How to Become a Video Game Tester: 5 Easy Steps
Becoming a video game tester is the best way to kick-start your career in the gaming industry. If you love playing games or working with computers, it may be the right career path to take.
Moreover, the demand for QA testers in the video game industry will explode in the coming years. A research report published by Market Research Future (MRFR) projects that the video game industry will grow by 20.5% between 2022 and 2032.
So the best time to get started is now!
In this game testing tutorial, you will learn:
- Who is a Game Tester?
- How to Become a Game Tester?
- Roles and responsibilities of a Game Tester
- Skills a game tester needs to stay ahead
- Game Testing Process
- Where to find game testing jobs?
- Is being a game tester worth it?
Who is a Game Tester?
A game tester is someone who plays all the levels in a video game during its stages of development to pick out flaws and bugs that could cause a poor user experience.
He plays the game in all styles to ensure that every function works as the developers intend.
Thus, ‘quality assurance testers’ first goal is not the fun but to detect glitches in the game and report them to the game designers. With the delivered report, the game programming team will then know which codes to remove or improve with.
How to Become a Game Tester?
Now, follow these steps to become a video game tester:
Step 1) Get School certificates
To build a career in QA testing, getting a degree or a high school certificate might be helpful. It can help you pass job screenings and equip you with the necessary communication and writing skills you need to advance.
Step 2) Get technical knowledge
You have to gain technical knowledge of game testing. You will also become a better game tester, using tools, and discussing more technical details with the developers. It could make your career a smooth ride.
Step 3) Improve your gaming skills
A game company that wants to hire a game tester would want to take someone who knows the game and who is passionate about it. Polish your gaming skills by familiarizing yourself with terms and trends in the industry. Get your hands dirty on Xbox, Nintendo, Playstation, and other gaming consoles. Join online gaming communities and actively follow gaming industry news.
Step 4) Engage in beta game testing
Sharpen your game testing abilities by engaging in beta testing events. While some companies would alert you when they need beta testers, others will not. You can join a community to stay well-informed of the latest beta testing opportunities.
Step 5) Improve your resume
The quality of your resume goes a long way in determining whether you will take the position or not. So, it should detail your skills and experience as a game tester.
If you are unsure what skills you should have, search for video game tester jobs online and see the highlighted skills and requirements.
Roles and responsibilities of a Game Tester
Here are other roles you will perform when in this position.
Play games to completion:
Your first role is to play a game under review from the first level to the last. This includes exploring all the features available at each level and being cautious of little changes or glitches.
Break the game by playing it in all possible ways:
If the game is with many characters, For example, a fighting game like Mortal Kombat, you have to play each character with every other one, and in various locations possible. You will also tweak the difficulty levels and other available settings.
Play and compare different versions of the game (if available):
The quality assurance of a new video game product might not be complete if it is untested with the previous versions. Therefore, as a QA tester, it is your duty to go over older ones to learn the errors and how much it’s been improved in the more recent ones.
Assess the accuracy of user manuals and promotional materials:
It is the direct duty of the game tester team to review and confirm the information contained in the user manuals and promotional materials of a video game.
Documenting and reporting issues to the developers:
As you play through the game, record all glitches and bugs encountered. Prepare the report afterward and send it to the game development team.
Recommend the removal, addition, or modification of game features:
At the end of the report, a game tester should have recommendations for the game designers. Suggest edits and additions that will improve the general user experience of the product.
Skills a game tester needs to stay ahead
Knowledge of the game industry:
To become Game Tester, you need to know how to play games and about the gaming industry. Stay abreast of the trends, technologies, and competitions.
Game testing is not what you do with your mind wandering different places. You require to pay close attention to every detail, and should be able to pick up the slightest error.
What will you do when the common methods aren’t working? Think outside the box, right?
A QA tester must always have this spark of creativity to get things done when the conventional procedures seem to fail.
Remember your primary duty is to find bugs and report them to the developers. You need to have a good combination of communication skills to pull through, which involves technical writing, speaking, and listening.
Mastering the usage of software and tools of communication is also key. Word processors, spreadsheets, and project management software are some that you can’t omit.
Time and People management:
You will have deadlines to meet and reports to write afterward. If you can’t manage your time, the company will find a replacement.
You also need to talk with different people in the teams involved in the game development. Your ability to communicate and relate without problems is a key skill.
Ability to work under pressure:
Staying calm and effective during unfavorable circumstances is a skill you should have as a game tester.
Game Testing Process
Video game testing involves processes that allow the QA team to root out bugs and glitches in a video game.
Here is how it is done:
Step 1) Familiarization with the game:
A game tester begins by understanding the game, and this would include understanding the storyboard, architecture, characters, rules, and levels.
He/she also compares the new version with the last build to find out features that have been cut out and gives a configuration to the new one. With this, a game tester can plan and design his test.
Step 2) Prepare for testing:
The game publishers prepare documents stating the game testing strategies at this stage. They also set up the test environment needed by the QA experts. The video game testers will be required to create test cases.
Step 3) Test Execution:
It is the actual testing stage when the new build is run against the test strategies provided. It is done with keen sight to find more errors and bugs.
Step 4) Preparation of result report:
After the test suites have been executed, the tester makes a report, stating all bugs and glitches he found during the test. He presents the information in the best format the game developers will understand.
Step 5) Debugging:
The game designers will review the game code for modifications or for removal, following the report to fix the glitches.
Step 6) Re-Testing:
The whole process returns to the first step after the developers have made their corrections. The QA team has to re-test to see if it meets the game design target.
Where to find game testing jobs?
Gaming companies usually advertise vacancies of game testing positions on their websites. You might want to keep an eye on your dream game company for such opportunities.
Also, various job boards across the web are good spots to find video game testing jobs, and a simple web search will reveal them to you.
As a game freak, you might have enjoyed playing in one of those game studios around. Check. They might have game testing jobs.
Is being a game tester worth it?
Considering the amount of information you have ingested so far, you might wonder if you should begin with the first step to becoming a game tester.
Well, it could appear to be a daunting career, but it is also fun-filled, lucrative, and improves your problem-solving skills.
Think of it as being part of a game development team that improves manual dexterity reasoning and bridge social gaps. You can advance further and join the dev team as a game developer.
How about having access to pre-released video games and different gaming platforms?
So, if you love playing video games but also have this innate drive to point out designers’ flaws, taking the game tester role might be the right decision.
Get yourself ready and go ahead if it is your dream job!
❓ How much do game testers make per hour?
Game testers make an average of $15.18 per hour, and beginners usually start from $7 to $10 per hour.
Also, certain factors like your skill, experience, location, work hours, and the company determine how much you will make as a game tester.
Experienced testers working with big game companies in full-time roles tend to earn more. They also enjoy more work stability, unlike contract/freelance QA testers.
⚡ Do I need a college Degree or Diploma to become a Game Tester?
While some video game tester jobs do not require that you have a college degree, a few companies do.
Simple research I did reveal more. Out of 11 game tester job adverts in the USA listed on Glassdoor, only 5 companies out of 11 wanted only graduates to apply.
Having a degree in any of these courses is a plus:
- Game Design
- Computer Science
- Computer programming
- Software Design
- Software Engineering
- Software Quality Assurance
- Software Development
- Graphic Communication
- Computer programming
- Electronic Arts
🚀 Is Game Testing a Stable Job?
The video game tester job is a real one but with varying stability. Some video game companies would take you on full-time roles, while others would contract and freelance. Your stability as a QA tester also depends on your skills and the unique qualities that make you stand out in the industry.
🏅 What are the job requirements for game testing?
Job requirements for a game tester position vary across companies. Yet, there are common features:
- Year(s) of game testing experience
- Possession of problem-solving skills
- Candidates should be detail-oriented
- Good communication skills; oral and written
- Ability to work alone unsupervised as well as in a team
- Good interpersonal and conflict resolution skills
- Skill in Word and Excel or similar software
- Possession of certificates in relevant fields
- Knowledge of the gaming industry and game consoles
- Some level of programming skills
👉 Do video game testers have to play games in-house or remotely?
Game testers can either work remotely or in the game studio of a testing agency or game development company. Some companies would prefer that you work as an in-house tester to have all the systems you need and be face-to-face with the video game development team.
However, everything still falls back to the job description and contract. Your availability also comes in when you are searching for the right QA tester position.
❗ Do you need to buy systems for testing games, or does the company provide them?
If you are working as an in-house game tester, it is the duty of the game development company to provide the computer and gaming console systems that you need to carry out your testing job. However, But, if you are working from home, you will most likely have to buy your own equipment like game consoles and televisions.