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How To Become A Game Tester: All You Need to Know to Land Your Next Virtual Job

Updated: February 8, 2024 | Published: May 3, 2021

Updated: February 8, 2024

Published: May 3, 2021

How To Become A Game Tester Landing Your Next Virtual Job copy

Are you passionate about video games and wondering how to become a game tester? While a passion for gaming and knowledge of video games are great starting points, more technical analysis is needed to become a professional game tester today. 

As the video gaming industry grows in size and complexity, you may be called upon to do more than play video games. You want to ensure you have all it takes to become a professional game tester today and land your next job. 

In this post, we explore the job description of a game tester, the requirements for becoming a game tester, and tips for landing your next video game testing job. 

What is a Video Game Tester? 

Though the job title seems self-explanatory, game testing involves much more than just playing video games before they go to market. 

Video game testers do quality assurance when playing games or portions of a game currently in development. A tester works hand-in-hand with the development team, including programmers and developers, to ensure that the gameplay is smooth and has no bugs.  

When testers play video games, they’re not necessarily doing it to enjoy gaming. Game testers often repeat levels or a sequence in games to ensure every option or path in a game has been tried. When problems arise in a game, they’re responsible for taking notes so the technical teams can fix the glitches. 

What Does a Video Game Tester Do Exactly? 

Now that you have a broader idea of what a video game tester is, we’ll take a closer look at what they do daily. 

When testing a game, a few general steps are followed regularly. These steps are then repeated over and over again on the identical sequences until its perfect, and then the game tester moves on to the next task or sequence. 

So, what does the testing look like? Here’s a breakdown: 

  • Play a sequence or level and look out for bugs or glitches 
  • If you find a glitch, figure out how it can be reproduced 
  • Report and record the bug or glitch in the relevant reporting system 
  • Send the report to the programming and developing team, who will try to fix it 
  • Retest the sequence when the bug is removed and start the process over again for new bugs 

As a video game tester, you’re likely a seasoned gamer. So, another one of your tasks is to play the game in a way that the developers perhaps didn’t anticipate in order to seek out flaws or defects in the gameplay.  

If a video game goes to the market with faulty glitches, quality assurance testers take most of the blame. Some video game testers working in poorly managed gaming companies may also be subjected to a poor work-life balance due to being overworked. As a result, a game testing job can be more stressful and demanding than many careers. 

What Skills Do Video Game Testers Need to Have? 

First and foremost, video game testers need patience. Video game testing isn’t all fun and games but requires a keen eye for detail and the ability to go over something several times until it’s perfected. 

Imagine how frustrating it is when you can’t get past a specific obstacle or level when you play for fun. Now, imagine your job is to work through that frustration daily until the obstacle is surmounted. Furthermore, you don’t usually get to choose the game you test, so patience is critical if you’re playing something you’d rather avoid. 

It’s also essential to be highly detail-oriented in video game testing. Since the job requires you to find glitches and flaws, you’ll need to be extremely focused to pick up on the small details that either the developers or the average gamer might miss. 

Not only that, but you’ll also need to be creative since you’ll need to think outside the box to break a game since you’re looking for those one-in-a-million chance scenarios. 

Additionally, your communication skills are vital since you’ll work closely with other teams to report and fix problems. You’ll need to have effective communication skills to report the bugs you find so that the programmers can have a good enough understanding of the issue to fix it.  

Other requirements to become a great game tester today might include: 

  • Discipline and hard-working attitude – you must be focused on solving problems and making improvements even when not playing games. 
  • Ability to stay focused for long periods and meet strict deadlines – you must be able to concentrate on a project long enough to complete it within the required time. 
  • Ability to prioritize work and manage workload – you must be able to organize projects based on complexity and significance. 
  • Programming skills – although not a requirement, programming skills help you stand out to employers as a game tester and progress your career faster. 

What are the Benefits of Being a Video Game Tester? 

A career in game testing is one of the best to pursue today for several reasons. For starters, game testers get to do something they love or enjoy. In addition, they also get to access the latest games in the gaming industry and their cheat codes before many other consumers. 

From a career-advancement point of view, becoming a game tester can open doors to pursue many other opportunities. Often, game testers gain entry into the field of video game production and become video game developers. So, if you’re interested in creating video games and not only testing them, starting as a game tester can be a great way to accomplish this goal. 

Video game development isn’t the only path you can take if you want to move on from game testing eventually. Game testers can also advance to careers in video game graphic design, quality assurance engineering, project management roles, or testing team managers. 

There are ample opportunities for growth within the field of gaming. Of course, growing into a higher position also depends on your work ethic, performance, and technical skills. Still, video game testing can help you hone and sharpen those skills, making you a prime candidate for other gaming positions. 

Opportunities within the field are sure to become more and more in demand as gaming is a growing industry. Revenue from gaming has increased exponentially only in the last decade, and by 2028, the industry could generate $300 million. 

Tips on How to Become a Video Game Tester 

It’s easy to become a game tester today. However, if you’re excited about learning how to become a game tester and finding a job in this field, you should also know that it’s a very competitive industry.  

Many people with a love of gaming want to work with video games, so there usually are a lot of applicants for video game tester jobs. 

You can stand out from the crowd in a few ways. Take a look at these tips to help you build a solid career as a video game tester. 

Pick up Some Technical Language 

Becoming a video game tester doesn’t require a bachelor’s degree or any other degree for that matter.  Most video game testing positions only require a high school diploma, but you’ll impress future employers if you can prove that you have the technical skills that accompany your other gaming skills. 

The American Software Testing Qualification Board (ASTQB) is a great place to look to gain that extra technical knowledge that can put you over the edge. There, you can get a certificate in software testing from the International Software Testing Qualifications Board (ISTQB). With this, you’ll have the technical knowledge you’ll need to start work as a game tester and can pursue higher levels on the job. 

That said, if your goal is to continue to work in the gaming industry after starting as a video game tester, you will likely need a degree in something related. 

Since game testing is often done part-time or on a temporary contract, you can do this job while studying for a degree. This way, you’ll already have a foot in the door at a gaming studio once you graduate. 

Several degrees are helpful and will allow you to grow within a company and move into a different role. Here are some of the degrees you should consider if you’re after a career in gaming: 

  • Software Development 
  • Software Engineering 
  • Computer Sciences 
  • Computer Programming 
  • Game Design  
  • Graphic Design 
  • Software Design 
  • Video Game Development and Programming 
  • Interactive Media Design 
  • Computer Animation 
  • Digital Cinematography 

Another route to landing your dream gaming job is to begin as a game tester and then take certification programs based on the area you’re interested in pursuing. Depending on what aspect of gaming you want to work in, this can be a quicker and more cost-effective way to get the professional training you need. 

If you are looking for a way to earn a degree that doesn’t break the bank, consider doing an online degree in  Computer Science at University of the People. Not only is the program tuition-free, but you can learn online at your own convenience. This way, you’ll have no problem working as a video game tester while earning a degree relevant to your field. 

Work on Your Gaming Skills 

Everyone applying to video game testing jobs loves gaming and is probably good at it. Being passionate about video games is needed to work as a game tester. You’ll also need to prove you have the gaming skills to go along with it. 

To improve your gaming skills, you should learn gaming terminology, including technical ones. You should also diversify the types of games you play to get a better understanding of more genres.  

As you practice, try to use different consoles and gadgets, such as laptops, desktops, and mobile phones, to gain more experience. You should also practice identifying features to improve in the games you play and describing each gaming experience in detail to sharpen your skills in these areas. 

Lastly, look at blogs or groups on social media to familiarize yourself with gaming communities and terms and to grow your network. 

Get Game Testing Experience 

Before you apply for game testing jobs, try and get some experience in the field. There are public forums where you can search for public beta testing gigs. These jobs can help you learn some basic skills about what to look out for when testing a game, as well as how to spot bugs and fill out and submit reports. Furthermore, by participating in public beta testing, you’ll better understand the job and see if this position is right for you. 

Build a Strong Resume 

Game developers always prioritize video game testers with attractive resumes when considering them for positions. You should customize your game-testing resume based on the job description for each job application. 

On your resume, highlight the relevant skills and experiences and be detailed as possible. Also, proofread all your resumes to show employers that you’re detail-oriented. 

Video Game Tester Salary Expectations 

The salary for game testers can vary depending on your location, the company, how many hours you work, and many other factors. 

Some video game testers are paid hourly, while others are paid a salary. However, it’s also worth noting that some gaming studios see game testers at the bottom of the food chain, so their salaries are sometimes low. So, if you’re seeking a higher-paying position, you’ll have to do your homework and find a studio that values quality assurance and testing employees. 

According to Game Industry Career Guide, game testing salaries can fall between $18,000 and $55,000 annually. It depends on your skills and whether you’re an entry-level or experienced senior game tester. 

Another factor to consider is that it’s common for game testers to be part-time or temporary employees. That’s why a lot of video game testers are paid hourly. Often, game testing is more in demand when there’s a specific game or project that needs to pass QA. However, game testers aren’t needed when there are no projects in the testing phase, so they’re not always kept on as permanent employees. 

That said, when a new project needs testing, game testers also work overtime, which can also affect their overall salaries. Overall, a game tester’s salary is influenced by many factors, so it’s ideal to speak to other game testers in your area or at the studios where you’re applying to get a better idea of what you’ll earn. 

The Bottom Line 

Now that you’ve learned all there is to know about how to become a game tester, the next step is to plan how you will land your first entry-level job.  

Start by assessing your skills and filling in the skills that need further development. Then, start networking with gaming studios near you looking for game testers to better understand what they look for in a candidate.