TThere are many career paths in the video game industry. From designing to the programmer, from reviewing to testing. Each requires different skillsets. Game reviewers tend to get games before anyone else. But, breaking into the industry is quite difficult. Another reason you may not break into the industry is that it can be a negative industry to work in. The other alternative is a video game tester. It sounds like a dream job, but you need to be happy to find bugs. And be willing to put in the hours to provide useful feedback
A video game tester makes an average of £16K – £23K ((PayScale, Inc. (n.d.). Game Tester Salary in United Kingdom | PayScale. Payscale. Retrieved 22 November 2021, from https://www.payscale.com/research/UK/Job=Game_Tester/Salary)) in the United Kingdom. Yet there are some outliers with people making up to £50K((National Careers Service. (n.d.). Computer games tester | Explore careers | National Careers Service. Retrieved 22 November 2021, from https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/job-profiles/computer-games-tester)). This depends mostly on experience in the field, with the most diligent and experienced asking for the higher wage. If you were to change to a software tester this would increase the maximum wage to £36K ((Payscale, Inc. (n.d.). Software Tester Salary in United Kingdom | PayScale. Payscale. Retrieved 22 November 2021, from https://www.payscale.com/research/UK/Job=Software_Tester/Salary)).
What Qualifications/Skills Do You Need?
There are no formal qualifications required. But you are expected to have at least good knowledge of MS Office((WarnerMedia. (2011, November 9). Junior QA Tester – London – Indeed.com. Indeed.Co.Uk. Retrieved 22 November 2021, from https://uk.indeed.com/viewjob?jk=d4b9c1ae3d35666f&tk=1fl4fap06t7du800&from=serp&vjs=3)). Good communication skills are also a must whether that be face to face or via email. Another requirement is a passion for gaming, especially for the studio you are working for. I saw a Rocksteady game tester opening which for me would be a dream come true since I love their Arkham series.
Another helpful requirement is to be rapid at learning gameplay elements. The faster you can learn the game, the sooner you can break it. Once bugs have been found you will need to report them. This can be a straightforward email. Or in the case of Rocksteady, they have a bug reporting workflow.
A university degree though not mandatory can put you at an advantage compared to other hopefuls. From the opening, I have seen they do not ask for any specific degree. Only that it is technical or gaming related. So it really does seem like it is a career path available to anyone. Especially now that it can be done remotely.
So what can a Game Tester expect to progress to on their career path? The obvious option is to gain experience to become a Senior game tester, which offers better pay and more responsibilities. Progressing from there, they can move to become the Quality Assurance Manager. Managing your own team, while making sure they never leave a stone unturned. The salary improves to around £30K +. Depending on the amount of personnel.
Another option is marketing. You’ve already got your foot in the door. You’ve learnt quite a lot from testing their products. And what the selling points of their products are. You will have to start from the bottom of the hierarchy but it offers a lot of experiences including going to exhibitions.
The final opportunity would be any form of development of the products. If you have coding and/or designing experience/qualifications this would be a great step up for you. If you haven’t got a degree to your name, it would be worthwhile to home study in parallel with your career.
Sounds Exciting Being a Game Tester
If you can get past the repetitiveness of the testing. It can open the door wide open for career advancement in the game industry. You may find that you don’t want to go any further and may pursue other careers. Or you may enjoy the process and want to stay as a tester. It’s worth giving it a go. Good Luck!
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