Computer games tester

quality assurance (QA) tester
Computing and ICT
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Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would play computer games many times to spot any bugs and mistakes that need to be fixed before the game goes on sale to the public.

Testing is a vital part of producing a computer game. You’d re-play the game over and over again, being persistent and disciplined in choosing all the options to test it from every possible perspective.You’d find and record the programming faults (bugs).

You would also play the role of the game’s first public user. You’d report on its playability and recommend improvements.

You would:

  • Play games in detail and in as many ways as possible
  • Test different levels and versions of a game
  • Check its performance against what the designer intended
  • Compare the game against others on the market
  • Note problems and suggest improvements
  • Try to work out what is causing a problem
  • Try to recreate the problem, recording the steps you took
  • Check accessibility options required to enable people with disabilities to play the game
  • Check for spelling mistakes and copyright issues such as logos
  • Check the text on packaging and in instruction manuals
  • Enter each 'bug report' into a quality management system

You would have strict deadlines to meet. You’d work closely with a team of testers, programmers, artists and designers before a game is released and with customer support teams once it is on sale.

In some jobs you might also check and translate in-game instructions and manuals for overseas markets.

Working conditions

Hours

You would often work long and unsocial hours (such as evenings, weekends and public holidays) in order to meet deadlines, particularly when getting near to a game’s release.

Environment

The work is office-based and you would spend most of your time at a computer.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Communicating with people
  • Persuading people
  • Being tactful
  • Using computers
  • Finding solutions to problems
  • Being logical
  • Researching and investigating
  • Coming up with new ideas
  • Time management

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

To understand more, have a look at what are my skills?

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

Interested? Find out what's on offer at your school on Apprenticeships.scot.

Qualifications

There are no formal qualification required for entry to this job. But entry is increasing competitive and many applicants have related qualifications.

Qualifications that demonstrate knowledge of games, software, programming and databases such as a computer games or digital media Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7), Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8) or degrees may be of value.

You can enter an introductory level computer games or digital media National Certificate / National Qualification (SCQF level 2-6) with no formal qualifications but most courses ask for National 4/5 qualifications. 

Entry to a Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7) or Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8) requires National 4/5 qualifications and one to two Highers.

To study for a degree (SCQF level 9/10) requires a minimum of four Highers at B or relevant Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7), Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8) qualifications.  

Useful subjects

Most courses and employers require or value:

  • English
  • Maths
  • Physics
  • Design & Manufacture
  • Technologies subjects such as Computing Science

You will also need

You will need to be an experienced and skilled games player and have a detailed knowledge of games platforms and styles.