The job outlook for testers is directly tied to the video game industry. As long as people are lining up to buy the latest versions of Fallout, Madden, Call of Duty, or the hottest labels, there will be a need for testers to “break” these games. While it is unknown just how many video game testers there are in the US, the number is certainly in the thousands.
The external producer advises the developer and ensures the publisher has the information to make the game commercially successful. This involves coordinating the release of screenshots and demo disks with marketing, handling outsourcing with the internal producer and running focus tests. They are also the developer’s go-between with the publisher in terms of milestone payments or any major changes.
Hi Sam, getting a job as a game tester may not be as far away as you think. Most testing jobs don’t require a college degree, you just need to know some of the basics of testing and you can apply for testing jobs. If you haven’t checked out my book on becoming a game tester, then I think that’s a great place to start because I wrote that book specifically for people like you. 🙂
Try to get involved with beta testing new games. Experience in open beta testing will give an indication of what testing work requires and can build up a résumé. Software companies often release open beta games to the public to get feedback and find glitches, usually providing guidelines on how to test them. Testing such games can expose you to identifying and isolating bugs, paying attention to small details, and writing reports.
You’re right that it depends on the size of the team. If you want to have a lot of input as a programmer, try working with a smaller team (like 4 to 20 people). However, programmers could have a lot of input on the design of bigger games, if they’re gameplay programmers. For example, if you’re the combat programmer on a fighting game, you may have a lot of control over the fine-tuning and overall “feel” of the combat, even if it’s a large team. Some of the best designers I know started out as programmers.
Of course, this is a little bit of a stretch, considering that the number of video game jobs actually on the market is very minimal. With the right determination and effort, however, getting your foot into the industry is possible. Like many careers involving constantly-evolving knowledge and technology, there are always new opportunities: Game developer opportunities are expected to increase by about 11% annually over the next few years and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates occupation growth of 6% from 2014 to 2024.
Hi Jason, I seem to find myself in a predicament. Currently I am moving on to my senior year at Penn State and I need a new major. I was pursuing Computer Engineering, but programming and I do not get along very well (Once you go past “if” statements I’m Lost). So my first question is, what majors are good for entering the game industry, that don’t involve programming. My next question is about finding an entry-level position that I can learn on the job. I used your job search tool that you provided and most jobs seemed to require previous experience, any suggestions there?
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Many testing jobs are temporary, working only for the duration of a particular game. However, testing can lead to jobs in other areas of quality assurances. Many people start working as testers in hopes that testing will lead to a job in design or development – this does happen, but it's rare. Only the best and the luckiest make the leap from the testing trenches to other departments.
If I want a job as a game tester, do I NEED to show the company my college grades? I’m studying game design and going to graduate in 2019, but my grades in college are not as good as they were in high school (the reason for this is because I go to a British college and it wasn’t until recently that I discovered how rough and strict the grading system is here and my parents won’t let me drop out. I have to finish the degree). My grades here are ok but my high school grades are excellent. Can I just show my high school grades and games I’ve made in my free time and that’s it?
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Hi Jacob, your first stop when looking for game studios in a given location should be GameDevMap.com. It’s a crowd-sourced list of studios. I can see that there are over a dozen developers and publishers there, but I don’t see any of the “giant” companies you mentioned – but that’s okay, because you don’t need to target the big, famous developers for your first job. Start wherever you can, build your experience, and then you can move elsewhere later on. Good luck!
Getting a job as a game developer is like the Hail Mary of the industry. This is probably the first to pop up in Google when searching for video gaming jobs, but your opportunities might be limited. Jobs site Indeed indicated that the amount of game developer openings have dropped 65% since 2014 while searches for “game developer” have increased by 50%. That’s why getting your foot in the door with one of the jobs above is a great way to grow your network and learn the trade from the inside.
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Hello, sir. I am a young student going into his first year of college next fall. Although I am majoring in Mechanical Engineering (its a well paying job source), I have alot of interest in video game design. I am a bit inexperienced with terms, but I would eventually like to pursue a field of design in which I could help create worlds and sandboxes for games. Whether it be the single player cinematics of worlds like Skyrim or the Multiplayer arenas of Halo. In high school I took many classes in AutoCAD, Architecture and Technical. Using programs to 3D model objects and areas was a thrill! Game tools like Halo’s “Forge”mode really have me Iinterested In map designing for video games one day. Your article addresses becoming a videogame tester as an entry level position. What advice could you lend to me for a goal that I cannot even properly name yet? Also, most of those big cities are not in the Michigan area, so I worry for my chances of getting a job anytime soon…. anyways, thank you for your article. It was a good read and very imformational.
I recently got to “play test” a game for the first time. It was at an anime convention and they had a demo for it up and running. I found the game itself kind of slow and a little boring but when I clicked on the trees they would either disappear or, if they were dead, flicker back to life. I thought it was so cool that I immediately started looking for more bugs that the creator had missed, he was right at the table so it was easy to show it to him. I’m trying to choose a career with something I love and wanted to know more about this as an option. I’m interested in play testing but also in translation and programming. Those are all very different fields and I’m wondering what to expect from each one when it comes to jobs and requirements. If you could give me any insight it would be helpful.
Hi Samuel, video game tester and video game designer are 2 very different jobs. So the first thing you should do is learn more about each one, and see if you can decide which one you’d like the most. You can get an overview of each at the game careers overviews article, and get a sense of what a “day in the life” is like at the game career interview articles.
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