Game Tester basics: Guide how to become one
- December 22, 2018
Somewhere in between a real job and your dream job, lies some of the world’s coolest jobs – the kind of jobs that only a small few are extremely lucky to have. Fitting the bill almost snugly is being paid to play video games (read: test video games). Sad to stay, this is one of the jobs that are always in short supply. But then again, isn’t a man allowed to dream. Who knows, if you happen to work hard enough, while keeping your fingers crossed, you might land a career as a couch potato who spends all day playing video games in the name of testing them for a living. But far from it, there lies a salient distinction between playing video games and testing them as a career. To keep everything in the clear, game testers aren’t exactly paid to play video games, but to test them for bugs and other technicalities before they’re finally released for the end consumer that is the gamer.
What a Game Tester Actually Does
What’s widely referred to as a Game Tester is essentially a Quality Analyzer in the professional world. They are simply the people tasked with trying all the sections of a game, bit by bit, and several times until they’re able to point out the bugs and other related issues and technicalities in the game.
Here’s a number of things a game tester hopes to achieve while testing out a game in their line duty:
- Find bugs in the game they’re testing
- Identify the possible causes of PC crashes if any
- Point out realistic glitches
- Manage music playbacks and sound levels
- Draw comparison between the game and other related games in the industry
- Find out if the game execution matches the expectations of the developer in question
- Analyze story line progression and character development
As a game tester, your line of duty involves breaking down a game. What you’re offered is a game in its beta form. This game has never been tested, save for the person who developed it. Which is to say, there’s a fair chance it frequently crashes, has a rough sound track, and is chockful of pesky bugs. It’s therefore upon you to test out the game and track down any line of code you suspect doesn’t work or is responsible for some of the issues the final consumer is likely to experience while playing the game.
What it takes to Jumpstart a Career as a Game Tester
At this point, it’s safe to assume that you’re already big on playing video games. Next, before we take a dive into the required academic qualifications, it’s important that you start by learning some little bit of technical writing, project management, computer programing and Microsoft excel.
Do this keeping in mind that there exists thousands of indie game companies that will be looking for a video game tester once they’re done with the project they’re working on. Some of this companies aren’t that big, with some of them consisting of a team of only one or two developers. So just in case you happen to be a good game tester or are cool with testing a game for free, they can be a good opportunity to gain some experience and sup up your resume.
You don’t need any formal education or advanced training to qualify as a game tester. But being a computer science major or having any related qualification can come in handy. What you need instead is dexterity in playing video games and OCD-like reaction to details, coupled with the ability to write technically well.
It’s also important that you’re well instructed on the various aspect of gaming and programming. This doesn’t necessary imply that you should be a software engineer. But rather well versed with the fundamental technology that the game developer might have used to create the game. Where possible, try learning how to store information in databases. You might also be required to learn about graphics design. And just in case you get employed, the firm you’ll be working for may demand that you have some basic knowledge on how to assemble a PC and identify hardware or software problems.
It’s a Wrap
Securing career as a game tester could be a perfect direction to take as computer science student looking to enter the gaming industry in future. For all we know, starting out as a game tester could open doors for so many other possibilities in future. Meaning you might want to consider taking this direction for scalability reasons, if not any other.