How to Become a Game Tester
Top Tips & Advice For Getting A Paid Game Tester Job
There’s no denying that playing video games is the ultimate escapism.
Whether you love Lara Croft in Tomb Raider, prefer Princess Peach in Mario Kart or think Scorpion in Mortal Kombat is a superior choice - is there anything better than delving deep into an alternative universe and absorbing an entirely new alter ego?
If you answered with an emphatic no, you might be asking yourself how your passion for gaming can be turned into a paid project? Well, wonder no more! Today, we’re shining a spotlight on the role of professional game tester. It’s a job that tends to inspire plenty of excitement and enthusiasm, so join us as we learn more about the who, what and how’s of becoming a video game tester below.
What Is A Game Tester?
A game tester does pretty much what it says on the tin! As the name suggests, they thoroughly test video games for bugs, glitches or issues, prior to its release.
Also known as a beta game tester, or QA tester (which stands for quality assurance), they must play a video game that’s in its final stage of production and thoroughly evaluate it for problems. Often this will take multiple attempts, with alternative options selected within the game each time. If the testing does reveal any problems or errors, they are reported to the game developer.
Whilst being a game tester is certainly enjoyable, it’s worth pointing out that it might not be all the fun and games you’d expect. After all, it is a job! There is a clear distinction between leisurely playing a game and rigorously testing it.
It’s an important job in the chain of video game production. If there are elements of a video game that are unplayable following its release, it can damage the reputation of the video game production company.
What Does A Game Tester Do Day-To-Day?
A game tester must attempt to emulate and foresee all the potential decisions made by players during normal gameplay. Conversely, they must also anticipate things an average player might not do, such as getting stuck or obstructed in a part of the game.
In fact, the more unconventional they are in their playing, and the more scenarios that they play out, the better. Ultimately, the main purpose of a game tester is to break the game and uncover any errors.
Once they’ve received an advanced copy of the game, they will be expected to thoroughly test all the menus to ensure everything works correctly. If the game offers beginner, intermediate and advanced stages of play, each combination must be played. Similarly, if the game offers play as more than one character, each one must be tested.
A detailed description of errors submitted to the development team must include accurate instructions on how to find each bug. Once the developers have resolved each issue, a game tester will be asked to test the revised edition.
Other duties you can expect on a daily basis include:
- Testing the game on different devices including PC and console versions.
- Verifying that the bugs the developers have resolved are in fact fixed.
- Checking for typos, spelling mistakes and grammar both in the game and in any literature (instructions, manuals) the game includes.
- Playing various combinations of the game, using different settings, characters and options.
- Noting anything that impacts the experience, gameplay or visuals.
Video Game Tester Salary
Video game testers can either be paid an hourly wage or an annual salary. Generally though, it is more common for testers to be paid an hourly wage of £8-£10. Salaried jobs are rare but those that do exist tend to pay from £12,00-£20,000 a year.
Having said that, the amount you can expect to earn as a video game tester is very much based on the company you’re working for, its location and your experience. Experienced testers are valued as they are typically faster at finding bugs and more accurate than junior QA testers.
How To Get A Job As A Games Tester: Top Tips
Make Sure You Have Valuable Video Game Tester Skills
If you can demonstrate you have the following skills and abilities, they are particularly relevant to working as a game tester:
- Strong writing and communication skills are highly valued as you will be expected to describe, clearly and effectively, how and where you found glitches in a game.
- Basic troubleshooting skills are required. For instance, you will have to repetitively recreate the specific sequence that led to a glitch.
- An enthusiasm and knowledge for video games, of all genres, can be a great asset - Broaden your gaming taste and don’t simply limit yourself to your favourite genre. Mix things up by playing on multiple platforms and devices too (pc, consoles, mobile).
- You must be patient and tolerant of repetitive work. It’s possible it will be requested of you to play a level over and over, performing every possible task or scenario, to the point that it even becomes frustrating.
Participate In Public Beta Testing
Many game companies offer public testing of games and this is a great way to get experience.
Head to Game Pressure to find out which companies are currently on the lookout for testers. Typically these jobs are not paid, but they will provide you with valuable experience. You’ll learn, first hand, how to test games and craft bug reports. The more experience you get, the better your prospects are when interviewing for a paid position.
Qualifications For Game Testers
Whilst there are no specific educational requirements for becoming a game tester, there are a few qualifications that will likely improve your chances of landing a job.
A professional certificate of achievement in topics such as software testing, software design, software engineering, computer programming, computer science are all beneficial.
Still, even if you have minimal or zero skills in coding, programming or design, becoming a video game tester is possible. As an entry-level position, it can also be a great springboard into other jobs in the gaming industry. Showing that you keep abreast of industry knowledge by writing your own gaming blog or going to industry events will also demonstrate to potential employers your enthusiasm for the role.
Know Where To Apply For Game Tester Jobs
Video Game Tester Jobs & Apprenticeships at Wired Sussex
At Wired Sussex, we regularly update our jobs board with gaming opportunities. Be it an internship, or fully paid position, keep an eye out for your dream job. Simply filter your job search by ‘Games’ to discover which companies are currently looking for game testers.