How to Become a Video Game Tester
Is it easy to become a professional video game tester?
Not even a little bit my friend! However, if you can stick with it and really give it 100% of your effort, you'll find that professional video game testing is one of the best possible jobs a life long gamer could EVER ask for. But, therein lies the dilemma -- YOU NEED TO ACTUALLY PUT IN EFFORT if you wish to succeed! A lot of gamers are lazy and they just want to play and get paid; that's not what game testing is about, period.
Step 1: Getting Serious & Out of Your "Hobby" Mindset
This isn't a weekend hobby nor is it some "fast cash" job that you can do off and on whever you feel like it. Video game testing is not only a REAL job, its a REAL career choice.
Why should you take paid game testing seriously? Because for one, you're getting PAID to do something you love to do. Two, well, it's not an opportunity thats open to everyone, so if you get the chance to play games for money, you had better make the most of it!
As a professional beta game tester, you'll have to complete assignments given to you, you'll have to meet deadlines set by your game developer (or testing center), and most importantly of all, you'll have to do ACTUAL work besides just sitting on your butt playing awesome new video games.
The sooner you realize that this job -- although insanely awesome -- is no different than other types of paid employment, the better off you're going to be!
That's all there is to step 1 of how to become a video game tester. Ready to quit? No? Well, I didn't think so; step 1 is pretty easy after all. Let's move along to step 2.
Step 2: Getting Out & About
You have NEVER EVER seen a newspaper ad that says "Hiring Beta-Game Testers, Apply Now!" Do you know why that is? Because such ads don't exist. Why not? Due to the simple fact that gaming developers (and testing centers) don't need them in order to find competent beta game testers -- such individuals always come to them!
They'd be swamped by every gamer for miles & miles around if they just put out an ad that said "Want to test games and get paid?" It's just foolish and unnecessary for them to do that.
If you want to become a professional video game tester, YOU have to go to the gaming companies & developers, YOU have to tell them why you'd be a good choice for a game testing position, and YOU have to be the one that convinces them of your colossal & indispensable gaming expertise.
After all, they don't need you nearly as much as you want them to, so don't pretend they're out & about searching for you -- THEY'RE NOT!
That was step 2 of how to become a video game tester. Are you ready to throw in the towel yet? Yes? Then get out of here you loser! For those of you who aren't quitters, continue on down to step 3.
Step 3: Be Patient. No, I Really Mean It... BE PATIENT!!
I'm not going to lie to you. Getting that first game testing job is tough -- mega tough! It's going to take patience and plenty of determination because you're going to be doing a LOT of waiting. In fact, you'll probably have to get a regular job while you search for video game tester jobs -- that's how long it can take!
You're going to be rejected more times than you can count and by more gaming companies than you can even name. However, you can't let that get in the way if you really want to become a video game tester.
A game testing company or game developer can reject you one month, then hire you the next month -- it just depends on their needs for their newest projects. That said, don't cross off any developer names or contacts just because they turned you down -- you can always reapply at a later date.
That was step 3 of how to become a professional video game tester. This is the step that most people can't tolerate -- all the waiting around with nothing to show for their efforts. If you're having second thoughts, well, you can always leave. If you're still not worried about your chances, continue to step 4.
Step 4: Don't Be Another "Noob", Be An Experienced Tester Looking For More Work
What do I mean by that? Simple; don't act like a rookie when applying for testing positions. You can't send in a sheet of paper with your contact info that says "I want to test your games for cash, please hire me!?". You might as well laugh at the resume yourself and throw it in the trash, because that's what any person who looks at it is going to do.
You can start by getting active in the gaming world. Sign up for beta testing roles with online communities and online games. New video game projects always need beta testers -- and here's a newsflash; there are ALWAYS new games coming out every single month!
And I'm not even talking about big name developers either, I'm talking about indie games, indie game developers, and small time game publishers you've likely never heard of. These guys push out games on a regular basis and they ALWAYS need testers. Their budgets are usually quite small -- you could say "infinitely small" actually -- so they'll usually take all the free testers they can get! This is your chance to get experience!
MMO's are one of the best types of games for "beta testing experience". These games always need massive -- and I do mean MASSIVE -- amounts of testers that will work for free and help report bugs and glitches.
The "reward" is usually early access to the game or some such perk, but that's not what you're really after. You're after the experience; an experience that you can share with testing centers and game developers, proving you're the real deal!
Think about it this way. Would you rather hire the guy that says...
"I've never actually tested any video games before, but I've played games all my life and I know I'll love it if you just give me the chance!"
OR would you rather hire this guy...
"I've been playing video games all my life and am looking for an opening to test video games for your company. I've been apart of dozens of open betas -- SWTOR, Dead Frontier, Star Wars Galaxies, World of Warcraft, The Secret World, Star Trek Online, EVE Online, Starcraft II, Everquest, and Runescape. I've also helped test and improve several indie games as well -- list the games."
You get the idea. By showing them you're not just a typical "gamer" looking for a job, you're already a step ahead of your competition. And while this won't guarantee that they'll hire you -- it will bring you one stepping stone closer to landing a video game testing job in the near future. Now you understand what I mean by "Don't Be Another Noob!"
And that was step 4 of how to become a video game beta tester. That was a long one, wasn't it? Well, what do you think now? Not as easy as you thought, huh? Time to call it quits? No? Well, you are a tough one, I'll give you that. Continue on to the last step!
Step 5: Create An Online Persona
If you don't have one, create one; facebook, twitter, personal website/blog, gaming forums, etc. This is your game testing persona and will be used by you to keep a record of your "gaming prowess". Update it frequently with information about new games, game testing opportunities you've come across, game tester jobs you've completed, and just new developments in the game world.
Perhaps even think about joining a "beta tester" club or community (like in step 4) and become a real part of it. It's always nice to have a network of contacts in this cutthroat field; as the shared knowledge of dozens of people can be immensely useful.
This may not be hugely important, but it's just one more thing you can add to your resume/application to show experience and professionalism. The goal is to show them, beyond any shred of doubt, that you're not the typical weekend gamer, but the real deal. Someone that can be trusted to not just play games, but to test them like a pro!
The Unfortunate, But Very Real Truth
Even the most gung-ho of "wanna-be" game testers have trouble finding the right game developers to sign-on with. It's indeed possible to do so on your own, but it can take a very long time for you to actually find a company that is actively looking for new video game testers to hire.
This is precisely why we here at GameTestingParadise.com recommend the following helpful resources: BAGT & GamingJobsOnline. Both offer detailed lists of game developers & companies whom are currently hiring new beta-testers, not to mention tips & tricks on how to land more video game tester jobs from such companies.
Do you have to use those websites to find and get game testing jobs? No, of course not; you can do everything yourself. It'll take longer and it'll likely be harder, sure, but it's certainly possible.
Personally, I like doing things the easy way -- and if that means dropping about $30 on a database full of the latest game testing jobs and positions, well, I'd gladly do it; which is precisely why I did it!
And besides, if you're not happy with their jobs list, tips, and in-depth guides, well, you can always ask for a refund and go on your merry way. I know you won't need a refund once you see the information they've got available, but the option is there nonetheless.
Whatever you decide to do, don't give up. It'll be tough, it'll take time, and it won't be the best pay (at first), but if you stick with it, your dreams of being a professional video game tester can become a reality. Good luck!