Also, if you want to know what are the other fields in the video game industry, check out the other parts of our game dev roles compendium:
Table of contents:
- What does being a QA tester means?
- Is QA tester a good start in the game industry?
- What does a QA tester do?
- QA Director role
- QA Lead role
- QA Tester role
- Senior QA Tester role
- QA Automation Tester / Engineer role
- QA Test Engineer role
QA stands for Quality Assurance. As you can imagine - video games are very complex pieces of software. Mix everything player can do with tons of possible hardware configurations (where this particular software is supposed to run). And you'll end up with plenty of potential errors and issues, which we used to call BUGS.
And guess what - we need ppl who are actively looking for all these potential fuckups before they'll ruin all fun for players who waited very long and paid their hard-earned money. Then game testers can report these bugs to other team members, so all the errors can be patched up (so hordes of players won't shred the game to pieces with their negative reviews).
So what you see is a role with much responsibility to bear while being heavily underappreciated.
It's definitely a good place to start for people who're still looking for their place in the game development. The entry threshold is quite low.
And you could definitely learn the process of making games.
It's not a job for everyone, though. You need to own a mix of being extra thorough, patient, and a hell of a diplomat.
- Get to know the requirements of the (product) game you're testing, meaning learn how it's supposed to work by the design
- Your job is basically to replay the same parts of the game over and over again. (So you see - it's not about getting paid for playing video games. It's much more to it. And if your goal is to get money for just playing video games - you might want to reconsider your potential career path.)
- Share with the team that you've found some bugs. Aaaand this is where diplomacy comes to work. You need to describe the issues you've encountered to the people who did their share of work. The tricky part is that no one likes to hear that their work has some flaws, so you must be extra constructive and professional while sharing your feedback.
This position is more common in larger game studios or companies that provide outsourced QA services. Where there is a studio that runs a handful of projects simultaneously. QA Director oversees all QA teams in the company structure. This role is more focused on planning. QA Director's job is to maintain the proper work pipeline, processes, career development, and budgeting.
They're not testing anymore, although they usually start in the company as a QA tester.
QA Lead is a very experienced Tester who worked on many projects before. Besides being a very seasoned QA, this individual also can manage a team of other testers. Their job is to create and maintain proper work schedules, design high-level test plans, and usually mentor more junior team members.
It's not uncommon for the lead to also run some game testing.
This role's primary responsibility is to test and play through specific parts of the game to identify all errors. It can be either gameplay, tech, progression, or graphics. After that, they need to create proper documentation of the issues they encountered (bug report) and then test again fixed issues.
Video game testers also create test plans. Test plans explain the objectives, processes, scope of the testing work, and needed resources.
Senior is a much more experienced game Tester meaning that you might become a Senior. They ofc have more responsibility (paired with a bigger paycheck) than a regular QA on a lower experience level. It means they can be responsible for testing a much bigger chunk of the game, as the whole game mode.
They also might mentor junior Quality Assurance team members.
People working as Automation Testers need skills in programming.
Their job is to automate (duh ;)) the testing process. QA Automation Tester's role is to save as much time as possible by creating the script for specific repeatable actions (compared to how long it would take for a person to complete).
QA test Engineer is basically a programmer whose job is to create and improve needed tools and processes to test the game. QA Test Engineers oversee the entire project from a production pov.
That basically sums up QA testing positions. So if you're adamant about going the QA and game testing path, you should have basic knowledge about what to expect.
For more game job career advice, see our other blog posts:
- 8 tips for nailing a job interview in the game industry
- Game recruiters are your best allies. Period. Check out why!
- Junior game development job. How to get in?
- Top tips for building a killer Linkedin profile
Also, if you think there're any quality control roles that we could've missed, let us know on our social media!