This is the most comprehensive guide on how to become a game tester that includes what it takes to become a video game tester, what they really do, how much they get paid, what skills are needed for it, where to look for such jobs, and much more.
If you have the passion for playing games, then you will definitely like TESTING GAME as well, and the most important thing, you will get paid as well.
The Real Fact About Game Testing That Nothing Will Tell You
The gaming industry is the fastest growing industry in the world. A lot of multibillion companies has the job ready for those that have the right training/skill.
One of these jobs is GAME TESTING.
Just like any other job, a game tester’s job is a real job, and it is NOT like playing a game and saying whether you like it or not. A game tester jobs are generally not a 9-5 job, but they are neither ‘from the comfort of your home’ type of job.
You will have bosses, requirements, and pressure to meet the deadline. And of course, as your experience and position grow, so does your salary and opportunity to work for big gaming companies which pays much better.
However, to land your first video game testing job, you need to know how to put yourself in front of the right people so that you will get the advantage over all other candidates. And if you want to learn about these secrets, then you have reached the right place.
Being in the gaming industry for 13 years and working in many roles such as tester, designer, programmer, writer, and technical director, I can give you lots of inside information that most of the people can’t.
So let’s check out the first chapter of how to become a game tester.
Chapter 1: Is Game Testing For You? 2 Rules of Game Testing:
Whenever I start working with a new team of game testers or introduce new members in our team, I gave them two rules:
- Rule 1: Don’t Panic
- Rule 2: Trust No One
Rule #1: Don’t Panic:
In a gaming project, panic is a bad thing. When the person is the panicking, and he chooses not to panic, but he doesn’t realize it is happening. Panic is an irrational behavior to circumstances that lead testers to cause harm to the gaming project.
Failing to notice a defect, or testing a wrong build, or sending the developer on a wild-goose chase to a non-exist bug may not harm you physically but it will result in extra time, extra money, and the loss of sales and reputation.
I conclude panic in the game project happens for five reasons: Unfamiliar, Unprepared, Unrested, Under Pressure, and Nearsighted.
Rule #2: Don’t Trust Anyone:
When it comes to business, trust is a significant issue. Especially in the gaming industry, where they are a huge investment involved from investors.
In fact, the area of TESTING is built in the project because something can’t be trusted.
Media and public don’t trust your game that it will be that exciting and fun as shown in the trailer(s) that’s why they demand screenshots, demos, critics’ reviews, and gameplay videos.
Even publishers don’t trust the developers that their game will be free from defects, they hire their in-house game testing team before releasing it for the public.
Don’t take it personally, but when there is money, trusting is an issue.
It takes a lot of money, resources, hard work, and time to develop a single game. And if it doesn’t come out right then, it quickly becomes a victim of rants, and complaints posted on the public board. Make sure you don’t let it happen to you.
Chapter 2 – What Exactly Does Game Testers Do?
If you know anything about programming, then you should know that the coding that is required to make modern games is super long. Your job as a game tester is to find out mistakes in these games and report them to the game development team.
While different game testing companies have a different way of finding errors in their coding, the most common is to go through the whole game and make sure every single item, weapon, object, event, and so on are working as they should be. As you know, all these latest MMO games have hundreds of weapons and skills so that the game testing job can become extremely tedious.
Video game tester’s job is to find glitches or problems with the gameplay, music, script, graphics, and different areas of the game. Once you find these errors, you have to report them and tell the game designers how to reproduce them.
Video game testers also have to test the limitations of the game. For example, many players want to experiment with different things that game not designed for – such as building the strongest army, reaching to the tallest building, and so forth. Game tester has to perform all these things and notify the development team what happens when they do the specific action.
In short, a game tester has to break the game before the public get the chance to do it.
Types Of Testing:
When it comes to the expectations and tasks that a gaming company has from their game tester, then it varies a lot.
Video game testing is broken down into two areas of testing:
- Static or Structured Testing
- Dynamic or Unstructured Testing (also called Adhoc Testing)
If you want to learn about how to become a game tester, then you should know about the difference between static and dynamic testing.
Static or Structure Testing – In static testing, the game development team provides a test case to the game tester to follow. This test case includes instructions for testing different aspects or areas of the game and check if it has any error. The test case includes things like running against the wall to make sure if a character goes through them or checking if the game interface is working.
Dynamic Or Unstructured Testing – In this type of testing, a game tester has to play a certain level or map and find glitches. Game testers have to go through every area of the game and try unique things that they think public might do.
Chapter 3: What It Takes To Become A Game Tester?
We are in the year in which unemployment is at its peak. Millions of people are searching for how to become a video game tester to make a side-income. There are hundreds of candidates for any job. Similarly, when it comes to working in an industry that remained unaffected in past recessions, then no one wants to waste this chance.
Although, the game tester doesn’t need any degree or particular skill but having it will increase your chances of getting hired by big game development companies.
Here are a few skills you can learn to improve your chances:
|Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator||MS Excel and MS Doc (to create reports)|
|Adobe Flash and 2D Animation||Written and Verbal English Communication Skill|
|2D Sketching||Excellent Math Skill|
|Time Management||C/C++ Language|
|English Communication||Python Language|
These are some of the skills that you need to learn to find a variety of jobs in the gaming industry. You may not need to learn all of these, but having basic knowledge about them will definitely put you above than other candidates and ultimately increases of getting hired.
Some big gaming companies like Rockstar, Blizzard, EA Games, and others now require candidates to have a degree in the related field – something in the game design or programming.
Don’t worry about it; you can start with the small gaming companies that don’t require a degree and gain enough experience that will come over this degree requirement.
And even if you don’t have budget or time for the traditional 4-year degree, then still there are many courses online that are either very inexpensive or comes free.
Here are some of the courses you can take:
|Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator courses||Graphic art courses|
|Game design courses||Math courses|
|Computer programming courses||Writing courses|
Honorable Mention: Udemy is one of the best sites where you can learn these courses. Courses in this site are just $10, and I prefer it over Youtube videos because it shows a progress meter that works as a motivation tool to finish your course. They have an App as well that you can use to learn anywhere.
There are some more ways to improve your chances of getting a game tester job that we will discuss in the next chapter. Let’s start
Chapter 4: How To Prepare To Be A Game Tester:
This is a crucial step of how to become a game tester, so please read it carefully.
When it comes to becoming a game tester, there are several ways that you can use to gain the skill without shelling out a lot of money to training school.
In most cases, experience matters a lot than a degree. That’s why I will tell you some ways to improve your experience in gaming without spending a lot of money.
Create A Game Mods: With game mods, you can do unique things like changing a character’s cloth, color, or even replacing the whole character. Many gaming companies provide source files of their games to allow players to edit it. Of course, you can’t edit MMOG (a game that store data on servers) like PUBG, Fortnite, Counter-Strike, etc.
Local Gaming Events: If you are a member of any gaming community doesn’t matter if it is online or offline, then you can arrange local gaming events or competitions. It will show gaming companies that you are taking action to get more people to involve in gaming instead of just playing games.
Product Testing: When gaming companies hire employees for their game testing, they are especially looking for a testing experience. It doesn’t matter if you have kitchen utensils testing experience, it will add value in your CV. Many developers and manufacturers offer their software and products for testing that you can use for gaining testing experience.
Beta Testing: Beta testing offers excellent opportunity for you to increase your game testing experience. Many companies release the beta version of their games that are ‘closed for public,’ and they want beta testers to report any bug that they found inside the game. Some sites release news regarding beta versions. So make sure you grab this opportunity and don’t forget to include email screenshot in your CV if you receive word of appreciation from the game developer.
Chapter 5: How Much Game Testers Make In A Month? (Salary)
Game testing is not working a few days in a week and pulling up six-figure income. There will be times when the games will be on the edge of releasing to the public, and you will be working 80+ hours in a week just to make sure everything is perfect.
You will get extra pay for your overtime from companies that will push up game tester’s salary. On average, a game tester is making $35,000 a year in the United States.
Game tester usually gets hourly payment. The more work you put in, the higher your paycheck will be. Several things affect game tester salary such as, what level of game tester you are and since how long you have been with the company.
Many game testers usually get $8-15 per hour, but some top-level game testers get even $80 per hour. Some game testers also get more than the $80 per hour because they are working since very long and have degrees/skills that very few have.
You can reach their level by increasing your experience and learning skills that I mentioned above. Just like any other job, you will get increment and yearly bonus, but it will take very long to become top-level game tester.
Chapter 6: How To Find A Game Testing Job
This is one of the important chapters of this guide on how to become a game tester because you need to know the right sources from where you can get a game tester job.
You have to go hunting a game tester job. Yep! You have to hunt for a job. Gaming companies don’t usually post game testing jobs in the newspaper because they are looking for specific and trusted people for these positions.
You have to find job vacancies at the very minute they open. The best way is to make it happen is to meet people from different gaming companies. Keep in regular contact with them and tell them to notify you if there is any job vacancy for a game tester.
You have to look for a game testing job both online and through your contacts. Your goal should be to get a game testing job in any gaming company, it doesn’t matter if it is a low pay job. Once you get the job, then you can work your way up to get your dream job.
Where To Start Your Search?
When you start looking for a game tester jobs then I suggest you start with smaller companies. Although, they don’t pay much but they are more apt to look beginner resume and can offer you a job as compared to big gaming companies, which pay much higher.
Where to start?
If you search for “gaming companies,” then you will find thousands of these companies. But as you can’t visit each of them, that is why you need to filter out big companies for now (if you are a complete beginner).
You can also look for jobs in gaming job sites. Yes! As the gaming industry is growing, many job vaccines get posted every day on the sites that I mentioned below:
- http://www.naukri.com (job site for those in India)
Beside these gaming job sites, you can also look in the career/job section of any gaming site. You will find game tester jobs.
A New Beginning!
15 Years ago, when I was looking for a job in the gaming industry, there was no proper guide that can teach me or give me inside information on how to become a game tester.
After establishing myself in this industry, my people were asking me many questions related to the game testing job. Although it sounds good to get paid by playing games, but playing and testing are both different things.
If you like to become a game tester and get a high paycheck, then it takes a long time now. By following the steps above, you can climb the ladder and get your first job as a game tester. I highly suggest you to KEEP LEARNING as technology is changing at a fast speed, and if you don’t update yourself with the latest programming language or designing software, then you will be left behind.
With that being said, I want you to follow these steps for how to become a game tester that I mentioned above and let me know if you got your first job as a game tester in the comment box below. No one will be happier than me.