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Would it be suitable to get a job as a quality tester?

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This question is more about starting a career more than anything. I'm thinking that right now this is the easiest way for me to get my feet wet in the gaming industry. Although I have an interest in programming, my main focus is in art and would like to someday work on video, animation, or visual effects. However, I think my porfolio needs to be more refined than it is now if I were to stand a chance doing this kind of work. I have a year before I graduate and my art program is real bad when it comes to offering leads and internships. My college really isn't known for having a solid art program. Pretty much have to break out on my own from there. Now from my knowledge, quality testers don't need TOO much knowledge of the inner working of games. Neither do they have to prove to be talented in the arts or programming. All that matters is that they like videogames and have a good eye in distinguishing generally good from bad games. Aside from that, the usual grunt work of entering information to give feedback about the game. Would it be possible to get promoted to a more illustrious job, given that you have the talent?

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Ye olde saying goes: "It's not what you know, but who you know."

You're more likely to meet people and make friends who can help than by somehow distinguishing yourself at QA work.

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The gap between testing and development is wider now than it has ever been, and is continuing to widen. These days, testers and developers don't usually even see each other. You will not have the same experiences as a game developer, and it will not help you very much in getting a development position in the future.

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I'm not exactly sure what you mean by "quality testing". From your description of the requirements (someone who likes videogame and can tell the different between good and bad games) this suggests someone who tests games at the very end of a product cycle in order to pass final quality control imposed by a publisher, right? That's different from the majority of the testing that I've seen in game development.

From my experience of game testing in general, the testers will be involved running through the game all through development. It's actually a lot harder than it might sound. Your job involves running through the same part of a half-finished game over and over and over again, cataloging every little thing that's wrong; this is actually quite draining, and can really tax the testers "love of games" over the course of several months. Testers are also very unvalued in a company hierarchy (I think this is true in practically every software field).

However, if you are working with a developer it does get you in the door, making contacts, which might give you a chance to move into a better art job. But it might be better to try for an entry level art position first (I'm not too knowledgeable about how the art side works, so I can't really give many tips on how to improve your portfolio, I'm afraid).

One thing that might make a difference is exactly where you are working. Some developers have their own testing departments; in that case you'd be working with the people who actually make the games. However many of the smaller developers have testing done by their publisher; if you were to test within a publishing house you'll be a stage removed from the creators. This may or may not be what you want though, depending where you finally want to work.

Hope some of this is useful. However I've been away from the commercial industry for a while now, and never really got that far in in the first place, so my understanding of how all the internals work might be a little bit off these days.

Best of luck!

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I have worked as a tester for a couple of months. I would say it depends a lot on the company you are eyeing out for. The place where i worked was great, i got a good deal of interaction with designers & developers alike .The experience in short was invaluble .It was a closely knit company. Some company's also have intra-department swapping. I cannot speak for big budget companys where i guess where a lot of insulation exists between diffrent roles.

Testing may sound like a dream job , but its hard work , i remeber going a month without a leave and close to 6 hrs of sleep.I ultimately had to leave it to concentrate on studies :(

In short , if you can find time to build your skills & work at the same time , go for it.

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Well, I finally got to reading all the posts here, and before asking this question I was already well-informed with what a QA tester does, from reading a few articles. So I already know that game testing is a repetitive job with little creative input, but if it pays as good as my current job(which doesn't pay well at all) and it's something to add to my resume, what can it hurt?

Someone said that testers and developers are physicall drifting apart more these days, and so it seems like it will be hard to get promoted to a junior position from here. I only have a year of college before I graduate (hopefully) and I've only taken one Computer Science class for my minor. However, I've taken this coding work to heart and been reading up on books, and doing little demos in my spare time. When I finish up one of my bigger projects, I'll probably put it up on a website and direct potential employers there.

One thing I want to add is that with most game jobs you probably have to relocate. I come from Chicago and notice that there's a bias towards being in the west coast (does this have to do with being close to SoCal, being the heart of the film/TV industry?). Strangely I don't see many topics here on how recent graduates deal with compromising a preferred job with the effects of moving far from your old home.

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Well, this is rather englightning. I've been under the impression that QA was generally a good way to get a start in the industry. However, I suppose that could well be true in the past and with the way the industry is growing, I suppose that it isn't to suprising that different jobs are growing further apart--it makes quite a bit of sense, actually.

However, the way I would look at it... If the QA job provides enough cash to support you and its not going to be much of a cut in pay from your current amount... I agree, why not? If you can get the job, you're still getting yourself in the Industry (which does seem to count for something, if nothing else) and there's certainly not going to be anything stopping you from applying to other positions while you hold the QA job.

I'm not sure how helpful that is exactly, but I figure that it's something to consider. I'm in a fairly similar position myself.

As far as location goes, this is something I've definitely noticed. As a resident of the state of Michigan--well, I'm happy I've already decided on moving somewhere out of state.

In any event, I wish you the best of luck.

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