How to Become a Video Game Tester
Video Game Tester Careers & Degrees

Video Game Testers are professionals who are experienced in testing and critiquing a variety of video games.

Video games these professionals are involved in critiquing include web based video games as well as games specifically made for gaming consoles.

Their work revolves around testing, noting and fixing errors present in a video game.

This step is necessary before the mass production of a video game; these professionals follow standards that allows for a product to have the highest quality.

Individuals who want to become a Video Game Tester will need a strong background in video gaming including knowing a variety of gaming consoles and game genres.

In addition, individuals must fulfill educational requirements and have some strong personal skills in order to succeed in this profession.

Some recommended skills to gain before entering this profession include: technical skills and understanding of video game console and operating systems as well as attention to detail to pinpoint minor flaws in games and strong writing skills to complete reports.

Education Requirements to Become a Video Game Tester

Exact educational requirements to become a Video Game Tester will depend on what an employer is seeking.

Individuals with a bachelor’s degree have the strongest job prospects especially when seeking a job at a larger organization.

Experience and a voluntary certification are also some recommended steps to take to enter this field.

Some recommended bachelor’s degrees to become a Video Game Tester include computer programming, computer science, software development or a closely related technical degree.

Completing a bachelor’s degree will give individuals the technical knowledge to test video games.

Through these degrees, individuals will learn basic computer programming and codes that will help them test video games on a technical level.

Individuals are also encouraged to gain experience to familiarize themselves with different gaming consoles and game genres.

Experience will also prepare individuals to learn how to troubleshoot programs and the technical steps or coding needed to fix such errors.

Experience will also give individuals the opportunity to familiarize themselves with games and how they are played to provide feedback in this area.

Individuals who pursue a voluntary certification will be able to present that when applying for possible job openings.

Completing the requirements for a Certified Computing Professional (CCP) is an example of such certification.

Individuals may visit the Institute for the Certification of Computing Professionals to learn more information about this certification.

Video Game Tester Job Description

Video Game Testers are responsible for detecting any flaws or errors occurring in a video game that is in development.

This step is crucial to determine any possible kinks before a game is mass produced and sold to consumers.

Video Game Testers may be responsible for the following tasks:

  • Test many aspects of games including: characters, graphics and special effects
  • Present a report of findings and any errors that need fixing
  • Suggest any improvements to game developers and designers
  • Game developers and designers will make adjustments according to reports

Video Game Tester Salary and Career Path

There are no exact salary figures for Video Game Testers because it is a niche profession and the frequent changes in technology.

The income figures can range drastically beginning at $15,000 to over $100,000 per year.

As with other professions, exact wages will depend on a variety of factors including company size and the years of experience an individual has.

Many Video Game Testers may also work on a freelance basis meaning they only get paid based on contracts they manage and the number of projects an individual completes per year.

Freelance Video Game Testers must also rely on their networking skills in order to improve their professional income that results in more jobs.

Job prospects will heavily depend on the level of experience an individual has in game testing and the amount of networking one does to break into the business.

Another factor is competition; because this profession can also be a personal hobby, competition for jobs in this profession is stiff because of novice game players attempting to enter this profession.

Individuals with a strong history, several years of experience or a different outlook to game testing have the best job prospects.

Video Game Testers use a combination of technical skills and their knowledge of video games in order to identify and fix any errors occurring in a video game.

This career is a perfect fit for individuals with the technical background and a love of video games.

Job opportunities in this field are good for those who work on their background and network.

The below information is based on the 2019 BLS national averages.
  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary

$111,620
$64K
$82K
$111K
$136K
$164K
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%

Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
Alabama$100,840
Alaska$103,270
Arizona$100,730
Arkansas$86,100
California$134,370
Colorado$111,540
Connecticut$107,540
Delaware$111,400
District of Columbia$118,580
Florida$99,840
Georgia$102,680
Hawaii$99,570
Idaho$95,140
Illinois$103,760
Indiana$91,880
Iowa$95,370
Kansas$91,990
Kentucky$87,650
Louisiana$84,100
Maine$95,410
Maryland$116,080
Massachusetts$115,270
Michigan$92,070
Minnesota$104,770
Mississippi$87,030
Missouri$92,510
Montana$88,190
Nebraska$90,820
Nevada$98,120
New Hampshire$109,900
New Jersey$113,510
New Mexico$88,980
New York$119,570
North Carolina$105,060
North Dakota$82,930
Ohio$95,920
Oklahoma$87,740
Oregon$104,260
Pennsylvania$99,280
Rhode Island$108,020
South Carolina$92,440
South Dakota$79,030
Tennessee$90,670
Texas$107,940
Utah$101,380
Vermont$99,730
Virginia$114,440
Washington$131,870
West Virginia$89,550
Wisconsin$92,560
Wyoming$87,510
Puerto Rico$52,680

The top earning state in the field is California, where the average salary is $134,370.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

California - $134,370
Washington - $131,870
New York - $119,570
District of Columbia - $118,580
Maryland - $116,080
* Salary information based on the May 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Software Developers and Software Quality Assurance Analysts and Testers, OCC Code 15-1256, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

QuestionWhat does a video game tester do?

If you’re passionate about computer games, becoming a video game tester can sound like your dream career because you will get to play games for a living.

Game testers play each part of the game trying to identify bugs such as graphical inconsistencies or computer crashes.

They have to write concise reports describing the problems that they find but they may also make suggestions on how to improve the gaming experience.

As a game tester, you will work alongside game developers and designers to ensure the game works perfectly before being released on the market.

Game testers need not only a passion for video games but also technical and analytical skills, attention to detail, patience, communication and writing skills.

They usually work for a game development company and may have to work overtime to meet deadlines.

QuestionHow much does a video game tester make?

As a game tester, you will make, on average, around $50,000 a year but salaries vary between $40-$150 per hour depending on the employer and the tester’s level of experience.

Salaries may also vary based on the tester’s education and the region of employment.

QuestionHow much does it cost to become a video game tester?

You can become a video game tester with a diploma, an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree in software development, computer science, game design or a related field.

Costs vary widely depending on the school you choose and the program itself.

For example, a game design degree can cost you anywhere between $10,000-$40,000 a year.

Diploma programs that can be completed in less than a year are also available and can cost less than $2,000 in total.

QuestionWhat is the demand for video game testers?

As the demand for video games continues to grow, more game testers will be needed to test those games and to suggest improvements.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t provide specific data about game testers.

However, job opportunities should be good for game testers who are passionate about video games, have a few years of experience and have completed some formal education.

QuestionHow long does it take to become a video game tester?

Although you can become a game tester with a high school diploma and less than 1 year of post-secondary training in video game design or a similar field, seeking an academic degree in the field can greatly improve your job prospects.

Bachelor’s degree programs in computer science, software development, and other related fields can be completed in 4 years, while associate’s degree programs are typically 2 years long.

In conclusion, you can become a tester soon after finishing high school if you have the skills the employer needs but in order to improve your job prospects and to have better advancement opportunities, you should spend between 2-4 years in post-secondary schooling.

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