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QA testing is generally considered an entry-level position in the game industry, and most companies do not require a college degree to be hired as a game tester. But if you do get a degree, then you’ll have a much better chance of moving into higher-paying jobs in QA/testing, or even moving into other areas of game development like art, design or programming — game jobs that almost always pay a lot more than a job as a tester. So if you want to have a career in the game industry and not just a job then it’s smart to get an education.

Besides a typical “game tester” job, there’s also a job that you may not have heard of yet called an “SDET” (pronounced “ESS-det”). That stands for “software design/development engineer in test.” It’s a cool job that’s basically a tester that writes computer code – code that tests the game in an automated way. So it’s like a testing job, but the salary is much higher since it requires programming skills. A programming degree or some programming classes would be really helpful for landing a job as an SDET.


Jeez, some of the kids commenting here really can't type well. Either that or they're not good at English. You know it isn't all just fun and games you have to have some English skills because you have to write well detailed reports. You aren't just playing the game you have to analyze it and see where the bugs are or where are the rough patches and then report them to the company. I don't think that this kind of job is for 11 or 13 year olds. I think maybe you should explain that in your article above. This is coming from a 17 year old who has tested and now I make small games with a group of friends. (we're just learning the programs right now). Learning to program is a pain in the butt, but I think rather than small kids looking for jobs in video game testing, I think they should be encouraged to learn more about the games they love. You guys are to young. It bothers me just how many of you believe it is just getting paid to play when it isn't. Well those are just my two cents.
Compounding the physical and mental stresses that QA testers endure was the complete lack of job security. "During training, they told us it's not a matter of 'if' you'll be laid-off but 'when'," says Keith. "They flat-out tell you that what makes a good employee is the number of bugs you find and it is this number that will determine if you are kept on or not." This methodology, however, did not accurately take into account the quality of dedication that went into a project. "Here I was recreating and logging how to get stuck in the tail of a helicopter. I would have other testers comment on how much they liked my bugs, because I was one of those guys who would be able to reproduce those bugs that stumped everyone else, but when it came to the end of the project, the guy next to me had more bugs, so I was laid-off and he was not."
You’ll never need to buy your own equipment, because the game company you work for will provide you with a computer, the game system(s), and any other hardware or software you might need to do your job. Often, you’ll be using a “dev kit” version of the game system, which is a specially-modified version of the hardware that allows developers to debug their games while they create them. Dev kits are often provided to game studios even before the hardware is announced to the public, so only official game studios — and you, if you have a job there — will have access to them.
Valve and Ubisoft may have internal testing teams, but most game studios do not keep a large number of testers on the payroll – instead, they hire outside game testing companies. I don’t know which contract firms they use, but Babble used to be a big one, and UTest/Applause is popular right now. You could start by looking at one of those companies.
The level editor designs a portion of the game usually referred to as a ‘level’, specifying all possible actions and events, the environment, layout, visuals, characters and objects and their behaviours. The level editor sketches ideas to be worked out in 3D and tested. They will also draw up an inventory of level ‘assets’ (objects and programming requirements), always maintaining an understanding of advanced technologies, technical constraints and what makes entertaining gameplay. The work of a level designer ensures that each new stage of the gameplay presents new challenges for the player.

Hi Arun, most QA jobs are full-time jobs. But you could possibly learn programming and get a degree in the evening and weekends from schools that offer continuing education or adult-learning certificates. For example I learned programming and made my first game demo while I was a tester, and then I completed a 1-year game development certificate course while I was working full time as a game designer.
I've seen a wide variety of people succeed in game testing roles.  Everyone from a recent College graduate with a Computer Science Degree (or equivalent) to someone who has been working in a manual labor or retail position and looking for a way to get into the tech industry. I work with a wide variety of companies and managers and each has their own ideal candidate.  Not everyone that applies to a specific game testing role will be a fit due to specific needs of each team. That being said,  there are some skillsets and characteristics that are common across all roles: strong written and verbal communication skills, excellent troubleshooting and problem solving, and demonstrated ability to work at a high level within a team environment while also able to be an independent contributor. Of course, and most important, being a huge fan of gaming. 

Besides a typical “game tester” job, there’s also a job that you may not have heard of yet called an “SDET” (pronounced “ESS-det”). That stands for “software design/development engineer in test.” It’s a cool job that’s basically a tester that writes computer code – code that tests the game in an automated way. So it’s like a testing job, but the salary is much higher since it requires programming skills. A programming degree or some programming classes would be really helpful for landing a job as an SDET.


On a typical day, a tester will receive an assignment telling him or her to play through a certain part of the game in a certain way in order to identify any bugs. When a bug appears, the tester will fill out a report and submit it; he or she may be asked to replicate it several times. Once – or if – the developers believe they've fixed the bug, the tester may then repeat the process to make sure it's no longer there. Some bugs may be "waived," meaning that they remain in the final game.
Interested in turning your love of video games into a career? This course will introduce you to the concepts and skills required to make it in the modern game industry—whether you want to build and finance your own game or land a job at a triple-A studio, with an indie team, or in mobile gaming. Learn about the history of video games, the structure of a typical game studio, the distribution paths for different types of games, marketing trends, the various roles (both artistic and technical), and the skills you need for each job. Christian Bradley provides practical, real-world advice about the game industry, and tips for getting your foot in the door. Plus, explore the courses and learning paths we offer to help get you started.
Thank you for this informative site, i am a frustrated mother of an 8 year old. My son is only allowed to play video games during the weekend and on a non busy day he can play for 3-5 hours. In two 3 hour sessions he can clear a game. Is this Normal? I know every parent thinks their child is special, I am a realistic person, although he is adorable, I just don't know enough about games. We have x-box, PS3, WIi, DSI and PS2. I am sure I make most parents cringe but we let him play Call of Duty, Red Dead redemption, Modern Warfare, James Bond eagle eye, halo, Simpsons and ect. No matter the level he's done it just 2 days! He's been doing it since he was 4, so we have became pros a game renting since the challenge is a breeze. I don't think a game tester is place for an 8 year old, I just don't know if we should be trying improve a skill I find a tad annoying but something he is good at and enjoys doing. I am not game savvy, so clearly he doesn't get it from me, I just don't know how to challenge him or direct him for a possible gaming future!
Before you change your major, I think you should try taking an online programming class to see if you like programming. (CodeSchool has some great classes, and they’re inexpensive – maybe try their JavaScript classes.) If you find out that programming is interesting for you once you spend a few hours learning it, then you might consider changing your major.
To get hired as a game tester, there are several skills you’ll need to learn: how to find and reproduce (“repro”) bugs, how to write bug reports, and how to verify that the game development team has fixed them. There are also “soft skills” you’ll need to learn such as being a good communicator, detail-oriented, and self-motivated. You can learn all of this and more by reading my book, Land a Job as a Video Game Tester. You’ll learn the basics of game testing, and all the steps to apply, interview, and accept job offers. It’s got everything you need to know to get a job testing games. read it
Be aware that there are scam websites that will try to get you to pay for your own equipment in order to get a job testing games. Do not work with those companies! All legitimate testing companies will provide you with everything you need, because they’re legally required to do so. Also, you should never have to pay money in order to find and apply for testing jobs. If a website asks you for money to help you find a testing job, stay away!
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 Chris, being a game tester sounds fun, but it’s a hard job and doesn’t pay as well as the other jobs in the game industry. If you’re 13 and want to work in games, then I’d recommend working toward being a game designer, programmer, or artist. Depending on which one attracts you the most. Check out my article on the different jobs in the game industry, and see whether one of those sounds interesting, then work in that direction.


We are a growing online gaming company and are currently looking for a part-time freelancer, to help with the research of our competitors. This will include following and documenting daily activities within these games. Requirements: - Have basic understanding and experience with Google docs/sheet/slides - Be available a few hours throughout the day - Have a computer and a mobile phone.
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