I’m afraid I can’t help with financial advice. But as far as your game design goals, I think it will be hard to start a career in games in Alaska, because there aren’t any game studios up there that I know of. The closest US city with a strong game industry would be Seattle, so one strategy might be to move to Seattle and get a non-game job while you pursue a video game design certificate or degree. But you’d want to be sure that your health and finances are in order before making such a move. Be smart about it.
I asked one of my friends who has run several QA groups over the years, and he’s heard good things about uTest. They provide a “crowdsourced” testing service, and he thinks that many of their QA employees work from home. But in general, if you want solid, full-time employment as a game tester, you won’t be able to work from home because nearly all game companies do not hire work-from-home testers. In fact, please be careful, because there are several scam websites that you need to watch out for. Learn more in my podcast about work from home testing scams. If it seems too good to be true… it is.
The hardest part of this job is that most video game testers don’t get to pick the game they are testing. If you are a diehard Guitar Hero fan, it may be challenging to test for controller problems in the newest Hannah Montana game. Every tester must remember that video game testing is a job and even after long hours and sore eyes, you are still getting paid to play video games. And sometimes you live the dream, when you are paid for “testing” Mario Kart or beating Ninja Gaiden.
Consider voluntary professional certification. Organizations like the American Society for Quality (ASQ) offer certification related to this field. You may also consider earning certification in more technical areas, such as a programming language. If you have programmer training you can become certified by passing written exams, although some exams may include practical skills tests as well as written questions. You also must maintain your certifications in accordance with the organization's guidelines.
For example, a large multiplayer online game might have 10,000 different areas that players can explore over several years of play. It would be impossible to test all of those areas manually, every time a new build of the game is created. So instead of doing it manually, an SDET might write a test program that quickly moves the player character to each one of the 10,000 areas for a few seconds each. That’s way faster than a human tester could ever do it manually.
Hi Robert, you’re right that there’s a lot to learn to be in the video game industry – but that’s the same with any industry. The sooner you start learning, the sooner you’ll get good at it. 🙂 A college degree isn’t required, but a degree or at least a certificate would help a lot when you’re applying for jobs. If you don’t know where to start, then I’d suggest maybe taking a game-related certificate from a local college if possible – it will teach you the basics, and help you start making a portfolio. Best of luck!
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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.
Hello! I know this is from a few years ago, but I see you still answer peoples inquires, thanks so much for that! I only have one question, what are the reports on bugs like? Is there a format that you need to use, and do many of the reports look similar if the bug is similar? For instance, if you glitch through the floor in a building, but also in another town over of a game, would that be two different reports written the same, except for location? And how long are the reports typically? I’m actually about to buy your book in a few minutes so sorry if you address this within it, but thought I’d just get a jump start and ask here. Thank you!
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hi im very curious about becomeing a Video Game tester and I’ve been playing video games since I was a child and really want to get into this industry. I live in Canada but I don’t know what area’s around here might employ me so i really wanna know just how i can become a Game tester in Canada and im in to Role playing Games like Dark Soul’s and Skyrim games like that so is there any advice you can offer me
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