Life as a Video Game Tester
What is it like to take video games to the ultimate level before they go to market?
Video game testers play an important role in a games’ life cycle. Testing for bugs and conducting quality assurance may not sound creative, but game testers need an artistic eye, because design glitches also occur in the testing process.
Consumers will be less interested in a game if it isn’t aesthetically pleasing or highly artistic—especially in today’s competitive market. Earning a game arts degree can hone your skills and prepare you for a career as a tester.
One thing to keep in mind is that working as a tester isn’t all fun and games. The role of a tester can often be stressful and require persistence and patience. That said, the rewards that come with helping a game become ready for market are well worth the effort.
Working as a Game Tester
A video game tester works in the quality assurance role in the overall game development process. Although most of the work is technical—fixing bugs and other errors—artistic talents are necessary to ensure the design is top notch and consistent with the game’s story. You may even have the opportunity to make the design adjustments yourself, putting your art skills to good use.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Quarterly, entry-level game development jobs can be hard to come by in large studios, but video game tester jobs can be found in small studios where mobile and social media games are created. In either path, a game design degree can give you a leg up.
According to 2014 data from O*NET Online, software quality assurance testers earned a median annual salary of about $83,410. Company size, location and education are all factors that will affect how much you’re paid. A game design or art degree is a fantastic way to boost your earning potential.
Profile of a Video Game Tester
Working in quality assurance requires a certain set of skills and abilities. Game testers typically have these traits:
- Analytical thinker
- Good problem solver
- Team player
- Clear communicator
- Attention to detail
You’ll also need to be creative and enterprising. Earning a game design or art degree can make you more familiar with the type of setting you might find yourself working in once you graduate.