National Careers Week: Become a Computer games tester

In honour of National Careers Week 2016, we’re profiling some of the new job profiles from Careers 2016. Today’s new role from the 12th edition is Computer games tester.

Computer games tester

Qualifications and courses

There are no formal entry requirements for a career in computer games testing. Knowledge of, and keen passion for, computer games and the gaming industry is of most value when looking for work in this fi eld.

The Chartered Institute for IT (BCS) offers a Certifi ed Tester qualification at Foundation level, in collaboration with the International Software Testing Qualifications Board (ISTQB) for those involved or looking to get involved in software testing. There are also certificates at Intermediate and Higher level. No prior experience is required in order to undertake the Foundation level certifi cate. Candidates for the Intermediate level certificates will already hold 18 months’ industry experience in a software testing role, and those for the higher between 5 and 7 years’.

Knowledge of programming will be beneficial to a career in computer games testing. This could be gained through a bachelor’s degree route, undertaking a degree in a relevant subject such as computer games development, computer games technology, computer science or 3D animation. Entry onto a degree is usually with 2 A Levels/3 H Grades and 5 GCSEs/National 5s (A*–C/A–C) and courses typically take 3–4 years to complete.

Alternatively, funded apprenticeship routes may be available, depending on geographical location. The Tech Partnership offers Tech Industry Gold apprenticeship and degree apprenticeship schemes in software development at Intermediate, Advanced and Higher levels (Levels 2–6). Apprenticeships take between 12 months and 2 years to complete, combining on-the-job experience with formal learning at a college or university (training provider). Entry to higher and degree apprenticeships is usually with 2 A Levels/3 H Grades and 5 GCSEs/National 5s (A*–C/A–C).

Demonstrable passion for the gaming industry will be beneficial when looking for employment. Undertaking independent projects in games design or development, building a portfolio of storyboarded game designs, maintaining industry knowledge through magazines and other news outlets and submitting your own articles and reviews to blogs or user-generated media outlets will be regarded favourably when applying for jobs.

 

What the work involves

Computer games testing is a form of quality assurance (QA) work. As a computer games tester you will undergo intensive playtesting of computer, console and mobile games in order to ensure that gameplay runs smoothly and to discover any programming faults and inconsistencies in the software before it goes into distribution.

You will be expected to present your findings as a detailed bug report and liaise with games design and development teams, advising on how to address and correct the faults that your testing has brought to light.

As the first user of a computer game, you may also be consulted to provide feedback on elements of design such as user interface, sound and accessibility.

 

Type of person suited to this work

You will need outstanding analytical and problem-solving skills and the determination to be able to thoroughly playtest very small fragments of gameplay.

You will need passion for and skill at playing computer games as well as a creative approach to testing.

You will need to be a good written and spoken communicator, able to convey details of faults in games software to developers.

Working conditions

Work is mostly office based and hours can be unsocial, requiring regular work during evenings and weekends and through public holidays.

Overtime may be a regular requirement, particularly at busy periods prior to a game’s release.

Future prospects

Career progression may require you to move through a number of temporary positions at different developers, gaining employment through agencies and working on a relatively large number of projects before securing a long-term contract as an in-house games QA tester.

Nevertheless, clear lines for career development have been established and computer games testers may undertake work with a view to advancing a career in software QA, moving into testing lead roles then on to testing department management or direction. Alternatively, testers may look for progression into computer games design or development.

Advantages/disadvantages

There can be great job satisfaction in seeing the release of a computer game that you have worked on.

Job security may be missing in the early stages of a career in computer games testing.

Money guide

Entrants can expect to earn between £12,000 and £20,000 a year.  With experience you could progress to a testing lead role, earning between £25,000 and £30,000 a year.

Progression to more senior roles, such as games developer, can increase yearly earnings to between £35,000 and £40,000 a year.

Related opportunities

  • Computer Games Designer
  • Software Developer/Programmer

Further information

BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT

Creative Skillset


 

 

This job profile is taken from Careers 2016, the bestselling annual jobs directory.

Download the PDF of this page here: Computer Games Tester