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How to Become a Game Tester: 5 Simple Steps Anybody Can Take

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Nothing beats making a living doing something you enjoy! For many people, getting paid to play games would be a dream come true.

The good news is that you can lead such a career in a variety of ways. One of them is by becoming a game tester.

In today’s guide, we’ll show you how to become a game tester along with a brief overview of the job and what you need to know about it!

An Overview of Game Tester: A Primer

A video game tester, also called a “quality assurance tester” plays video games in the production phase to test them for bugs and glitches.

A tester usually works for video game companies, but can also work as a part of an independent (outsourced) QA testing firm.

In addition to detecting bugs, a game tester is also responsible for the following:

  • Reporting the bugs, glitches, and other issues they found to game developers to be fixed
  • Providing in-depth feedback on the game experience, whether generalized or regarding particular aspects like gameplay, graphics, etc.

Game testers are critical for the development of the video game industry because they give the game studio a more educated overview of how the audience is going to receive its new games.

How Much Do Game Testers Make?

According to the BLS, quality assurance analysts can make up to $109,020 per year. However, this information is fairly generalized and includes other professions that raise the average income.

A more realistic expectation of what a game tester can make a year would be around $40,617 per year

According to the same report, working as a game tester in California earns you the highest income. However, this is unrelated to essential financial aspects like cost of living and purchasing power.

What You’ll Need to Become a Game Tester [& Associated Costs]

If you want to become a games tester, here are some of the expected requirements you might need to meet, which can vary depending on various factors and your goals:

  • Education: You don’t need specific education to become a game tester. However, you might still need training if you want to become a QA tester. A degree in this field could cost you around $5,000.
  • Deep Knowledge of Games: To test games, you need to be highly familiar with the games industry. This includes gaming mechanics, engines, etc.
  • Technical Writing: This one is essential for writing reports of the bugs and glitches you find. Luckily, you can learn basic technical writing for free. However, advanced courses could cost you up to thousands of dollars.

How Much Does it Cost to Become a Game Tester?

Technically speaking, you don’t need to pay any money to become a game tester. However, if you want to seek formal education to learn about the technical aspects from a professional, you should expect a relevant course to cost you up to $2,000.

A female game tester playing on a computer

Is it Hard to Become a Game Tester?

The difficulty associated with being a game tester is heavily dependent on overall familiarity with relevant skills.

For instance, if you have a good grasp of the technical aspect of video game analysis, being a game tester would be easier for you.

However, in both cases, being a game tester still requires a lot of dedication and work. So all in all, it’s a fairly challenging yet highly rewarding gig to consider.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Game Tester?

There isn’t a particular timeline to become a game tester. This is because the job technically doesn’t need specific education or training. 

Instead, it heavily depends on your experience in relevant aspects. Yet, if you’re learning from scratch with good gaming skills, it could take you up to 2 years to be a professional game tester.

How to Become a Game Tester in 5 Simple Steps

Now that you know more about being a game tester, here’s a quick guide that shows you the necessary steps to set foot in this industry.

1. Complete Your High School Diploma or Equivalent Education 

Technically speaking, you don’t need a high school certificate to become a professional game tester. Yet, many gaming studios and developers may add it as a requirement in job offers.

Besides high school diplomas, you can also complete any equivalent education program, such as General Educational Development (GED).

Proper education is necessary to guarantee that you have the necessary technical writing and communication skills for the job.

2. Develop Your Game Testing Skills

As a game tester, you don’t just sit and play computer games all day. Instead, you’ll need to show that you have what it takes for the job and its requirements. These video game testing skills include:

  • Evaluating games from various aspects, such as gameplay, storyline, game world, graphics, etc.
  • Detecting bugs and glitches by testing the game to its limits 
  • Finding game-breaking exploits, especially for online games. (to ensure game fairness)
  • Writing technical reports to help the game developer fix these bugs

If you want to pull off these duties, you’ll need to develop your game skills as well. This is because testing the limits of a game may require a relatively advanced player.

A young man studying online using his laptop

This should also be a good time to familiarize yourself with various other related aspects, such as:

  • Learning both quality assurance and gaming terminology.
  • Finding out more about the job description of video game testers.
  • Keep up with the latest gaming news and press releases from top gaming studios

3. Participate in Public Beta Testing

One of the best ways to get firsthand experience in game testing is by applying for beta testing for video games.

These programs allow you to sign up for beta testing phases in pre-released and early-access games. 

Since it’s volunteer work, you typically don’t get compensated for it. However, it’s a great way to try out game testing and learn more about the technical aspects behind it. It’s also a good addition to your resume.

Luckily, there are various beta tester websites that help you sign up for the latest beta testing projects. These include Alpha Beta Gamer, BetaBound, and Game Tester

4. Gain Training/Experience in Quality Assurance

While you don’t need a formal education to become a game tester, you still need to learn about the field and its technical aspects.

You should also focus on gaining experience in quality assurance and game testing fields. Luckily, there are various online courses that can help you become a better tester.

These courses will provide you with a brief overview of the skills and tools you may need to do the job.

Of course, you can also expand your knowledge of other sides of the game development industry by gaining a degree in computer science or information technology.

5. Build a Resume in Game Testing

Now that you’ve gained some work experience in game testing, you’ll be able to document your experience.

You can then add your experience, technical skill, and beta testing projects to your resume and apply to different game testing jobs.

A good tip here is to optimize the resume depending on the studio you’re applying for. This includes focusing on aspects like the game genre, bug reporting technique, necessary skills in the job posting, etc.

Reasons to Consider Becoming a Game Tester

A group of teens testing a new game

Being a video game tester comes with plenty of advantages and perks. While everyone might have their own reasons, here are some reasons why a game tester job is worth it.

  • Excellent Job Fulfillment: Working as a game tester means that you spend many hours of your day playing games. Even if you must work on bug reports and find glitches, it’s still incredibly fulfilling!
  • Access to the Latest Games: Many video game studios start the game testing phase early on. This means that you’ll get access to pre-release games and an insider view of the gaming industry.
  • Transferable Skills: Working in this industry provides you with excellent experience in quality assurance. If you don’t find game testing good enough for you, you can switch to other jobs that require similar skills. This includes software testing, software development, etc.
  • Flexible Work Hours: Game testing is mostly a work-from-home job that you can do at night. This means that you can set a flexible work schedule for the most part. This means a healthier work-life balance and maintaining a healthy social life.

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, we’ll answer some of the most common questions that many aspiring game testers might ask.

Is it Hard to Become a Game Tester?

Technically, becoming a game tester isn’t incredibly difficult, as you only need to gain experience in quality assurance. 

Yet, the challenging part is getting a job at a big gaming company. This is because they require exceptional and passionate gamers to test out their games.

However, with patience, dedication, and building a strong resume, you’ll eventually land the job of your dreams.

Can You Be a Game Tester at 14?

Being a game tester isn’t only about trying games, analyzing their gameplay experience, and reporting bugs. You also need essential communication skills to provide thorough reports about the games.

For that reason, being 18 years or older who completed high school is a common requirement among most gaming companies.

However, you can participate in open beta tests at 14, which helps you build a good resume for the future.

Similar Gigs to Check Out

If being a game tester doesn’t seem like a good career option for you, here are some alternatives to consider. These gigs share various qualities with being a game tester, so transferring experiences is fairly easy:

  • How to Become a Food Critic: Food critics try out a wide variety of dishes from a variety of cuisines. It’s a great gig if you’re a connoisseur who enjoys a properly prepared dish.
  • How to Become a Product Tester: Product testers sample, review, and compare various products to establish their quality. It’s an excellent gig if you have a thorough technique of quality assurance testing.
  • How to Become a YouTuber: If you have a passion for certain niches and want to connect with others, you can start a YouTube channel. It’s an excellent way to showcase your content-creating skills, especially if you have experience in video editing.

Wrapping Up

Becoming a game tester is an uncommon side hustle that combines your passion with your career.

Like other jobs in the software quality assurance industry, it requires both proper education and experience to get hired.

However, by following the tips we provided in this guide, you should set your foot in the field. This includes getting the proper education and beta testing experience needed to make your resume stand out!

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