How to Become a Game Tester: All you need to know

If you enjoy playing games, game testers would be a good choice for you. Getting paid to play games sounds like a dream for many people. However, it is truly a challenging job that requires more than just leisurely thumbing through video games. You may be the best Halo player in your group, but that doesn’t mean you would make a great video game tester.

Before you choose your career as a game tester, you need to think it over. Below are some important steps for you to follow.

Step 1: Understand Game Tester descriptions and responsibilities

Video game testers work for video game companies with the task of thoroughly testing games to make sure they are free of "bugs," "glitches," and other problems. They are also called as "beta testers," or simply "game testers."

They are responsible for breaking the game instead of playing the game. Using the game in as many ways as they can possibly conceive, taking actions that few users will ever make is their main task.

Game testers may also have to run through matrix testing. When doing matrix testing, the video game tester would need to play as each character vs. each character (including Character 1 vs. Character 1) on all 20 levels.

Though the bulk of the work of a tester is finding and reporting bugs as described above, there are many other things that testers do, such as attending meetings with the development team or the other testers in the group.

Step 2: Think before you do: whether is it worth to be a Game Tester

The greatest advantage of being a game tester is getting paid for playing games. And it is a great springboard for video game field. You learn to appreciate the struggles and challenges faced by developers, publishers, testers, and others in the interactive entertainment industry. This could be helpful to advance further in the industry if one wishes.

And if you are a gamer, you’ll be glad to know about projects before the general public does. What’s more, game developing is a group job. You will have the opportunity to get to work with very interesting people from all walks of life.

Though there are many pros which is fascinating, cons are also noteworthy. Before making decisions you should deliberate on them.

The work can be mentally draining, as it requires a lot more concentration, for a lot more time, than simply playing games. Besides, the work requires a great deal of patience, as the games that one tests are often incomplete, unstable, unclear or otherwise challenging to play through. Another downside is that pay can be low for entry-level and experienced testers that do not do any actual programming.

When choosing a career, you must consider pros and cons. If you think pros outweigh cons, it is sensible to take it.

Step 3: Research Best colleges and universities for game tester

  1. University of Southern California: USC offers programs for game designers through several schools and colleges, including the Viterbi School of Engineering and the School of Cinematic Arts.
  2. DigiPen Institute of Technology: The school offers 10 undergraduate and graduate programs in Art, Design, and Computer Science. The Department of Game Software Design and Production prepares graduates for careers as software architects, gameplay programmers, artificial intelligence programmers, and more.
  3. Carnegie Mellon University: The Integrative Design, Arts and Technology (IDeATe) Network connects strengths across the university to advance research, education, and creative practice.
  4. Rochester Institute of Technology
  5. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  6. University of Utah
  7. Michigan State University
  8. New York University
  9. Georgia Institute of Technology
  10. Savannah College of Art and Design
  11. The New School
  12. University of California – Santa Cruz
  13. DePaul University
  14. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  15. Ringling College of Art and Design
  16. University of Central Florida
  17. Northeastern University
  18. Full Sail University
  19. Champlain College
  20. Drexel University

Step 4: Go through College

Some video game developers may hire game testers straight out of high school, but it is becoming more beneficial for video game testers to pursue a bachelor’s degree. Though it is generally considered an entry-level position in the game industry, a college degree will help you a lot when you are working. Game testers are generally educated in either game design or in something related to video graphics, computer science, or other software-related fields.

Some great majors are Game design, Software development, Software design, Software engineering, Computer programming, Computer science, Graphic communication, Software quality assurance, Software testing. However, more popular option for students to pursue is a video game developer degree program or video game design program.

The common courses for game testers are testing at various steps in the game development process, Animation, Programming, Game design, Storyboarding, Modeling.

Step 5: Internship Opportunity

Organizations that are hiring video game testers usually look for applicants with prior work experience in quality assurance. And some positions may require or prefer applicants with experience working with specific programs, like Unreal Engine 4, Microsoft Office, and 3-D applications.

Nothing is better than internships which can improve you much and equip you with basic skills mentioned above. Internships may feature lower pay and fewer hours, but they are a great way to earn applicable related experience. During your internship, you will be surprised to see that you are not only more mature to being human. Stepping out of the college’s ivory tower, you can learn many professional skills and get access to new horizons. Your world can be broadened.

Relatively, many companies prefer employing interns because of their low salaries. You can focus on many websites related to some prestigious entrepreneurs. You can also get help from your teachers, classmates, relatives and so on.

Step 6: Prepare relevant skills for game tester

  1. foundational experience with video games

    The most important attribute for game testers is game-related experience. Understanding the top genres of games, knowing what makes for a good video game, and grasping the essentials of game play are very essential for you to work. But it is just a start for game testers.

  2. writing and communication skills

    You need to be a clear, concise, and detailed communicator because you need to deliver the issue and fix to developers directly. You also need to write in a clear, brief, and effective manner to describe the glitches you find and how you found them.

  3. basic troubleshooting skills

    Though solving specific problems is not your job, you will have to recreate, often dozens of times, the specific sequence that led to the glitch.

Step 7: Find relevant game testing jobs, and apply it.

When seeking jobs, optional certification can help you to be more competitive. Organizations, such as the American Society for Quality (ASQ), offer a range of certifications in the field of quality assurance. Some certification requires some years of work experience, but some experience may be waived based on an applicant's level of education.

There are loads of online resources to choose from to help you in your job search. When you encounter a desirable job, send your resume as soon as possible. However, polishing it is a heavy project. Many companies have some needs of the specific job. Pay attention to reading the "requirements" section of the job posting to discover what skills and talents they want you to have before applying.

You may receive a lot of rejection letters when applying for jobs first. Unfortunately, this is all part of the process. Just keep trying and don't give up.

Important Tools for a successful game tester

Tools are indispensable for a successful game tester. Here lists some game designing tools: Bug tracking system, the test case, the checklist (or test suite).

Develop your career path

Many newbies would choose game testers as a stepping stone to break into the game industry and then build a successful career making games which is a high-paid job. Helping get you out of the QA testing pit, you can then switch into a game development position with higher pay.

Related Salary.com Content