Several schools offer online certificate and bachelor's degree programs that prepare graduates for careers as video game developers, which can include testing work. Most programs at both levels are available 100% online, with students having the ability to log on to lessons as their schedules permit, within certain deadlines. A few degree programs are hybrids, which combine online and on-campus learning.
Students in these programs, in addition to having an up-to-date computer and a fast Internet connection, will need special software. Equipment such as photo scanners and digital cameras may also be necessary. Students should check with their programs to see what is required.
A certificate program usually requires less than a year to complete, while a bachelor's degree generally takes four years. Bachelor's degree students must also take general education courses in addition to their major courses. In both programs, students learn about game development and game analysis. Students may have the option of choosing game programming or game development, but both tracks include information on video game testing. For a significant number of entry-level positions, certificates are an excellent opportunity to gain access to a growing and exciting career field.
Certificate in Video Game Testing
Students who wish to become video game testers and are interested in certificate programs may enroll in programs that may be titled game programming or game development. Students enrolled in these programs learn how to design, develop and test video games. Courses teach students skills in 3D modeling and animation, programming and critiquing games. Prior college education is generally not a prerequisite for certificate programs, though many schools suggest that students have basic experience in computer software like Adobe Photoshop and Autodesk Maya.
Information and Requirements
Many certificate programs for video game testers are available fully online. Students have access to course lessons 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The programs typically require as little as 420 instructional hours of coursework over ten months to complete. However, some more intensive programs may take longer.
Students may be required to own software such as Adobe Photoshop and Autodesk Maya, and a 3-button mouse to successfully complete these programs. Some programs may require a game console as well.
Courses typically cover video game history, game development, game analysis, programming, character animation and game design with Autodesk Maya and Adobe Photoshop. Some certificate programs may have general education requirements as well, such as courses in English composition, technical writing and communications and mathematics.
Introduction to Game Development
These courses give an overview of the process of making video games. Students learn the jobs involved in this process and the role of video games in society.
Using a program like Autodesk Maya, students learn how to create and bring to life video game characters. Students learn how to give characters life-like poses and motion.
History of Video Games
Students learn how the video game has evolved from its inception to the present. They learn from the mistakes and successes of console manufacturers.
Students learn how to create 3D characters and objects using a computer software program. They then learn how to export their creations into a game.
Students learn how to critique and review video games. By judging key factors in video games, students can better predict whether the game will succeed or fail with consumers.
Bachelor of Science in Video Game Testing
Students enrolled in online programs that prepare them for careers in video game testing learn coding, designing, game analysis, testing and development. As with the certificate programs, schools may focus on areas such as game software development or game programming, but the skills taught for video game testing are comparable. Graduates of such programs have the skills they need to take a video game from concept to the final stages where it is ready for the public. Coursework tends to be computer science oriented, which also has a significant Mathematics component. Generally, these programs lead to a Bachelor of Science upon completion. Similar programs include Web game programming, multimedia design and computer information systems.
Information and Requirements
These programs usually take four years to complete, though some schools may offer accelerated options that can be completed in as little as three years. Many are offered fully online. Virtual classrooms are always available so students can learn anytime. Hybrid programs, where students complete some components online and others in person, are also an option.
Students enrolled in these programs may need certain software, such as the appropriate versions of Adobe Creative Suites, Audacity, Autodesk Maya, Adobe Acrobat, Norton AntiVirus, Game Maker and Windows Media Player. They may also need specific Internet browsers, minimum computer specifications and certain equipment such as a digital camera, digital drawing tablet, scanner, CD or DVD burner and inkjet printer.
Programs may include courses in design, art and game development. There are generally no special prerequisites other than passing scores on math and English assessments.
Introduction to Game Development
Students learn the basics of the game industry and the principles behind game design. The history of the game industry and the broad process of game development are covered.
Team Game Production
Students are given a specific task in game production and work as part of a team. They learn to work within the confines of a specified role and meet deadlines
Level design involves breaking the overall game down into different levels and designing a unique theme for each level. Students learn how to design maps, structures, objects and different challenges.
Students learn the principles of design and technological aspects of computer simulation applications. They also explore learning theories. Students then use their acquired knowledge to design simulations for instructional or educational purposes.
Career Information for Graduates
Graduates of certificate programs for video game testers may obtain entry-level positions in the gaming industry. Graduates may gain employment assisting in designing, developing, programming, testing or producing video games. Potential employers include design firms, video game publishers and software publishers.
Video game testers usually work in quality assurance in the design and programming stages of video game development. Video game testers with a certificate or bachelor's degree can find other careers in interactive entertainment. Graduates may also be able to obtain jobs as application developers, software developers, game developers and game programmers. In 2019, the median salary for a video game programmer was $65,423, and the median salary for a video game designer was $63,781, according to Payscale.com.