How to Become a Video Game Tester Online

Dec 02, 2019

Video game testers are part of the video game design team who work to spot quality issues in games. Learn more about the career of a video game tester, as well as steps you can take using online resources to become one.

Video Game Tester Career Information

Video game testers perform quality assurance tests on video games through playthroughs and examinations of the game code. They often work closely with developers, pointing out flaws in the game design such as visual or auditory glitches, bugs, lockups, and anything else that's not working as intended. Game testers typically work during the post-production phase of a given video game title, playing through to simulate an end-user experience. There isn't necessarily a set of requirements for becoming a video game tester, however, some education and/or experience in the field can be preferred.

Required Skills Eye for Detail, Problem Solving Skills, Business Skills
Job Growth 21% for 2018-2028 (for all software developers)*
Median Salary (2019) $63,781 (for all video game designers)**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics **

Steps for Becoming a Video Game Tester Using Online Resources

There is no standard set of prerequisites or requirements for becoming a video game tester, and no official or government licensure or certification requirement. That said, there are steps you can take to prepare for this career using online resources, such as education options and self-study. All of the following steps are able to be completed using online resources.

Step 1: Familiarize Yourself with the Medium

Knowing how to spot a glitch, bug, or gameplay issue requires you to understand those concepts on multiple levels, both heuristically and technically. You will also need to develop your internal metrics for what makes a game good, what makes graphical elements acceptable, what the difference between a limitation and an error is, and how these concepts relate to the scope of the game.

One way to understand the medium of video games is to play them. There are plenty of online resources for downloading and playing games on your computer. Playing games of different styles, genres, and with different target demographics, can give you a wide range of experience to draw from when determining what factors contribute to a good game, as well as what mistakes to avoid. It can also help you begin to understand the different scopes of video games. For example, a retro indie title might at first seem like it has technical mistakes, when in reality these limitations are intentionally imposed for stylistic, nostalgic, or gameplay reasons.

Step 2: Listen to the Experts

Another great way to familiarize yourself with the medium is to watch video games being played by streamers or to listen to the criticism of professional video game reviewers. Although there are benefits of understanding gameplay issues through playing them yourself, such as developing your own skill for spotting and evaluating flaws, it can also be beneficial to draw on the knowledge of experts. Streamers and video game reviewers can offer you a way to understand the differences in opinion possible in the subjective medium of video games, while also helping you identify objective glitches, bugs, and unintended gameplay issues.

Step 3: Consider a Postsecondary Degree Program

Since video game testers work closely with the game's designers and the developer team, understanding and being able to effectively communicate using the appropriate concepts and terminology can be a useful skill to have. Completing an online degree program in software engineering, technology management, or related career fields can give you a competitive edge when applying to be a video game tester.

Step 4: Consider Third-Party Certification and Training

As mentioned before, certification is not a requirement for becoming a video game tester. However, certification may make you more competitive in the job market. For example, many professionals working on AAA game titles are certified by the American Software Testing Qualifications Board (ASTQB). While having a working knowledge of video games, computers, and technology, can be beneficial, the training and certification processes offered by certification institutions can give you a more focused understanding of the testing process itself, including test cycles and quality assurance methodologies. These organizations often offer online training through webinars and comprehensive documents and guides.

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