In your free time, do you like nothing better than spending hours in front of the TV playing video games? Instead of playing those games for fun, why not play them for a paycheck? You can actually get paid to pay video games!
Sound too good to be true? This is an actual video game job. Video game testers are a critical position in the game development industry. Video game designers and computer programmers spend years creating and developing games, and testers are the ones who make sure the game is ready for release.
It may sound like a dream position. After all, who wouldn’t want to get paid to play video games all day? But let's face reality; video game testing can be exhausting, just like any other job in the gaming industry. Testers often begin working with the game long before it’s finished and are required to keep meticulous records of every bug they find in a game. Sometimes it can take hours just to get through the early levels because you have to pause the game so frequently to record the glitches.
Becoming a video game tester requires you to have solid writing skills, be able to communicate effectively, and have an excellent eye for detail. After all, bugs can range from something as small as a missing brick in a wall or ear on a character, to major issues that halt play completely. You’ll need to document every single error.
Keys to Employment: Get Educated and Know the Business
Video game testers are consider quality assurance staff, and knowing the technical lingo will suggest your seriousness and help get you in the door. Employers look for applicants that have experience playing a wide variety of games, have good written skills (some may even require a writing sample), and excellent dexterity.
Becoming a video game tester requires you to be familiar with the business, and pursing formal education in the IT field is a great place to start. While you cannot yet earn a college degree specific to video game testing, it is a good idea to look into computer programming courses, design courses, and other computer science degrees. Employers in this industry suggest that you may want to pursue a computer technician certification in order to enhance your technical skills. You could also enroll in a two or four-year program in video game design, which could go a long way to helping you break into the gaming field.
Sounds Great! What Does It Pay?
Becoming a video game tester can be competitive, and because video game testers are considered entry-level positions in the gaming industry, they are often offered jobs on an as-needed basis rather than a regular nine-to-five position. However, this doesn’t mean the job doesn’t pay well, because it can—anything from $8 to over $100 an hour. The Bureau of Labor statistics does not report the salaries for video game testers separately, but the median hourly wage according to PayScale.com is $8.53-$16.64 and can be $18,129- $40, 914 annually with overtime pay and bonuses.
While games can take two to three years to go from concept to store shelf, game testers usually only begin testing about half way through the process. As deadlines loom, video game testers can find themselves in high demand. They often work more than twelve hours a day—sometimes on the same few moments in a game—working out the kinks with the programmers and suggesting new design ideas. Most video game testers work onsite at the company, but once your work becomes trusted, you can often work from your home.
Other Gaming Jobs
In addition to becoming a video game tester, you could also find a number of other jobs in the gaming industry, including game design, which involves creating the game concept and it’s look and feel; animation, which has to do with taking the game designers’ ideas and bringing the characters to life; and software developers, who write the code to turn the creative process into a playable game.
In order to gain employment in these areas, you will likely be required to have earned a correlating bachelor’s degree in either game design, game development, graphic design, animation, information systems or computer science (as well as have experience playing and evaluating video games).
Ready to Get Paid to Play Video Games?
It’s true! You can really get paid to play video games. While you can not quite get a gamer degree at your local gamer college, there are many other computer science degrees available today. If you have experience playing and evaluating video games, consider pursuing an IT degree or certification to assist you in becoming a video game tester. Browse our site to select a school or program today.