The Truth About Gamer Testing
Being a video game tester sounds like a great job, doesn’t it? All you have to do is sit around, play games all day and that’s about it, at least that’s what people think. The truth is video game testers really aren’t slackers that sit around gulping energy drinks and munching on chips. Sure, they love to play video games, but that’s just a small part of what the job is all about. They are professionals that do a complex and difficult job that requires a high level of concentration and skill. They easily get paid to test video games at their homes.
Video game testing isn’t the highest paying career, especially when you are just starting out. On average, video game testers make somewhere around $8 an hour to begin with. Of course, this is completely dependent on where you work and how good you do your job. Over time, and with more experience, it’s possible to make upwards of $20 an hour, but rarely much more. Don’t buy into those false claims of hundreds or thousands of dollars an hour – it just doesn’t happen like that.
You don’t have to get a college degree to become a video game tester, although it wouldn’t hurt. At a very minimum, testers need a high school diploma, but there are also voluntary professional certifications that train individuals in quality control. The American Society for Quality (ASQ) is one of the top places to get a certification related in the field. It can also be helpful to gain certification in the more technical aspects of the industry including programming languages just to show how well-rounded you are. For those that wish to move up from a job in the industry to a career, it is a good idea to get that degree, you’ll be higher paid and have more chances for advancement.
The game testers job is to help the developer create the best possible product, this is why they are often referred to as quality control inspectors. They can also be considered investigators that must delve deeper than just the surface to uncover discover glitches, programming bugs, broken applications and visual effects that aren’t functioning properly. This kind of detail oriented work isn’t for the easily bored or distracted. It requires the tester to play certain parts of a game over and over again, sometimes for months at a time. If that sounds boring, then this kind of job isn’t for you.
Finding bugs and glitches is just the start, you also have to be able to talk and write about what you’ve found. That means that solid verbal and written skills are a top requirement. Testers have to be able to write bug reports that effectively explain what the problem is and how it was discovered. Developers count on this feedback and when thoughts and ideas are better articulated, they are better able to get to the heart of the matter. Some companies even require their testers to write out test cases that detail strategies for finding and fixing bugs and glitches.
Video game development and beta testing is not a solo endeavor, it’s a team effort from beginning to end. Team players are always more desirable than those that can’t work well with others. It’s the same in the video game testing field. You’ve really got to be able to work closely with other members of the team in order to accomplish the goals set forth. Big egos and bad attitudes simply won’t be tolerated and those that behave this way soon find themselves seeking other employment.
Finding a video game tester job isn’t as easy as you might think. A Google search for the term will come up with all kinds of misleading and often fraudulent websites promising huge payouts for little work. The best thing to do is check out a career site such as Simply Hired or Career Builder. You can also send your resume to to the development studio directly with a cover letter that details why you want to work for them and what you can bring to the table. The bottom line is, you have to do some looking, and you may have to apply to several places before you find one willing to give you the opportunity. Don’t give up if this is really what you want to do, but be patient, it may take a while.
Beta testing jobs, or Quality Control Inspectors don’t make a lot of money, they work long hours and they have to be extremely diligent about the details. Still, it’s a great job to have and it could lead to a higher paying career once you’ve gotten some experience. There are always new games coming out, always new development studios looking for high quality testers and that means there will always be a need for testers. Practice your communication skills, get some training and then get out there, your career is waiting.