How to Become a Game Tester: Job Role, Salary, and a Step-by-Step Guide

As a game tester, or a quality assurance tester, you’ll play video games that are still under development to find any errors, glitches, or bugs. You’ll work hand in hand with programmers and other technical members of the development team. Your role will involve extensive testing, often replaying game levels multiple times to test every possible scenario. You’ll document any gameplay errors you encounter and relay these to the development team for fixing.

How to Become a Game Tester: Job Role, Salary, and a Step-by-Step Guide
How to Become a Game Tester: Job Role, Salary, and a Step-by-Step Guide

The video game industry is a vibrant and growing field where video game testers hold a vital role. As a professional in this field, you’ll ensure that games are devoid of bugs, glitches, and other issues before they hit the market. If you’re thinking about a career as a video game tester, here’s a step-by-step guide to get you started.

How to Start a Career in Game Testing

If you want to become a video game tester, start by building a strong foundation in gaming and basic computer skills. Get to know different gaming platforms and genres, and learn how various games work. It’s also helpful to have a basic understanding of computers and software, as you’ll often need to install games, operate software, and sometimes troubleshoot basic issues.

Work on improving your critical thinking, attention to detail, and communication skills. Participate in different gaming communities and keep up with the latest gaming trends and technologies to gain a competitive edge in this field.

Most game testers start as video game enthusiasts. Spending hours playing games helps you understand game dynamics, gameplay, and what makes a good game. Since the job involves playing video games for long periods, it’s beneficial if you enjoy playing video games.

Education and Training

You don’t always need formal education, but earning a degree in game design, computer science, or a related field can give you an edge. Such programs deepen your understanding of the game development process and technical aspects, which are useful for a tester.

You can also consider specific courses and certifications that concentrate on quality assurance and software testing. These programs equip you with the methodologies and tools used in testing, essential for a video game testing career. In this ever-evolving industry, it’s crucial to continuously learn and stay updated with the latest software and technology.

Earn a High School Diploma, GED, or Equivalent: Most game testers are 18 or older, so completing high school is recommended. You’ll need basic writing and communication skills, which you can learn in high school or while studying for an equivalency.

Gain Practical Experience

To become a video game tester, it’s critical to gain practical experience. You can do this through internships, entry-level jobs in gaming companies, or by volunteering to test games for smaller projects or indie games. Participate in beta testing and provide detailed feedback to gain more experience.

Build a portfolio that showcases your testing skills, including examples of bugs you’ve identified and how you reported them. This can show potential employers what you’re capable of. Network within the gaming community and attend industry events to open up more opportunities.

Work in Quality Assurance: Video game testing involves more than just playing the game. You’re constantly trying to find the game’s flaws and see how you can exploit them. If you have work experience in quality assurance, you’ll likely be familiar with this way of thinking.

Create a Strong Resume and Maintain a Professional Online Presence

Craft a resume that highlights your relevant skills, experience, and education to secure a video game tester position. Your resume should display your gaming knowledge, attention to detail, and any QA testing experience or related fields.

It’s also important to maintain a professional online presence. This means having a LinkedIn profile with endorsements and recommendations, and perhaps a personal website or blog where you discuss your gaming and testing experiences. Engage in online gaming forums and platforms to increase your visibility to potential employers.

Apply for Video Game Tester Positions

With the necessary skills and experience in hand, begin applying for video game tester jobs. Do your research on gaming companies and studios that interest you and tailor your application to their specific needs and company culture.

Use job search websites, gaming industry networks, and social media platforms to find job openings. Get ready for the interview process by getting familiar with common testing methodologies and being prepared to showcase your problem-solving and communication skills. Remember, persistence and a positive attitude are key in this competitive field.

Real-Time Job Role and Requirements:

To get a clear picture of the exact video game tester job role and responsibilities, we picked out one job posting from Glassdoor.com. The responsibilities posted in the job description include:

Testing and Evaluation:

  • Test and evaluate development and prototype game builds promptly throughout the development cycle.
  • Identify and report bugs with detailed descriptions, photos, and videos.
  • Thoroughly verify bug fixes in game builds.

Documentation and Configuration:

  • Create comprehensive archival game reference documents, images, and videos.
  • Configure slot machines with appropriate games and features and occasionally relocate slot machines.
  • Maintain and document hardware and software for slot machines and other gaming devices.

Technical Support:

  • Assist the IT department in responding to help desk tickets, setting up new computers, and installing software/hardware.

General Duties:

  • Maintain high-quality standards in all job aspects.
  • Assist with event setup and cleanup as required.

Interestingly, as we mentioned above, the education criteria is only a High School diploma or equivalent; but an associate’s degree is preferred. It also requires strong written and oral communication skills and proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel, and Outlook; experience with Photoshop is advantageous.

Game Testers Average Salary

As of March 2024, game testers in the U.S. earn an average salary of $19.13 per hour, ranging from $9.25 to $64.10. Factors like your experience, the company you work for, and your location, where regional laws may set a minimum wage, will influence your salary. Keep in mind that some game testing jobs might require you to supply your own game consoles and other equipment, so factor this in when negotiating your salary.

Game Tester Career

Game testers have a variety of career progression options within the gaming industry. Their experience in quality assurance can lead to roles such as QA lead or manager, where they oversee testing teams and strategies. With a deep understanding of game mechanics and development processes, testers can transition into game design, development, or project management roles.

The analytical skills gained are also valuable for positions in user experience (UX) design or community management. Furthermore, their insights into game functionality can be beneficial for careers in technical support or customer service within the gaming sector.

Game testing is a good way to start a career in the video game industry. Other careers that may be open to you with your testing experience and in some cases additional education, include game design or development.

Conclusion

Entering the gaming industry might lead to a fulfilling and exciting journey as a videogame tester. Testers can have a significant impact on how interactive entertainment is developed in the future if they have the necessary training, expertise, and enthusiasm for games.

So, if you’re passionate about gaming and eager to contribute to the gaming world, a career as a video game tester could be the perfect fit for you.

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