What Video Game Testers Actually Do For Their Job
Video game testers are often perceived as not having to endure the normal work requirements found in most jobs – that they are not required to work on a regular basis in an office or company workspace; that they get to make a great deal of money while playing games and telling people that they are having fun while doing so. The truth isn’t quite so idealistic or glamorous. However, for those that are willing to work hard and put in the effort to develop their career, becoming a video game tester can be the best decision they ever made.
Game testers have jobs that enable them to make an excellent living – top testers earn up to 80k to 100k a year once they have racked up several years of experience and have advanced in their testing and technical expertise. Though entry level wages are closer to 15-20 and hour, for those that stick with it and make a serious effort at building a career as a professional video game tester, the rewards are great.
While video game testers have great jobs, and while they are not like most of your typical 9-5 workers, they do in fact have to get up each day, go to the office or testing lab and work on whatever projects have been assigned to them by their test leads – and projects almost always entail tight deadlines, particularly in the game and software industry. Game testers must exercise and test games rather than simply play them, and demonstrate that as professionals, they can go through a set test of test cases and scenarios, following specific configurations and processes, to test the game thoroughly and expose as many bugs as possible.
This process makes video game testers one of the most critical roles in the gaming industry. Video game testers contribute directly to the process and success of creating a game that is fun, playable, and functions precisely as it was designed to function.
For anyone interested in becoming a full time video game tester, the process starts by making sure they are ready for everything the career asks of them. Video game testers essentially learn to analyze something that is supposed to be entertainment. Video game testers work closely with various different builds of a game, writing down every bug that you encounter as you play the game and preparing various reports that will tell the other people involved in the creation of the game what you have encountered.
Game testers follow close protocols for how to test and report bugs and then repeat the process whenever a new build is released. Then may spend hours working on one menu or days on one level and when the deadlines get tight, they are often expected to work long hours.
However, what draws so many people to becoming a game tester is that they will often get to work in the same offices as the people behind the biggest and best new games on the market. They will be able to learn from the best testers and programmers in the industry. In due time, video game testers gain valuable experience and, if they choose, are able to establish a long-term career for themselves that moves beyond testing into roles such as game design, programming, QA management, graphic arts, or even the producer.