Video game testers are a profession that allows you to get started in gaming, but at the same time it is difficult and the lowest link. But again, the pros outweigh the cons. This is why you might be wondering how to become a video game tester. This is a continuation of the GI.biz material where it is described how to start working as a tester. Read the first part of the article to see the full picture.
What professional qualities should a tester have?
Believe it or not, good gaming skills are not the most important skill you need to become a game tester. As Universally Speaking CEO James Cubitt says:
“You must think logically, be patient, creative, with a concise and clear ability to express thoughts in writing. You should be able to articulate clearly and concisely where the problems are, what they represent, how they came about so that fellow testers and developers can understand and fix the problem.
When trying to find problems, you need to be patient, since you will need to do the same thing many times in order to find out why they appear and at what actions, describe them as accurately as possible, whether they really exist. It can be a "chronic problem" that occurs repeatedly or an isolated incident.
Creativity is also important as you have to think about different types of players. Someone will simply run through the game, someone will explore every nook and cranny, someone will try to do something out of order, look for errors and break the game ... All methods of passing people must be taken into account. ”
Pole To Win President of North America and India Siyo Jose adds:
“Knowledge of games, passion for games, basic knowledge of quality assurance, analytical skills, and good communication skills in English are an excellent skill base to build on for your future and career. We also want to see the tester have skills such as attention to detail, adaptability and flexibility, teamwork, and creative problem-solving skills. ”
As you progress through the position, it's important to be organized so you can manage teams and keep in touch with clients.
Pawel Marsiniak, QA Testronic Project Manager in Warsaw, says:
“I start the day by assigning tasks to each member of the team. In the future, I will contact the client throughout the day, sending him updates on our progress. Checking for bugs reported by technicians is also part of my responsibility. Most of the time, I create checklists based on project documents or the title itself. ”
The main skill that novice testers should learn, especially when working directly with developers, is the ability to find compromises.
“Quality control requires outstanding communication skills - I can't stress this enough. You work side by side with programmers, artists, designers ... you need to be able to negotiate and be emotionally restrained to get your point across, even if they don't necessarily want to hear it.
Leaving your ego at the door of a work building is also important. I've seen too many testers with knowledge of game development get shocked and resentful when their ideas for a project are left out of the way. " Misconceptions About the Game Testers Profession There are enough misconceptions about game testers to forget about to know what you're signing up for:
Being a tester is just playing games all day
No, playtesting doesn't mean just playing games all day.
"There is a big difference between testing and enjoying the game," Cubitt says. “We plan and execute tests in a methodical way to ensure we clean up the game completely. This could be connecting and disconnecting to servers all day long for multiplayer, playing through all the customizable elements and making sure they load as expected. ”
White adds: “Sometimes this work is about repetition of the same thing. And it contains more documents and various papers than you imagine. The work itself is not at all like going through the game, like at home. You just can't enjoy games, you don't act like a consumer. In fact, when you're done testing, you will never want to touch this game or its content again. ”
This is a calm and fun post
Since many people believe that testing games is the same as playing them, they also believe that testers have a calm and relaxed working environment.
“It can be fun at times like any other job, but testing can be stressful as hell,” White explains. “I found a recent UKIE UK Game Industry Census study pretty clear that 30% of testers experience work-related depression. They also rank second in terms of anxiety (34%).
The role of a tester can be very complex. There are still not enough companies using test departments throughout development. Instead, they prefer to conduct quality control towards the end of development. In these situations, testers are often faced with inadequate testing tools and resources. Time is running out, all bugs must be found, prioritized and fixed before the deadline.
Testers are often called the "last line of defense". It sounds heroic, but this is a lot of pressure that shows that the game is not the best management. This can lead to an atmosphere where the blame for a poor quality project falls on the shoulders of the testers.
Add to this that some testers need to interact with the players. Even if you don't have to answer them, you still have to filter their reviews, which can be very debilitating and certainly has an impact on mental health. ” adds: “Another misconception I see with players is phrases like 'Why didn't the testing department prevent this?'.
Are we always happy with the result? Of course not. The term Quality Assistance is gaining traction in QA circles as it gives a better idea of who we are. We are not quality control, but only cleaners.
This job without a career, you just need to enter the industry
While some people use QA as a way to get into the gaming industry to do something bigger in the future, it can also be a very successful career. Jose lists Test Leader, Project Manager, and Director of Quality Assurance as some of the roles available as career degrees. As Cubitt says:
“Experienced testers are incredibly valuable as you become more and more responsible as you move into higher roles, including training and managing testers, and creating test plans through direct communication with developers - you will continually grow and strengthen the most vital skills in the workplace. ”
White agrees: “A lot of people started their careers in the gaming industry as testers, and I'm sure people will continue to do so for a long time. It's a fun and technical career that's vital in making games. It is disrespectful to those who choose QA as a career, to see it as just a springboard for further development. Plus, QA executives and hiring managers want analysts who are good at their craft and are actually going to stay, not those looking for a fast track to development.
Besides, I can't say that this is the best starting point. You can learn some incredible skills in QA, but not many of them have to do with animation, community management, or marketing. The reality is that you will be working in an often tedious, stressful, technical role that unfortunately requires overtime in many companies and you may have little free time to develop your skills in what you really want to do.
But certainly QA is one of the few roles in the industry where you can touch every element of the game, you can work with every other department and get a complete overview of the development process - this is one of the many things that make the job exciting. This can be a great foundation for understanding how development and design works. The technical aspects can also be an excellent textbook for development in programming. ”
The whole profession is about finding bugs
The tester's job is not only to notice errors so that they can be corrected. White says:
“This is about analyzing and improving overall quality in current and future projects. In addition to identifying bugs, QA ensures that the game is user-friendly, intuitive and fun, which actually satisfies the user's needs. Errors are identified by entire teams and ensured that they can be avoided in the future.
In addition, some testers are concerned with fixing bugs, not just finding them. There are testers who often release their bibles and technical documentation for development teams. Some even create tools that make testing easier and faster.
Tips for beginners
Check your local studio sites
Local game developers may not always need game testers, but they often need people to come and give feedback.
If these studios have open house days or local gaming sessions, get involved. Developers and producers are constantly looking for gamers who can speak clearly and provide real gameplay feedback.
If you're unlucky enough to live in a city with a booming gaming industry, look for opportunities to become a beta tester remotely. While they may not offer a studio testing experience, you will get an overview and how testers communicate with the developers and community coordinators who manage them. ”
Take part in any beta test - sometimes studios need feedback and bugs you find. This is an experience you can use in interviews. ”
Learn everything about the gaming industry
Pay attention to the industry and the latest developments - new technologies, new genres and new services are constantly changing the game testing environment.
“Having a wide and varied gaming industry knowledge will always be an advantage. As well as a good knowledge of the games created by the company you are contacting. However, don't focus solely on becoming an expert in just one game or genre.
If you want to work for Blizzard because you are a big fan of World of Warcraft then knowing their product will help you, but if WoW is the only game you play, this is not enough.
This not only limits your perspective, but only gives you the player's perspective. While testers need to approach their work with a user mindset, they also need to use a business-oriented mindset because, after all, an industry is a business, ”says White.
Get ready to discover
You may be a big fan of strategy games, but don't forget about other genres and mobile platforms.
Chances are, you won't get to test your favorite gaming franchise, AAA, or your preferred platform right away. Mobile games are a huge market, and there will be a lot of tests around it, and you will quickly expand your horizons. There are games for all ages, all of which need thorough and reliable testing.
The Topic of Article: How to become a video game tester? Part two.