiting your career opportunities if this is all you’re bringing to the table.
There are usually a high number of applicants for entry-level game testing positions. There’s an incredible amount of gamers out there who want to turn their hobby into a career.
Know the right terminology…
You can improve your chances of employment by learning the correct terminology and technical knowledge. The American Software Testing Qualification Board provides certification for game testers. If you don’t have a related computer science degree, this would be a great place to start learning the ropes.
As important as technical qualifications are, a fully fleshed-out education that enriches your communication skills, is a vital asset to any would-be game tester. Good English writing, communication, and technical writing skills will raise you above any competition that has focussed solely on scientific achievement. These are important components of any well-rounded education that you’ll certainly need as a QA tester.
As with most careers, game testing salaries are based on how much experience you have combined with the level of skill and complimentary education you’ve gained. Full-time salaried game testers can earn anywhere between $40,000 to $70,000 per year.
However, many game testing jobs are temporary contracts or even paid by the hour. Game developers don’t always have titles in the testing phase and so prefer to hire on a temporary basis.
Full-time is far better…
These are often entry-level positions and will not pay nearly as well as a permanent salaried job. But hey, you’ve got to start somewhere, and this can be a valuable way of building experience whilst you gain further qualifications to climb the ladder.
Temporary positions will not provide any extra benefits. If you’re looking for perks like health insurance or paid vacation time, then you’ll need to work towards becoming a full-time, salaried game tester.
Can Game Testers Work From Home?
Whilst there probably are a few game testers that work from home, most game developers do not hire remote workers in this field. This means if you’re serious about becoming a game tester, you may well have to move to a city that’s home to one of the larger gaming companies.
Fortunately, these aren’t as concentrated as they used to be, and companies have set up shop as far afield as Austin, Texas, and Las Vegas. As the industry continues to grow, more companies are setting up shop across the country. Hopefully, you won’t have to move too far if you don’t already live in one of these digital hubs.
Relocate if need be…
This may seem daunting at first, but for as long as there has been employment and centers of commerce, people have been moving to gain access to work. Moving to where the action is will also boost your career opportunities, giving you the chance to network and build a community of like-minded friends and co-workers.
Other Benefits Of A Career In Game Testing
For those who live to game, life as a game tester means you’ll get to explore the latest titles, often years before they make it to market. If you are lucky enough to test a game that you’re passionate about and aid in its development, a great deal of job satisfaction can be gained from this.
Due to the often temporary nature of life as a game tester, this career gives you ample opportunity to study for a complimentary degree at the same time. There are so many computing-related degrees that you can do part-time online now that would go hand-in-hand with game testing work.
For The Love Of The Game!
Love gaming but don’t know where to start? Then check out how to Score Your First Job As A Videogame Tester: A Step-by-step Guide to Starting your Career in the Gaming Industry, and Land a Job as a Video Game Tester, as well as Become A Game Tester Formula, and Game Testing: All in One to point you in the right direction.
But that’s not all; we also found the PE Exam “Inner Game”: Master the Inner Game of Testing, the Game testing Complete Self-Assessment Guide, the How to Be a Game Tester: Make Big Money Playing Games, and the Video Game Tester RED-HOT Career Guide; 2537 REAL Interview Questions to help you prepare!
You could always step into game development and design using Computer Game Development and Animation: A Practical Career Guide, and the Game Development Essentials: Game QA & Testing, the Practical Game Design: Learn the art of game design through applicable skills and cutting-edge insights and lastly, The Game Production Toolbox all available online in 2023.
Now that you have a firm grasp of how to become a game tester, all that’s needed from here is to formulate a good plan to take your first step on the ladder.
You may be qualified enough already, but if not, work out the skills you need to develop and find the appropriate courses. Once this is done, as long as you have a good eye for detail and above-average communication and writing skills, you should be well on your way to your first job as a game tester. Who knows what that could lead to eventually.
Good luck with making extra cash Gaming!