Imagine being able to turn on your Xbox 360 and boot up the next Gears of War game before anyone else. Now imagine getting to play a portion of the game and kick locusts butt from the comfort of your own home (no standing in a line at convention booths) at your own pace. Now imagine getting paid to do all of this! Amazing, huh? Well guess what, this is the life for thousands of people that have become computer game testers!
If you’re interested in becoming a computer game tester, however, you need to know some key things about the industry and how to break in. This article will cover the basics to get you started.
First of all, computer game testing isn’t as glamorous as you may believe. Yeah, you get paid to test video games for companies, but all of your time isn’t spent getting head shots in Halo or leveling up your characters in World of Warcraft. No, a majority of your tasks as computer game tester will be almost remedial things like testing a character’s walk and run speeds and exploring locations to the fullest.
It can get pretty boring. But the time you spend doing the other stuff is what you always hear about. And for good reason, the job has its ups and downs, like any jobs, but the parts that you really enjoy are naturally going to come to the surface. If after hearing this you’re still interested in computer game testing, then read on.
What You Need to Know
What most would be video game testers don’t realize is that they need to have a lot more experience in video games than simply owning a console or dozens of games. It’s certainly helpful, but in truth game developing companies are looking for people who have other skills- such as programming knowledge and coding experience. They aren’t required, per say, but think about it like this- if you could hire a master chef to head up your fast food restaurant, why not take him over the guy who simply has work experience at a classier restaurant? Keep in mind, though, that you don’t have to have a wealth of experience programming etc., but make sure you can at least compete- start looking at C++ tutorials online.
What You Will Get Paid
The big question for most people isn’t anything concerning experience or qualifications, but instead, what they can expect the pay to be like. And this is also one that, well, is just plain impossible to say. You can expect above minimum wage, for sure, but every testing job is different. The simpler ones naturally won’t be as high paying as the harder ones.
You may be paid a few tens of dollars to test a game’s menu screen functionality and save features. But if you do something harder, like explore an environment and chart all the glitches you can (a full day’s work, maybe more depending on the game environment), then you may pick up a couple hundred!
How to Find the Jobs
Video game testers aren’t your normal breed of worker- and the industry is certainly not your normal industry. To really get into the field you’ll need connections like almost no other career, which can be difficult. But you can definitely get them if you look in the right places. Don’t try the classified ads for game testing jobs- no game publishers or developers will list there simply because they’ve got more applications from people like you coming to their door! Being one of the thousands is also not the best plan; you need to stand out. How can you do that? There are a lot of ways- knowing programming languages fairly well or being a game tournament champion, for example.
Becoming a computer game tester is not something for the faint of heart. Make sure you really understand what you’re getting into before you start. I barely scratched the surface here, but if you want more information on actually getting into the industry, visit:
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