How Do I Become a Game Tester?
How do I become a game tester? Can I do it from home? These are the questions video gamers would love to know. Here are the answers.
Working from Home
Let's take the second one first: Yes, you can work from home. In fact, expect to work from home as that is the standard for most video game testing jobs. You work from home on a contract basis: meaning they send you work as it becomes available. In general, you have the right to accept or decline a job when it is offered. (Keep in mind that if you decline too often, the company will begin to look elsewhere for a tester.)
Also remember that in contract work, you don't get paid unless you have actually done work for the company. If there is nothing forthcoming, you need another way to pay the bills.
Becoming a Game Tester
- Now, back to that first question: How do you become a video game tester? There is a lot of competition to get the relatively few jobs out there, so it will take time, patience and persistence.
- First, you need to assess your skills and write up a resume
- In addition to work and education experience, list the platforms you are familiar with
- List any awards you have won and articles you have written (especially those on gaming or product reviewing)
- Cite anything that might show a video game company that you would be an asset to its staff
Be sure to proofread your resume and also have someone else proofread it
While you're preparing your resume, look for listings for testing jobs; the best bet is to look at the websites for game developers as there is often a jobs page. Don't just look at the major companies. In fact, if you have no experience as a game tester, you may have better luck at a smaller, lesser known company. When you see a listing, make sure you have the skills the company is looking for and don't apply until you have that resume ready.
Networking Pages and Online Groups are the Way to Go!
If you have not already done so, join networking pages and online groups devoted to video gaming. This is a great way to get to know people who are already in the industry.
Quite often, this is how word gets out about available jobs. You can "prime the pump" by making it known that you want a testing job. (In fact, mention it in your signature line on message boards.)
Post often to those websites. But be careful: Don't use offensive language or say anything else that would label you as a difficult person. If you have a negative comment, be constructive. This will show those people in the industry that you are mature enough to give an objective critique.
Don't just look for testing jobs; also look reviewing jobs for gaming magazines and websites. You may find you enjoy that work just as much. Game testing is an intense job in which you are supposed to find as many "bugs" as possible. Deadlines can be very tight to meet production schedules. On the other hand, reviews are generally short. You don't have to learn every little secret of a game, just enough to get a good overall impression.
In a nutshell, the answer to how to begin to be a video game tester is the same as any other job search: It's not so much what you know but who you know. Show them that you would be valuable to the gaming company and you will soon have an ideal home-based job.