How to Become a Video Game Tester in 7 Steps
Want to make money playing games all day? Become a video game tester!
It seems like the gamer’s dream job: you play all day, and you get paid for it, to boot!
But the work of a video game tester is serious business. And because it’s a real, viable profession, there are things you have to accomplish before you can open the doors of opportunity to aspiring video game testers such as yourself.
We at Gamers Decide just want to help. So in this article, we show you How to Become a Video Game Tester in 8 Steps. It’ll take some time, and a whole lot of dedication, but for those who truly want the privilege to be called a video game tester, it should be one exciting ride!
1. Love games!
This one should be obvious. If you aren’t passionate about video games, don’t be a video game tester. It only makes sense that you should be doing something you enjoy.
But it’s not enough that you love video games. To be a successful video game tester, you need to be good at games, too. So keep playing, keep practicing. Learn how to land a headshot. Know how to use your abilities to their full potential in RPGs. Kick butt in fighting games. Don’t shy away from those puzzles or casual games either. Your knowledge of video games must be thorough. So ensure you’re up-to-date on the various trends, read game-related news articles and opinion pieces, and do your research.
But hey, if you’re reading this, you’re probably already a consummate gamer: one with an extensive knowledge of the industry, and a considerable degree of skill in all types of video game genres! On to the next step!
2. Get educated
The job of a video game tester is a quality assurance job. And you can’t know much about QA testing without some formal education.
Education will help you develop all the right tools you’ll need to make it as a video game tester. In the game industry, video game testing is an entry-level job, so while a college degree is not necessary, it is definitely a plus. Your chances of landing that job (or any job, for the matter) improve depending on your educational level. You’ll probably be offered a better salary, too.
So start thinking about taking technical courses related to video games, such as computer science, game/software development, or graphic design.
3. Develop your attention to detail
The ability to pay attention to all kinds of detail is one of the most important skills video game testers must develop.
This entails cultivating your perception and observation skills. You must be able to identify every aspect of the game, from the gameworld to the gameplay, from the tiniest of elements to the largest.
For example, what is it about a particular environment in a first-person shooter that could possibly cause the player some grief? Is the area too narrow? Is the ceiling too low? Are there far too many enemies and too little ammo lying around?
Is something off with the textures on the wall? Does the robot look more like a plastic doll than a metallic killing machine? Is the A.I. behaving like a total idiot?
Hold on… my character just got stuck in the wall. Is this a bug?
You’ll have to develop a keen eye for issues, for areas in a game that could use some improvement. It’s your job to spot the problems that could potentially ruin the game for everyone.
4. Learn the art of breaking a game
This is closely related to #3.
One of the worst things that can happen to a game is a game-breaking bug. It is therefore your job to actively seek out all those annoying glitches.
So how do you go about doing that? Simple. Play the game like you won’t normally play it. Force yourself into in-game regions that aren’t meant to be accessed. Attempt to kill characters that aren’t meant to be killed. Botch quests. Or complete the same series of quests over and over again, only in a different order each time. In other words, push the game to its conceivable limits.
Video game testers don’t just play to enjoy the game – they play the game to break it. As you can imagine, early versions of games are likely chockfull of bugs. So you’ll be seeing these games at their worst. The fun you’ll get out of it, aside from being the first to experience these games before anyone else, is the creativity you’ll have to employ to discover those nasty glitches.
5. Develop your critical thinking skills
The importance of strong critical thinking skills cannot be overstated. If you can’t think rationally and objectively about a game’s problematic issues, you won’t go far as a video game tester.
Critical thinking allows you distinguish the real issues from the minor ones. With it, you’ll be able to pinpoint what could possibly ruin the game.
Your judgment should not be based on your emotions, but on logic and sound reasoning. For example, you can’t just say the level designer should change the layout of a multiplayer map because it makes you feel unhappy. You have to enumerate all the problems you’ve discovered in the level. Maybe it gives one team an unfair advantage over the other. Maybe a level is so enormous that players will spend minutes before they encounter someone on the other team.
Aside from determining the areas that need improvement, you also need to be able to provide possible solutions to problems.
The job of a video game tester entails a lot of thinking, so make sure to develop the skill of thinking well!
6. Develop strong communication skills
So you’ve explored the game, found all its faults, and determined how the problematic areas can be improved. What good is all that information if you can’t communicate it properly?
Companies look for people with excellent communication and verbal skills. A video game tester who writes and speaks impeccably well are able to convey their message in a way that’s easy for others to understand. Because everybody knows what everybody else is talking about, the process of game development becomes more efficient.
For this reason, aspiring video game testers should do a lot of reading and writing. Read fiction and non-fiction. Develop strong writing skills by writing essays, stories, and whatever you think will help. Keep a journal or start a blog. Buy a book or two about grammar (or, alternatively, do some online research – there are lots of websites that will help you with grammar). Improve your general as well as technical vocabulary.
Your speech should improve as your writing does. But if you wish, you can seek out online videos that can help you with the correct pronunciation.
7. Get some experience
Time to start gaining experience!
Consider participating in beta tests. This will help you learn about the whole process of video game quality assurance. It’ll look nice on your resume, too! Don’t ever underestimate the value of a good resume. If companies know you’ve been out there working your butt off, the more likely they’ll be open to hiring you.
The more professional exposure you have in the video game industry, and specifically video game testing, the better your opportunities will be.
So that’s How to Become a Video Game Tester in 7 Steps. Do you have some advice to share with our fellow readers? Tell us in the comments section below!
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