careertrend article image
nd3000/iStock/GettyImages

How to Become a Game Tester

Growth Trends for Related Jobs

Whether you prefer an Xbox, computer games or a PlayStation, becoming a game tester may sound like the ideal job. Even though you may picture yourself staying home and getting paid to play video games all day, there’s more to being a game tester than just playing your favorite games. Because many video game testers work from home, it can be an ideal job for a working parent. Many testers use the role as a springboard into video game design.

Job Description

If you love video games, getting paid to play might be your idea of the perfect job. The truth is that much of video game testing is very monotonous. A game tester’s job is to break the game rather than to play it for enjoyment. This means that one of your primary tasks is to look for bugs in a pre-release version of the game. You might have to play the same level over and over again as a different character each time, test every menu and option in the game for functionality, or test combat between each possible combination of characters. In addition to finding bugs, you will need to be able to reproduce the bug and report it to the development team to fix. The game company typically sets a deadline for completing testing with smaller milestones along the way. Some companies require their testers to work from an office, so they can collaborate with the rest of the design team.

Education Requirements

Video game testing is considered an entry-level position in the game industry, so no official education requirements exist. However, because many people use the position as a stepping stone to work their way up in the industry, many video game testers have experience in or are working on a degree in video game design, graphic design or computer science. Video game testers also have to provide their own equipment, whether it’s a specific game console or a computer with sufficient processing power to play the game they’re testing.

Industry

The video game industry continues to turn out a steady stream of console and computer games, all of which need to be tested before they are released to the public. Big name games are being released to a wider audience, and even smaller games can become surprise hits. Additionally, the increasing popularity of mobile gaming means that more of these games are being released every year. Although many mobile games are tested by the designer, some of the larger releases have testing teams.

Years of Experience

Because video game testing is an entry-level position, many people apply to test games, hoping to use it as a way into the game industry. Video game testers are sometimes hired on as employees, and others work on a contract basis in which they are paid per hour or per project. This means that a wide variation in pay exists, depending on the company and the level of experience. Being the lead tester on a team requires more experience and carries more responsibility, but it also comes with higher pay.

  • Entry-level: $16,000 to $38,000
  • 3 to 6 years: $41,000
  • 6 or more years: $58,000

Job Growth Trend

If you’re looking to break into the video game industry, testing video games can be a great starting point. With the increasing popularity of mobile gaming, more companies are designing video games and finding they need people to test those games for bugs. However, this is a job that many people want, which means that a lot of competition may exist for various positions, especially at the larger game companies. Knowing someone who works for a video game designer can be a way to get hired on as a game tester. If you have the patience to test games by playing the same scenario over and over again, video game testing could be a perfect fit for you.