As a video game tester, you serve game developers by identifying gameplay flaws known as bugs; plus, you earn money doing what you love---playing video games. Aside from earning extra cash, game testing helps you procure opportunities to move onto higher, more specialised jobs, such as production designer, lead tester or project manger. According to Payscale.com, the average hourly earnings for an entry-level game tester is £6.40 to £8.60. Farhad Javidi, director of the Simulation, Modeling & Visualization Center at Central Piedmont Community College says, "Testers can expect to work up to 12 hours a day, seven days a week."
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Build a game tester's mentality. As a game tester, you exhibit intangible and tangible skill sets; skills you encompass that define your gaming ventures, passions and education. Game testers should have the following skills: high school diploma; computer literacy; a demonstration and understanding of English language and writing skills since the tester must communicate with developers, communicate findings and explain how to reproduce bugs flaws; game programming knowledge (not required but helpful); a strong understanding of game elements, game play, genres, game styles and platforms; and an enjoyment for playing video games, duh.
Know what the job requires. Game testers, also known as quality assurance (QA) testers, do more than play the game. Game testers report major and minor bugs through written communication, apply and learn testing methodologies, and assist design teams in identifying game imbalances. In addition, according Javidi, "[You] may be opening and closing a door or climbing a wall for 12 hours a day."
Create an effective cover letter and resume Building a resume requires an entirely new set of skills and knowledge, skills and knowledge readily found in other articles (see References section for tips). Game developers recognise and hire game testers with some knowledge, experience and desire for game testing. If you have no prior experience testing games, developers will want to see that you have a college degree or have taken course work within game development.
Search game developer/publisher websites, such as EA Electronics, to discover the best outlook for finding prospective game-testing jobs. Game development schools, specifically trade/technical schools, offer programs and internships with partnered game developers.
Find job openings. You will find several job openings for game testers available, but with every job, especially entry-level jobs, you should apply to several positions to increase the likelihood of receiving a response and an interview.
Understand how game interviews function. Game testing interviews require a different approach from traditional job interviews. To increase the likelihood of success, you should command some knowledge of game development, game jargon, knowledge of technical “bug” issues, and knowledge of different genres in the event questions involving these issues arise during an interview.
Tips and warnings
- Research resume and cover letter writing, specifically visiting sites that will help you construct an award-winning resume and cover letters. Always remember: Your resume should grab prospective employers by the collar, and whisper, “Look! Goal-oriented, motivated, passionate, game tester for hire.”
- Visit, join and ask local game forums to help you network, obtain job leads and learn about game development.
- Research the company you are applying to; it is best to know the company's primary focus in the game industry.
- Visit game career sites (many of these sites offer free services and forums for game careers).
- Attend game conferences to gain exposure and network.
- Study the kinds of testing bugs that occur. (See Sloperama.com in the Resources section.)
- Plan on attending a trade/technical school for gaming, you should ask the career centre for internships/job posting with partnered video game companies.
- Avoid all sites that ask for any type of payment.
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