Maybe I am barking up the wrong tree, but I’ve reached a point in my life where I am grateful for any kind of advise. For the last three years, I have been attending college for a degree I didn’t even want. Long story short, parental figure says there is no demand for game designers/programmers, go into oil! In those three years I have accomplished only 2 years worth of credit in degree, a seething hatred for the Midwest, diagnosis in major depression disorder, a large debt for an unfinished degree and medical expenses, and academic probation for dropping below a 2.0. I have always been a very good student and earned mostly “A”s and “B”s, however over the last year, things have been going downhill in a spiral. I don’t want to explain everything but the end results. I am now taking a break from education to reevaluate my options while I try to find work to pay my hospital bills. My medical condition doesn’t allow me to work very laborious jobs, so finding an appropriate job in the small town that I live in has become nearly impossible. Upon searching for at-home work, which I suspected would be a dead end, I have stumbled upon this article of yours. I have aspired to be in the video game industry for years. I have done my own designing and free-time self teaching for years. I have written dialogue scripts, screenplays (mostly for animations, theatre classes, and my own amusement), and tried my hand out on 3D modeling, and rigging, and animation. I have even worked on table top mechanics for my own board game designs. These things are just what I can think of on the top of my head right now. My point is, I really enjoy nearly all aspects I have tinkered with regarding the topic. I play a fair amount of games as well. From card games to tabletop to video game. I have all these unfinished projects floating around my head, all these ideas I feel could be great. I used to have no free time to myself, and the free time I did find was usually spent lounging on my couch with a controller in my hand ignoring the increasing load of homework I didn’t know how to complete because rent required me to work that day instead of attend class. Now, after doctor visits and therapy sessions, I find myself with all free time and no idea what to do next. I have no health insurance, no job, and no degree. The time I spent working hard for a degree I didn’t want seems to be for nothing. I know I want to get into the game industry, one way or another, and I’ll be damned if I let someone else try to run my life again. So this is what I am asking. What can a debt riddled, determined, small town of Kenai, Alaska resident woman do to get into the game industry?
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!
If the idea of moving to a different city (or even a different country) freaks you out, I urge you to keep an open mind. Many people move to a new town to start their first video game job, so there’s already a support network in place to help you out. The company that’s hiring you might even offer financial assistance to help you with your moving costs.

I really like video games but I have a short attention span because I have ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder it doesn’t bother me when I am playing games only when I am doing other things like writing or reading I am an excellent reader but not a great writer I really want to be a video game tester I already try to find bugs and glitches in the games I play it helps to lengthen the game I have medicine that I take for it but it makes me a bit A-social I don’t get aggressive or any thing like that but I can be kinda shy would that be a problem.


Well… All i do is gaming all i mostly ever wanted to do is game and it would be ARWSOME to be in the industry thats if there is one in New Zealand but if there is, i really want to just test game and do reports because i played games with a lot of bugs and i do make reports about them etc… But this is a job i would love to have!!! Sincerely – Harry Wilson McGill

Hi, I’m in my first semester in college now and I was thinking about going into gaming since I’ve been playing games for a long time since I can remember. I am thinking about changing my major into something like programming, but I never took a class in high school that was computer oriented and such. I was wondering do you think it would be a good idea to go ahead and change my major or not since I don’t really know about programming?

Hi Stephen, you aren’t convinced by my articles on game developer salary, which are well-cited? And not by my interviews with game industry veterans from giant game teams like Assassin’s Creed, Forza Motorsports, Project Spark, and mega-hits like Plants vs. Zombies? Or by all my articles on interviewing at game companies, based on many years of experience as a hiring manager? Then I’m afraid you can’t be convinced.

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?

This can vary widely depending on the specific team/project you are working on. I've placed some testers into roles where they literally are pushing buttons for an entire day waiting for an error to occur, and other roles where a tester is sitting right beside the game developers testing a game in real time as game code is being written.  There are some companies that work extreme hours in order to finish projects on time but from what I've seen over the years this is not as common as it used to be.  There always will be crunch time where you can expect to work some OT, but extended periods of OT for months on end are not that common anymore.
Hi Ruben, it sounds like you’ve already started developing some of the skills you need to get a job testing – namely, learning about games, and learning how to find and report bugs. You do NOT have to pay anybody to get a job testing games – game testing is like any other job, you just need to find the jobs (start your search here), apply, and interview. If anybody tries to make you pay to find testing jobs, it’s probably a scam and should be avoided.

Hi Evan, thanks for the questions. First of all, playtesting isn’t a full-time job, you might be thinking about the QA Tester job that’s described in this article. That is a full-time job, and most companies do not require a degree to do that job. Also, there are dozens (hundreds?) of game studios in the US, so I recommend you don’t limit yourself as to which one you’d work for when you first start out — you’ll have a lot to learn, and you can learn at most any game company.

If you don't have much work experience or previous testing experience, add a section to your resume towards the top that lists out your gaming experience at home.  Things to list include gamer scores, favorite game(s), platforms you own or play on, PC hardware knowledge, networking experience and any other technical skills that would be relevant to the game industry. There are a lot of particular skills we look for, but enthusiasm still matters.
Hi Evan, thanks for the questions. First of all, playtesting isn’t a full-time job, you might be thinking about the QA Tester job that’s described in this article. That is a full-time job, and most companies do not require a degree to do that job. Also, there are dozens (hundreds?) of game studios in the US, so I recommend you don’t limit yourself as to which one you’d work for when you first start out — you’ll have a lot to learn, and you can learn at most any game company.

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Work at a company that has friendly, fun, nice people working there. You may be working very long hours for days or weeks before each game release, which will be much more enjoyable if the people you’re working with aren’t jerks. Research the studio on Glassdoor.com, and ask people who may have worked there in the past. Avoid companies that seem to be full of jerks.
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