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Comprehensive guide to the game development roles – QA game tester JOBS

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Let’s dive right into the realm of QA Game Tester jobs – a career path that many view as either an absolute dream job or a mere pastime that isn’t quite ‘work’. We explore the ins and outs of this crucial role in the gaming industry. Uncover the secrets of game testing, from identifying bugs and glitches to ensuring the highest quality player experience. Get a glimpse into the exciting opportunities, required skills, and career progression paths in the world of QA Game Tester jobs. Also, let’s check if that’s really one of the best options to get into gaming.

And if you want to know what are the other fields in the video game industry, check out the other parts of our gamedev roles compendium:

Table of contents:

  1. What does being a QA game tester means?
  2. Is QA tester a good start in the game industry?
  3. What does a QA tester do?
  4. QA Director role
  5. QA Lead role
  6. QA Tester role
  7. Senior QA Tester role
  8. QA Automation Tester / Engineer role
  9. QA Test Engineer role

What does being a QA game tester means?

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.

There’s a group of people who make sure games work smoothly and is bug-free. They’re called game testers, also referred to as QA testers. Think of them as detectives, looking for any mistakes or problems in the game. They meticulously play through games, repeatedly testing various strategies to pinpoint issues. Collaborating closely with game developers and programmers, they ensure that these problems are addressed. This is super important because players don’t want to spend time and money on a game that doesn’t work right. Game testers play the game many times to make sure everything’s perfect before it gets to the players. Their job extends beyond just playing; they verify technical, performance, and usability aspects of a game, and sometimes even its security. In essence, they act as the last line of defense before a game reaches the eager hands of players worldwide.

So what you see is a role with much responsibility to bear while being heavily underappreciated.

Is QA tester a good start in the game industry?

Jumping into the role of a game tester is a bit like unlocking a secret level in the gaming world. It’s the perfect starting point for those still navigating the vast universe of game development. And the best part? It’s a pretty welcoming entry door.

By stepping into a tester’s shoes, you’re not only getting a sneak peek at the latest games but truly diving deep into the mechanics of it all. You’ll be exploring a myriad of genres and platforms, from console battles to mobile challenges. But remember, it’s more than just gameplay. It’s about being keen-eyed, catching those tiny glitches, and offering insights to make the game experience even better.

Now, here’s the deal: while the role is exciting, it does demand a unique combo of patience, attention to detail, and solid communication (in English). But ace this, and you’re not just playing games, you’re paving your way in the gaming industry. From design and UX to project oversight, the avenues are endless.

So, if you’ve got a passion for games and an eagle eye for details, the QA game tester route might just be your golden ticket to the industry’s inner circle.

What does a QA tester do?

Alright, let’s break down what being a game tester really entails:

  • Understand the Game Design: Dive deep into the game’s requirements and design. Know how it’s supposed to run.
  • Repetitive Gameplay: You’ll be replaying specific game segments repeatedly. It’s not about leisurely playing; it’s systematic testing.
  • Bug Detection & Diplomacy: Found a glitch? Great! Now, relay this to the team. But remember, it’s all about the approach. Be constructive and professional – nobody likes hearing their work isn’t perfect.
  • Deep Dive Testing: You’re not just playing; you’re on a mission to find issues. This might mean testing games in various ways, even trying to “break” them.
  • Versatility: If the game has multiple versions (like PC, console), you’ll be testing them all.
  • Detail-Oriented Checks: Spot typos, grammar mistakes, or even issues in other accompanying documents like manuals.
  • Error Reporting: Any error codes or issues? Report them through specific software.
  • Comparison & Validation: When new versions roll out, play them and see if those pesky bugs from earlier versions got fixed.
  • Innovative Testing: Mix it up. Sometimes, follow the routine; other times, go rogue and try unexpected moves.
  • Feedback & Collaboration: Your insights are valuable. Share feedback and help the devs plan the amount of testing needed.

So, if you’re thinking it’s all fun and games, think again. The role demands diligence, sharp observation, and yes, a touch of diplomacy. Ready to ace it?

Ready to take your QA skills to the next level?

QA Director role in the game development

The QA Director is a seasoned professional, often hailing from a hands-on QA testing background in expansive game studios. As they climb the ranks, their focus shifts to strategic oversight, sculpting robust quality assurance processes for multiple projects. Beyond strategy, this role demands a profound understanding of QA principles, agile methodologies, and effective team leadership.

With a knack for problem-solving, stellar organizational skills, and a history of managing both people and projects, they ensure that games meet the gold standard every player expects.

QA Lead role in the game industry

QA Leads are very experienced Testers who worked on many projects before. They’ve been around, played a lot of games, and know the ropes. Besides being a top-notch tester, they’re also the go-to person for guiding and organizing their team. They make plans, keep everyone on track, and help out the newer testers. And even though they have a lot on their plate, they still sometimes jump in to test games themselves.

QA Game Tester jobs

Tasked with diving deep into various segments of a game, they meticulously scrutinize gameplay, technical aspects, progression, and visual elements to pinpoint any hiccups. Once identified, these experts meticulously document these glitches in a bug report, providing a roadmap for developers to rectify them. Following fixes, testers then re-engage with the game to ensure that the solutions are effective.

Video game testers also create test plans. Test plans explain the objectives, processes, scope of the testing work, and needed resources.

Senior QA Game Tester jobs

A Senior Game Tester boasts a wealth of experience, and with time, you could ascend to this role. Naturally, with their expertise comes greater responsibility—and a heftier paycheck compared to entry-level QA roles. Their vast knowledge positions them to handle larger portions of the game, potentially overseeing an entire game mode.

Additionally, they often take on the mantle of guiding and mentoring newcomers in the Quality Assurance team.

QA Automation Tester / Engineer role

QA Automation Tester or Engineer plays the pivotal role of tech guru, bringing efficiency to the testing process. With a knack for programming, they devise smart scripts to automate and fast-track repetitive tests, ensuring that game logic is impeccable and testing setups are optimal. They seamlessly integrate these tests into continuous integration platforms, either bolstering existing testing chains or crafting entirely new ones. Always innovating, they design internal testing frameworks using virtual players to simulate real gameplay.

QA Test Engineer role

QA Test Engineer is essentially a coding expert responsible for crafting and refining the essential tools and methodologies for game testing. From a production standpoint, they offer a bird’s-eye view, supervising the entirety of a project to ensure robust testing processes, streamlined tools, and a game that meets the highest standards of quality and performance.

Hungry for more insights?

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:

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in 2021 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.