Game Tester Requirements
Video game testers, or quality assurance testers, are responsible for finding any bugs and glitches in video games before they roll out to consumers. These testers play a vital role in the game development process, and students wondering how to become a game tester should know that these professionals usually need some education, optional certification, and/or work experience. Here we discuss each of these requirements for becoming a video game tester in more detail.
Schooling for Video Game Testing
Some video game developers may hire game testers straight out of high school, but it is becoming more beneficial for video game testers to pursue video game tester programs. These programs are typically available at the certificate or bachelor's level and are fairly rare.
A broader, more popular option for students is to pursue a video game developer degree program or video game design program. These programs help prepare students for other careers in game development besides testing and are available at the certificate, associate's, and bachelor's levels. Often, these programs include topics in testing at various steps in the game development process. Other coursework for these programs may include:
- Game design
Although it is not required, some video game testers may pursue optional certification to be more competitive. Organizations, such as the American Society for Quality (ASQ), offer a range of certifications in the field of quality assurance.
Video game testers may obtain certification as a Software Quality Engineer through ASQ to test and inspect software. This certification requires 8 years of work experience, but some experience may be waived based on an applicant's level of education.
It is fairly common for organizations that are hiring video game testers to look for applicants with prior work experience in quality assurance. These jobs may require as little as 2 years of work experience, but some positions may require or prefer applicants with experience working with specific programs, like Unreal Engine 4, Microsoft Office, and 3-D applications.
Video Game Tester Job Duties
Video game testers are primarily responsible for playing video games and finding any bugs or issues with a specific level, scene, or sequence in a game. They tend to play the same section of a game over and over to ensure that they have encountered every possible outcome. This ultimately leads to a smooth, glitch-free experience for consumers. Other specific job duties for a video game tester may include:
- Working with designers and other team members
- Completing test cases
- Writing reports about any issues or bugs that arise
- Testing fixes to issues
- Making suggestions for quality and efficiency
Video Game Tester Salary
Video game testers are usually one of the lowest-paid team members in game development. Very few of these positions are even available on a full-time basis, so many video game testers work in hourly contract positions and then try to move into other game development positions.
According to PayScale.com, a video game tester made a median hourly wage of $11.52 as of March 2019. This equates to a median annual salary of $48,615. Salary for these professionals may vary based on factors like location, bonuses, employer, and more.