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How to be a video game tester, no scams, no pay sites...the real info!
The real deal
When I first scanned the internet I was surprised of the number of scams, marketing bs and junk there was about "how to be a video game tester". It's so unrealistic what you find on half of these internet sites. I'm going to tell you from my experience as well as my girlfriends since we both are video game testers, of how to break into the world of video game testing.
First of all...let me state this: Playing video games and testing video games is TWO differnet things. Just because you like playing games all day at home, doesn't mean you'd be a good video game tester. If you're under 18, or not about to turn 18 within the next 3 months...don't bother applying. Testers work a lot of overtime, which underage kids can't do. The hours are usually insane, either extrememly early in the morning or in the middle of the night and with minor laws the companies won't hire you, since overtime is usually mandatory. I'm talking 12-15 hour days, no joke! But the paycheck is good!
1. Stop being scammed! NEVER EVER pay to get a job! If you have to pay for anything, it's a scam. 99.9% of home jobs are a scam. Don't fall for it! I'm not going to say all, but most video game testing jobs require you to go to the site to work. Occasionally, the job may let you work from home, say you're too sick to come in or have an emergency at home. And they will give you everything you need to set you up at home, but strictly at home testing jobs are more than likely a scam.
2. How to find REAL game testing jobs. It's a lot easier than you think to find a game testing job. Most game testing jobs can amazingly be found right on craigslist. No joke. Just search up Game Tester, or QA Game Tester, or even QA Tester. (But a lot of jobs for QA Testers come up for software testing) or even just search up video games, you'll get a lot of results. Go to Gamasutra.com and look up video game companies in your area, most companies have job listings right on their sites. Even if they don't post for testing jobs, just send them an e-mail anyway.
3. Metro areas. I hate to say it but if you live in the middle of nowhere, most likely you're not going to find a video game testing job. Small metro areas like Raleigh, North Carolina are slowly coming up. Me and my girlfriend both worked over there. But most of the jobs are around high metro areas.
4. Playing games and testing games is NOT the same. Most gamers think being a video game tester is the coolest job you can ever have. LOL! I laugh...if you think being a tester is that much fun then you really need to do you're research. I admitt it can be one of the coolest jobs ever. There's no dress code, you can listen to your ipod at work, not a lot of rules, you get to play video games, you get to go to conventions like E3...but when deadlines hit and it's crunch time over time is not an option, be prepared to give away those weekends. The paycheck will be good but you're free time will be shot! Plus playing the same level for 8 hours looking for bugs can drive you up the wall, to the point you think you're head is going to spin. It can get pretty boring at times. But what job can't?
5. Have an off the hook resume and cover letter! There are so many unqualified people who apply just because they think they are a gamer that they will be hired. NOT! There is a lot of technical writing and software use that comes to being a video game tester. It's an entry level job and they are hoping to promote you. Most people who come in as testers do not stay testers, they eventually move up. So, get a good resume and cover letter.
6. Go to school. Making video games is NOT easy, so you better either be in school or already graduated. They do not like to hire testers who are not either a student or attended college. For the same reason I said above, they are trying to constantly move the talent up. Promotion is everywhere and opportunities are endless. Many people go from testers to artists or programmers, so look into a good school and if you're serious about games then go to school for it. Testing is more than a job, it's an entry level to a career.
7. Contracts and staffing firms. Most likely if you get hired to a testing job you will not be officially working for that company, you'll be hired under a staffing firm, or you'll have a contract with the company. A lot of testing jobs are temp to hire, or just temp. Don't be scared of the word temp. Take it anyway!!! The experience is priceless and if you can manage to get ONE job as a game tester another company will hire you later. They look for experienced game testers and will over more pay. Most contract are in between 6 months to a year, after that year the company will review you're work and either hire you onto their company permanently or let you go. Don't be scared of a contract job, fear will hold you back.
8. Mobile testing jobs. Not all companies work on consoles. There are also testing jobs for games on mobile phones. Like Namco and EA have a mobile line of video games as well. It's becoming a big market and if you can usually land a job in the mobile market easier than a console job, that's what I did. Get that experience then you can move to a console company.
9. Be prepared to stand out. Like I said time and time again, they are looking to promote you, so you need to prove to them why they should hire you. Be prepared to answer crazy questions in interviews and you better know video games, movies and might even have to sing karaoke for the interview. lol. I'm completely serious. But always remember as much fun as job may sound, it's a billion dollar industry and the people are very serious. So, don't cross the borders thinking just because it's laid back you can act like how you do with your friends.
And with that all said...go find a job....and go to school...video games are here to stay, it's a great industry. I never thought I would love going to school and going to work, but I do!
If you have a question about video game testing jobs, email me and I'll respond back to you in a timely manner. If you'd like to share you're question with everyone then let me know and I'll publish as one of my next Hubs. Thanks for reading everyone! :) ~Miss Tee