How Can I Be a Professional Game Tester?

Explore the career requirements for a professional game tester. Get the facts about education requirements, employment growth and potential salary to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Game Production degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does a Professional Game Tester Do?

Video game testers not only play video games - they provide constructive feedback to video game companies. Unlike playing for fun, these players play to assess the quality of the game, discover technical issues and develop suggestions regarding how to make the gameplay better. While testing games, they keep records of issues that come up and how they occurred. They may then write up a report of their findings and send them to designers for consideration. The following chart provides an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.

Degree Required Associate's degree or bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Game development, programming, computer science or a similar field
Key Responsibilities Play games to uncover code defects; identify and report bugs; take detailed notes on game performance
Job Growth (2014-2024) 13% (for all computer occupations)*
Median Hourly Wage (2017) $13.83**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics, **PayScale.com

What is a Professional Video Game Tester?

There are a few different ways that you might be able to earn money testing video games before they're marketed to the public. Some companies put out ads for gamers to play new versions of a game just before it's available in stores. Your participation usually only lasts for a couple of hours or days and typically doesn't lead to a full-time career.

You can become a professional video game tester and work for a quality assurance department of a software programming or game development company, though you'll typically need to have training and experience with game programming. Your duties cover discovering defects in a game's software or programming codes. During play, you'll seek out, identify, report and analyze any bugs in a game system, and you might be responsible for fixing the code.

What Education Will I Need?

You'll typically need some formal education in video game development or programming before you can earn a position as a game tester within the quality assurance department. Several universities, technical schools and community colleges offer associate's and bachelor's degree programs in game development and programming that prepare you for the position. You might find online learning through some private school's game development or computer science programs.

Whether on-campus or online, these degree programs prepare you to design video games for systems such as PlayStation, Nintendo or specifically for Internet gaming. They teach you the basics of programming, game design, 3-D animation, game architecture and interactive multimedia. However, just as important as academic training is your experience in playing video games.

How Can I Get a Job in the Field?

Game testing and programming is a highly competitive field. It's recommended that you have a familiarity with the industry, the latest trends and developments in the field and knowledge of different types of gaming systems. With some development experience, you might market yourself to companies by creating a digital portfolio.

What About Earnings and the Job Outlook?

According to salary data supplied by PayScale.com in 2017, most QA game testers earned between $9.01 and $21.53 per hour. While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't provide job outlook figures for game testers, it does report all computing occupations in general are expected to see an employment increase of 13% between 2014 and 2024, which is faster than average.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Quality control inspectors inspect the quality of products and submit reports to producers much like game testers do for video games. They often measure various components of a product, oversee its production process and test the product's general quality. Professionals in this field may start a high school diploma, though additional training is required. It often helps for game testers to have some programming knowledge when diagnosing problems and making suggestions, thus their job is related to that of computer programmers. Computer programmers write code that allows computer programs to function, and then test that code to ensure the programs work. They typically have bachelor's degrees in a computer-related field.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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