Becoming a game tester isn't just about playing video games all day. There's a lot more to the job, as quality insurance is one of the most important aspects of game development. The crux of the role is to identify program errors, bugs, inconsistencies and ways to improve games before they go to market.
Schools and Degrees
Game design training can certainly help propel you into the video game profession. Even if you think you understand the nuts and bolts of video games, a game design degree can teach you how to become a video game tester with skills you might not learn on your own. Plus, it's a good way to get a sense of working in a collaborative environment.
Game design degrees run the gamut from certificates to master's degrees. Some schools will offer a bachelor of science in game design degree, while others may lump game design into their bachelor of fine arts program. An added perk: Many schools offer online courses.
A master's degree in game development can also set you apart from the crowd. In those programs, students often learn skills like technical writing, analytical skill development and performance estimation.
Careers for Game Testers
A video game tester works in the quality assurance role in the overall game development process. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Outlook Quarterly, entry-level work game development jobs can be hard to come by in large studios, but video game tester jobs can also be found in small studios where mobile and social media games are created. In either path, a video design degree can give you a leg up.
The BLS doesn't maintain specific salary data for the video game industry, but Gamasutra, in its 2014 salary survey, reports that video game testers, included in the larger group of quality assurance professionals, made an average salary of $54,833.
Of course, salaries for video game testers are dependent on many things, such as company size, location and education. A game design degree can not only help you get into the field, but it may help boost your salary too.
Profile of a Game Tester
Working in quality assurance requires a certain set of skills and abilities. Game testers are typically analytical thinkers, problem solvers, team players and clear communicators. Although you're playing video games, the job can be stressful and require persistence. Earning a game design degree can make you more familiar with the type of setting you might find yourself working in down the road.
Sources: bls.gov, www.gamasutra.com/view/news/221533/Game_Developer_Salary_Survey_2014_The_results_are_in.php