This Tutorial Explains The Requirements, Salary, And Experience Needed For Video Game Tester Job:
Video game tester seems to be a dream job for many people, especially for those who have grown up being immersed in the video entertainment medium. The job role not only allows you to indulge in hours of fun but also earn an income.
By becoming a game tester, you will gain access to the latest pre-released games. This is a great career for those who love playing video games.
The video game industry is growing, and a report by Statista found that the industry will be worth $138 billion by 2021. The image below shows the growth of the industry.
The job of game testers is tied to the demand for video games. High demand for the games means that the demand for game testers will rise in the coming years.
In this blog post, you will learn what exactly a video game tester job is. In addition, we will answer some frequently asked questions regarding the role of a game tester and how to successfully apply for this job. Lastly, we will review some of the best game testing jobs that are available right now which you can apply for in the US.
What You Will Learn:
- Video Game Tester: An Introduction
- Game Testing Process Explained
- Steps to Become a Video Game Tester
- Tips To Become A Successful Game Tester
- Other Careers Related to Video Game Testing
Video Game Tester: An Introduction
In a way, video game testers are quality control experts.
Game testers play video games for hours on end and report bugs to the game developers. They test the user experience to ensure that games are interactive and fun for the players. You need to find glitches and problems in the games that could result in a negative gaming experience.
The main responsibility of a tester is to ensure that every aspect of the game performs according to plan. They need to make sure that the game contains, ideally, no errors before the final release.
You can watch this video to know more about the game tester job option.
Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming a Video Game Tester
Q #1) What is required to apply for game tester jobs?
Answer: The actual requirements for the game tester jobs vary. You can get into this field without a college degree. A survey carried out by Game Developer Magazine had found that game testers with a GED or high school diploma generally make more when compared to those with a formal degree.
However, some game developing companies require a degree or a certificate in the computer field. Some companies also prefer candidates with a certification in quality control or game development.
Q #2) What do game testers actually do?
Answer: Game testers are required to play video games for hours with little breaks. During the end of the development time, testers may be required to play the game for 24 hours to check for any problems before the release.
Companies may also ask testers to do certain repetitive tasks to test the performance of the game.
For instance, they may be required to switch the game on and off a hundred times to know the average time it takes to load a game. They may also be required to carry on multi-tasking such as downloading games or movies or chatting with others while playing games.
The testers may also be required to play one level multiple times to detect bugs in the game. These tasks are usually performed by entry-level game testers.
Q #3) How much money does a video game tester make?
Answer: The salary of game testers vary from one company to another. The basic salary of a beginner game testers is around $37,522 per year. Experienced game testers with four to five years of experience make up to $45,769 per year.
Game testers also receive benefits such as retirement, medical & dental plans, and annual bonuses. The additional benefits are above and beyond the basic salary given to the game testers.
Q #4) What skills are required to become a game tester?
Answer: Game testers need keen observation to detect problems in the game. They should also be able to clearly communicate the problems to the website designers. Other things that are required to become a good tester include patience, persistence, stamina, and above all passion for video games.
Q #5) Is video game testing a good long term career?
Answer: Most game testing jobs are contract jobs with little long-term security. However, experience in game testing can open the doors to other lucrative careers such as video game developers and graphic designers.
Q #6) Do video game testers have to play games in-house or remotely?
Answer: Most gaming companies require game testers to work in-house. This allows them to meet the developers face-to-face to identify issues.
However, an increasing number of companies now allow remote game testing. Testers play games at home and share notes with the developers through video conferencing.
Q #7) Can a game tester tell his/her friends about the details of a game that is not released to the public?
Answer: You are not allowed to talk to anyone about a game that you are testing. Companies generally force game testers to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) with the entire game development team. Violating the terms of the agreement will result in a fine or a lawsuit.
Q #8) Do you need to buy systems for testing games or the company provides the required hardware?
Answer: Game testers are not required to buy their own equipment. The game developing company will provide everything that is required to test games. You will be provided a game development kit and the gaming system to test the game.
The game development kit is a special version of the game that allows the game developers to debug and identify issues in a game. The kits are usually provided to the game development team even before the games are announced to the public. So, only the persons associated with the development of the game have access to the kit.
Benefits of Game Testing as a Career
Game testers have a flexible career path that they can choose according to their career needs. Game testers often go on to become game developers.
One thing that sets game developers with quality assurance experience from others is that they are able to see a game as a whole object instead of a part of a final product. This allows them to think holistically and focus on the integrated object while developing a game.
Creative game testers can also go on to become graphic designers. The professionals design the game using graphic designing software focusing on the appearance of the game.
Experience in the game testing field can also help in transitioning to a quality assurance engineering position. With some experience in game testing, you can easily apply for a project manager or director of a game’s quality assurance team.
Advancement in a game testing career largely depends on the skills of the game tester to detect issues in the game. Testers with technical knowledge are more likely to progress in the career as they are able to better explain the issue to game programmers and designers.
Game testers with adequate experience are usually promoted to lead testers or senior testers who supervise and guide a team of inexperienced testers. Testers with about 7-10 years of professional experience often get promoted to a managerial position if they have the required degree.
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The outlook for game testers looks bright as the gaming industry is thriving. Gaming revenues have nearly quadrupled between 2008 and 2018 increase from $10.7 billion to $43 billion. With the gaming industry to about $300 billion by 2025, the demand for game testers will increase manifold.
Game Testing Process Explained
Game testing involves playing games to look for any glitches and bugs in the game. Testing is carried out when most of the codes and artwork have been completed.
Game testing is carried out in a number of phases that are briefly described below.
#1) Plan the Test: Game testers first have to create a plan that contains the features that will be tested in the game. Some of the features that could be included in the plan include whether the game is fun or monotonous, glitches or bugs, difficulty level, spelling or grammatical mistakes, and error codes during gameplay.
#2) Test the Game: Once you create a blueprint of what must be tested in a game, the next phase includes actually play the game to test the features. The gamers need to play the games from the start till the end and look for any errors in the game.
The game testing is carried out in two phases. During the initial phase of the game testing, major bugs and defects are identified and corrected. The next phase involves hardcore testing where each and every aspect of the game is tested to look for major and minor errors.
#3) Report the Outcome: The game tester should record all the bugs and then communicate the issues to the game design and development team. The report needs to be in a format that is specified by the company. Typically the report contains an introduction containing the summary, actual test results, expected result, steps to replicate the problem, and severity of the problem.
Steps to Become a Video Game Tester
Anyone with a passion for games can become a game tester. You can enter this field even with a high school diploma or GED. What’s more important is the love for playing video games. You need to love the process of exploring new worlds with an eye for detail.
However, as the jobs are few, the competition for the post is high. Strategic thinking and knowledge of game testing tools are important to create a successful career.
Tips To Become A Successful Game Tester
Here are some other tips that will help you set apart from the others and increase your chances of successfully applying for a game testing position.
#1) Gain Technical Knowledge
Getting a certification from the American Software Testing Qualification Board (ASTQB) can give you an edge over the other prospective candidates. While most companies accept high school graduates, you can improve your career prospects by getting a degree or certificate in computer programming, graphic designing, or game development.
#2) Participate in Public Beta Testing
A lot of companies offer public testing of games. You should participate in the game beta testing to gain the first-hand experience in testing games and crafting bug reports. The more game testing experience you have the better are the prospects of being successful in a game testing position.
#3) Develop Game Testing Skills
Game development companies look for prospects to be both skillful and passionate about playing video games. You should get to know all the gaming terminologies by reading blogs and even starting your own gaming blog.
Companies prefer well-rounded candidates who have diverse relevant skills. You should get as much knowledge as possible about games.
In addition, you should develop the following traits that are critical for a game tester.
- Focus: Testing games require focus. You will have to play games with a complete focus for eight or more hours in a day. This can get boring once you are testing games for a long time. Modern games have a development cycle of about five years. Make sure that you are mentally preparing yourself for countless testing sessions to detect bugs.
- Attention to detail: Another important skill that you need to be a game tester is attention to detail. You need to have a keen eye to spot problems in the game. In addition, you should exactly explain the steps that are required to locate the glitches. Nothing should slip the cracks as every bug in the game will result in a negative impression on gamers.
- Technical writing: You will be writing a lot during the game testing stage. You will have to communicate the issues with the game developing team. This requires that you learn to hone your communication skills. You need to be able to clearly articulate the bugs to the development team.
Learning technical writing skills require more than just writing blogs or commenting on social media. You can start by signing up for Gotham Writers’ Video Game Writing course to develop your game technical writing skills. In addition, various online references explain the art of writing game bug report in detail.
#4) Build a Good Resume
Building a good resume is critical for game testing jobs. You should highlight the skills that match the requirements of the game testing position.
Consider searching for game testing jobs online and look for skills that are required for the position. You should read the “core skills required” section to know what is required for the game testing post.
Here are some examples of game tester job descriptions with the required skills.
Make sure that you proofread your resume before posting. Any grammar or spelling mistake could result in the rejection of your application. Companies look for candidates who are detail-oriented. The first thing that employers will literally check is your resume.
#5) Look for a Full-Time Position
Most of the openings for game testers are on a contract or part-time basis. Some also require work from home. But full-time jobs that are posted usually require more experience in the field.
You should look for a full-time game testing position at a large, reputable game development company. Companies that hire full-time employees are legally required to offer retirement, medical, and other benefits to the employees. However, if you are not able to get a permanent job, you should look for a part-time job to get some experience as it will increase the chances of landing in a dream job.
#6) Know where to Find Video Game Tester Jobs
In addition, you should visit the sites of gaming studios like Square Enix, EA, and Ubisoft, directly to look for game tester positions.
Lastly, you should also read the Land a Job as a Video Game Tester written by Jason W. Bay. The book contains tips on how to apply for a game testing job. In this book, you will find tips on how to prepare for the interview for the game tester position.
Other Careers Related to Video Game Testing
Experience in ‘game testing’ can also open doors to other careers.
Here is a list of the career opportunities that you can enter after completing a degree in computer science.
- Video game programming
- Video game design
- Software design
- Software quality assurance
- Software testing
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The demand for video game quality control testers is rising. It’s not only the large development companies such as Electronic Arts, Sony, or Ubisoft that offer a game testing position but small mobile phone game companies also frequently offer game testing jobs.
In the end, you may not want to stick to the game testing position for a long time. After getting suitable experience as a game tester, you should consider moving to QA manager, game programming, graphic designing, or game technical writing position for a bright career in the gaming industry.
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Do you aspire to become a Video Game Tester? Kick start your career today!!!