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Quality Assurance/Games Tester?

Discussion in 'Employment & Jobs' started by Honda, Jul 17, 2007.

  1. Honda

    Honda Bit Poster

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    I have seen a few of these vacancys and was thinking of applying for one. But it is low pay and i think it can be quite boring. Can this lead to a better job or count as experience towards anything? What are the career prospects?
     
  2. webslinger2k

    webslinger2k Byte Poster

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    From my experience, all "Games Testing" positions offer quite low pay. I once new a guy employed by Sony to do compatibility and qa testing on the PS2 when it was release, and his team had to go through the entire back catalogue of PS1 titles and ensure they all worked with the machine....Madness.

    He ended up going from LOVING games, to never picking a game up in his free time....he also said the wage was awful.

    Lets face it - whose dream job ISNT testing new games!! I know that would be something I would enjoy :D
     
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  3. Fergal1982

    Fergal1982 Petabyte Poster

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    The things with a games tester is that you need to meet certain criteria:

    1. You need to be quite systematic, as you are expected to test everything you can in every possible way to check for bugs

    2. You need to be detailed, as you will be expected to note the bug behaviour, when/where it happens - noting in great detail exactly what and where it happened

    3. You need to be pretty good at gaming. Its not good enough to report back "Its all ok up to level 6, but I couldnt get past that levels boss, so I cant report on that"

    I would also warn that, in my opinion, this will end up being a fairly dead-end job. Its not support, and its not development (in most cases you will never ever see source code in a role like this). All it will enable you to do is bug-test applications (at best - at worst it enables you to only test games).

    Theres also the risk, as previously stated, that you will end up hating games if thats what you are testing. Remember you wont get a choice on what you test, you test whatever the company tells you to test. If its a games testing company/manufacturer, then you will test whatever products they are working on. It may mean you are testing utter pish, or alternatively, you may get to work on the next blinding game. Of course, whatever it is, its likely to be filled with bugs (Can you enjoy a game that crashes all the time?).
     
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  4. tune

    tune Bit Poster

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    Where's this job advertised? I think I want to apply!:D
     
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  5. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    I've heard tales of games testers getting to know the dev team and getting into programming but to be honest most places this is pretty unlikely. Also most programmers avoid testing careers because generally some level of manual testing is required and this is pretty boring and labour intensive. The skills that make a good programmer generally mean they like to be intellectually stimulated, this can not always be said of testers ! :biggrin

    Ironically because of this system testing can be a highly paid profession because nobody with any drive wants to do it. Automated testing can turn the testing back into a programming job, but as I said to test properly theres always a manual element.

    The games profession is seen as attractive so both developer and test jobs tend to pay alot less than average. Never confuse a Job with a hobby as has been mentioned !

    You may have to replay the same level for weeks to remove bugs. Its likely that the game can be configured to start at a certain level for testing, but you will need to be good at gaming to help assess the difficulty level.
     
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  6. Povester

    Povester Bit Poster

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    I worked in QA for 4+ years for a games publisher and a developer and I have got to agree with the other posters. Wages are poor although with experience I became a senior and was paid more (still wasnt great though), it's a very repetitive job and becomes boring quickly, expecially if your not working on the greatest of games.

    Don't forget, the role is the bottom of the ladder in the industry so climbing up could be next to impossible at some companys and you'll be fighting with everyone else in the department if an opportunity did arise. Also, it's worth noting the hours your expected to work can be ridiculous, especially around deadline time so if you like your social life you might lose it every few months.

    In the end I had to get out of the games industry if I wanted to further my career and thats what I've done, I now actually have prospects for the future instead of being stuck. Hope thats some help to you :D
     
  7. Mathematix

    Mathematix Megabyte Poster

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    Damn, you guys are pretty much spot on. I made the move from a short time in QA straight into programming, so that is a possibility although, at least at the studio that I'm currently working at require particularly elite skills to make such a move.

    Games testing can be enjoyable if:

    1. You like the team that you are working with.
    2. The game that you are testing is from a genre that you enjoy.

    Not all studios take liberties with hours - it's usually a reflection of project management and the demands of the publisher if there is a requirement to compensate slipping schedules with overtime.

    When applying as a games tester at a particular studio always view their website to see th types of games and platforms that you are likely to be working with; not every studio develops games like those from the GTA and Quake series. If it's by a recruiter try asking them.

    My advice is that if the opportunity arisses, and games development is a field that you feel that you can work in, go for it! Lastly, games testing is only a dead-end job if you, for one reason or another, fail to show any other skill set that strongly suggests that you will perform in another role.

    There are a number of resources out there to fill you in on an idea on what the industry is like:

    International Games Developers Association: This is a central resource containing papers and forums (where I am a moderator) with a wealth of guidance. I would suggest that you read the IGDA Breaking In FAQ to which I am a contributor.

    Games Tester.com: For job listings and other stuff related to games testing.

    The games industry has been a great experience for me so far, hope it will be the same for you. :)
     
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  8. Stevie

    Stevie Byte Poster

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    I read somewhere ages ago that some companies release a limited number of betas (eg. 5000) for people to test at home within a limited time period. There was a really good website, think I read about it in custom pc magazine, but don't quote me on that.
     
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  9. Theprof

    Theprof Petabyte Poster Forum Leader

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    There a few companies here too that offer game testing and QA but like in UK its an awful pay. All you do all day is play games and report any bugs you found.
     
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