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Being a game tester is an excellent way to make money for online gamers. As awesome as it sounds, testing games isn’t all that it’s cut out to be.
Video game testing is a complicated career that needs you to do more than just working your way through pre-released video games.
In other words, being the most accomplished Halo player within your circle doesn’t mean you get qualified automatically to test games for a living.
Most people use video game testing to boost their careers in the gaming industry. Others use it as a way to save money on video games. This could be primarily because testing games don’t require an extensive educational background.
In fact, most Millennials are attracted to the position mainly because of the opportunities rather than the pay. What qualifications does one need to be a beta game tester?
Read on to find out a couple of critical points to take in before considering video game testing as your ideal career.
Who are Game Testers and What Do They Do?
Simply put, a game tester is a skilled gamer who gets paid to test video games before they hit the shelves. He/she is tasked with the responsibility of (as the name suggests) testing games. They do this to ensure that the games they’re testing are free of bugs, glitches or other errors.
Testers don’t play the game per se, they analyze it instead. Game companies hire them to uncover any flaws in the system by playing all the levels, using all characters/avatars and generally maneuvering their way through the game.
As a tester, you’ll be expected to perform different tasks within the game to point out any glitch or bug. A bug is basically an error in programming that occurs in various forms. Game testers also look out for other features such as:
- Graphics or audio problems
- Copyright issues
- Grammatical or spelling mistakes within the text
- Story inconsistencies
- Location glitches
Bugs become a major concern when you get trapped at a certain point within the game. There’s no telling how many bugs there could be in a single game. Thanks to the game testing profession, numerous games are almost flawless upon release.
Among the major responsibilities a game tester is tasked with is to play a game in more than one way. This is achieved by taking an angle that few gamers think of taking to ensure an error-free outcome.
This might sound repetitive and time-consuming, but it’s worth every penny.
Testing games is one career that’s often monotonous and highly-detailed. The monotony arises when you have to run through matrix testing.
This kind of testing applies to fight games such as Soul Calibar, Tekken, Mortal Combat, and so on.
The second type of testing is functionality testing, where you have to ensure the design of the game is in sync with what the developers, designers, artists, and story writers have in mind.
With regression testing, you need to ensure that all the reported bugs have been sorted out by developers.
Advantages of Testing Video Games for Cash
To most people, getting paid to do what you already do all day is as good as a pipe dream. In reality, top-selling video game companies need feedback from the ‘experts.’
They’re not looking to hire fresh university graduates to tell them what works and what doesn’t. Game companies want to bring on board individuals – both young and mature – whose lives revolve around video games.
The more your experience, the more valid your opinion becomes. Game companies can easily tell apart the pros from the rookies judging by their gameplay and how fast they adapt to the game.
The following are a few perks of getting paid to provide your opinion on beta video games.
You Earn Big From Doing What You Love
If you’ve been playing video games for as long as you remember, you can earn big from extending your expert services. Testing is perfect for you if you’re passionate about gaming. You could even make a career out of it.
There’s nothing better than meeting people who share an interest similar to yours. Coming into contact with fellow gamers can make working a lot of fun and the day a lot better.
You Get a Sneak Peak of Potential High-Selling Video Games
Almost all video games you test are bound to be a huge hit among your peers in the gaming industry. Learning all there is to know about a game before anyone else is a huge privilege to most people.
Acts as a Springboard For Your Gaming Career
The more competitive you become when testing a game, the better you get at it. Third party companies may notice your strengths and bring you on board to their vast team of testers.
Qualifications You Need to Apply for a Game Tester Position
Truth be told, game testers don’t require any specific qualifications, aside from being able to differentiate different kinds of genres, styles, platforms associated with games.
Most companies, however, have specific rules and qualification guidelines they use to hire their team of game testers. To apply for a position as a game tester, you need to:
1. Understand How to Prioritize
The first thing you need to understand as a good tester is how to prioritize your responsibilities. Knowing your priorities will eventually make you a good time manager.
Most of the time, you’ll be provided with a functionality/module to test out within a tight timeline. You should be able to provide output within the stipulated period of time allocated to you. That may come as a challenge to newbie testers.
Regular challenges such as these should be able to strengthen your prioritizing skills and make analyzing a lot faster.
As you test a game, you should understand what needs to be tested first and what features of the game should be given less priority.
You also get to understand what should be tested manually and what should be automated. Understanding what to do first is a skill that few game testers possess. Once you get your priorities straight, game testing will be a fairly simple and straightforward endeavor.
2. Be Inquisitive
The most essential part of game testing is asking questions. No matter how experienced you are, you still need to ask all the right questions to avoid making costly errors.
Besides, being inquisitive doesn’t mean you’re clueless. Instead, it shows how ready you are to know more.
Playtesters are required to be detail-oriented, dedicated and inquisitive individuals. Enjoying games is part of the job, but knowing more about it is what defines the job.
You should ask questions, for example, to understand the game from different perspectives such as business, development, etc.
If you play a game and notice one or more features you’ve never noticed before, inquire about their relevance to the game.
Everything you learn in your game testing career can be useful at some point in the future. If the bug or glitch you reported has been fixed, take it upon yourself to find out how it was taken care of.
3. Perform a Fair Level of Data Analysis
Your career as a tester won’t revolve around trying out the newest video games alone. Most gaming companies will need you to have a clear picture of the data you’ve collected and do a quick analysis on them.
While working as a playtester, someone may tell you that a certain bug is ‘non-reproducible.’ If you understand a thing or two about analyzing data, then you know that there’s no bug that’s non-reproducible.
If a bug occurred once in the course of your gameplay, there’s a high chance of it popping up again later on. Analyzing inconsistencies such as those can make your work more straightforward and highly engaging.
Most of the time, game testing is all about analyzing test results, creating scripts, then executing them – that’s not the hardest part.
The most important is when you have to analyze the generated data after the execution of the relevant scripts.
4. Be Good at Conveying Reports
From the time you started testing games to the end of the session for that day, you must have executed different test cases.
For each, you probably marked them as either a ‘pass’ or a ‘fail’ in the test management tool. Your status at the end of the day should outline all your findings in a clear manner.
No one will be interested in the numbers of your executed test cases. Instead, your report should outline every detail of what you accomplished the whole day and your overall findings. These should be summarized in the briefest way possible.
Before you secure a position as a game tester, practice writing status reports to the developer. What you did until the bug popped up (3 sentences max), your findings (complete with bug numbers) and your possible course of action.
Every report you convey back to the game developers should be detailed and highly informative. You should maintain consistency in all your reports.
5. Have a Knack for Playing Video Games
Being a gamer goes hand in hand with game testing. Since you’ll be spending a huge chunk of your time testing random games, you need to enjoy every second of it.
Beta game testing is most common among teenagers between twelve and sixteen. Lots of kids nowadays are also raking in big bucks online from trying out new games and giving their thoughts about them.
If you already love playing video games, this is a direct pass for you. It’s one thing to play video games and it’s another to be passionate about them. If you have a passion for gaming, you won’t mind spending 8 – 10 hours every day behind a glaring screen.
Most of the time, video game enthusiasts get hired not because of their experience, but for the lengths they’re willing to go to understand the game.
6. Have Excellent Time Management Skills
Every game tester should have a crucial understanding of how to manage their time wisely. Impressive time management skills often lead to a successful job and quality results at the end of the day.
Professional game testers can attest to the fact that their careers are time demanding. Most times, you may find yourself waking up in the wee hours of the day just to catch up on unfinished work.
You’ll be expected to juggle all the responsibilities that come your way in the least amount of time possible.
In such cases, you have to improve your planning skills by outlining the multiple projects you have to complete and allocating time to each.
To become more productive, you have to focus on one task at a given time. Multi-tasking may help in getting things done fast, but it may affect the quality of work you deliver.
7. Be a Quick and Self-Learner
More often, game testers don’t realize that there’s more to learn on top of what they already know. While most testers aren’t skilled enough to learn stuff on their own (and twice as fast), it’s possible to develop both skills with little effort.
Being a quick and self-learner may not be useful in every point in your career as a tester, but you’re better off learning it anyway.
You’ll increase your value to the company you work for by regularly updating yourself on the newest skills, tools, processes, technologies, etc.
Testing games should be a fun experience that expands your knowledge base on data, strategies or skills you may need in the future.
The sooner you endeavor to hone your memorization skills, the sooner you add value to yourself and your career as a tester.
8. Be a Team Player
Most game testers work in a company full of like-minded employees. You will, therefore, be expected to work towards achieving the same goal which is ensuring the success of a game.
Aside from gaming companies, every organization relies on strong teamwork. Instead of doing your work on your own, get others involved in whatever you do.
You may find it unnecessary, but working as a team gets the job done in half the time you would have taken doing it alone.
If you’ve been assigned a video game to test as a group, don’t stay in the shadows. Get in touch with members of your team via email, chat or Skype if you’re working from virtual locations. Be flexible to any opinion that may arise without portraying visible signs of pressure or stress.
Respectfully consider their ideas or viewpoints and object where necessary. Active listening boosts a team’s potential by encouraging collective accountability and fast-thinking.
9. Have an Educational Background
Don’t frown just yet. A majority of companies don’t require that you have a college degree before they consider you for a testing position.
QA (Quality Assurance) testing is primarily an entry-level position in the game industry. If you do have a college degree, you stand a better chance of working in a high-level position. The more your responsibilities, the higher your pay.
Your degree may also make you a likely candidate for alternative fields of game development such as programming, design or art. These often pay more than video game testing positions.
Having a degree before applying for a position as a tester is a sure way to secure a lucrative career in the gaming industry.
Education requirements of a video game tester may vary from one company to the next. Typically, game developers require that you have a degree in technical fields such as computer science, computer engineering, or software development.
If you’re curious as to what kind of educational qualification most game testers have, visit linkedin.com and key in ‘video game tester’ in the search box.
Check out the profiles from the list of individuals that come up and decide what you want to study yourself.
10. Be Empathetic
Again, this isn’t something that all developers consider when hiring testers for their games. Especially since testers are expected to guard and protect their defects to resolution.
Video game testers need to have the quality of expressing their thoughts and feelings. Being an automaton doesn’t, in any way, help in the testing process.
Take, for instance, a newly-released application that has to undergo integration as part of a trial run. Would you wage a war, come crumbling on it and report it as ‘unfit’ before trying it out?
In such a case, you have to sympathetically take a shot at it and determine whether or not it has a problem.
Doing so will enable the developers to aid in further development. The initial stages of testing require you to take a slow and subtle approach.
Empathy also helps you become an excellent team player. Whenever you’re in doubt, you’ll be required to voice your concerns politely to your teammates.
How Much Can You Make as a Playtester?
First of all, it’s worth pointing out that you have to be 18 years or older to get hired as a game tester.
If you’re a teenager with a passion for video games and you have what it takes to apply for a testing job, you have to wait a couple more years before you can do so. For children, there are other simple and straightforward ways to earn money online.
As for how much testers earn from their work, that will depend on whether they’re paid on an hourly rate or on a monthly basis.
When paid on an hourly basis, the pay starts at approximately $6 per hour. It could also go as high as $16 for each hour on the job. Payment varies greatly depending on your area of residence.
In America, some states have implemented minimum wage laws that could see testers being paid as much as $18 per hour.
At the moment, the salary data compiled from companies everywhere in Canada and the U.S. shows a consistent hourly pay range of $8 – $14.
Various companies prefer to issue fixed paychecks every month. In such cases, testers can either make more or less based on their experience in the game testing industry.
They may also earn more if they take on complex management responsibilities like lead testers.
Typically, testers with 3 years’ experience or less can make an annual salary of $38,000. Expert testers with six or more years’ experience, on average, can make up to $58,000. That’s only if they take on a few management responsibilities.
Sure, the pay can be a lot higher, and it can certainly be a comfortable wage. A significant number of testers can attest to supporting their loved ones from their efforts in the game testing industry.
How Possible is it to Work as a Video Game Tester from Home?
Unfortunately, you’ll be required to work outside your home most of the time. It’s hard to tell if any testing company can grant you the privilege of working from the comfort of your bedroom or living room.
When you get hired, you’ll be set up with any tools or equipment you may need at your official work station. That includes a bug tracking system, test case, test suite, and a test case.
Although you’ll be working away from home, the bright side is that you’ll not have to worry about buying all the fancy and expensive equipment that very few can afford.
The details outlined in this post are just an introduction to a couple of the requirements and skills you need to become an accomplished video game tester.
Game testing is a job that most Millennials wish to have. Of course, there are limited openings, but you stand to gain a lot by signing up for any available job position.
If you can learn a couple of stuff about the game development process, that will help you a great deal in becoming technical over time. It’s quite a fun and engaging process that can boost your testing career twice as fast.
To boost your chances of getting qualified, it’s worth setting your eyes on an IT school because even in game testing, education is still an integral part of most make-money-online ventures.
Land yourself a secure game testing job by scavenging for online positions or looking into job classifieds. Once you get hired by a gaming company, never look back.
You not only get to make money part-time, but you also get to work in a field that most people only dream about.
If you don’t qualify in any way, don’t fret. There are tons of work-from-home jobs that pay just as much, if not more.