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Jason W BayPublished inPodcast,schools8 comments
In this episode of the Game Industry Career Guide Podcast, I answer a question from Sabrina M. who wonders if she needs a college degree to become a games tester.
In this episode you will learn:
- Two simple yet powerful techniques to find out the education requirements for any job
- This is how you get hired as a playtester even if you don't meet the official "requirements".
- The best way to learn games and get a job without having a college degree
Hi everyone and welcome to the Game Industry Career Guide Podcast Episode #7. I'm Jason W. Bay from gameindustrycareerguide.com and in this podcast I'm answering your questions about finding a job and growing your career as a video game developer. Today's question comes from Sabrina M., who is wondering if she needs a college degree to become a video game tester. Sabrina asks "Need a title to test games?"
College is expensive, especially if you're not getting the job or career you went to school for. It's great that Sabrina is asking this question because it shows that she is thinking and planning ahead about her future. No matter what kind of job you want to get someday, it is very important to do some research online and find out what education and other skills you need to develop in order to get that job.
So today I am going to teach you two very simple but very powerful ways to find out what the educational requirements are for any job you want. I'll focus on video game testing because Sabrina is interested in it, but you can use the same techniques for any type of work that interests you.
Research with LinkedIn
The first technique is using LinkedIn. You can use LinkedIn to find out what kind of education is required for different jobs by searching for that job on LinkedIn and then finding people who have that job and see what they did in school to get that job to get. To try this technique, just go to linkedin.com, search "video game tester" to find people who have this job. Then open your profile, scroll down the page to the Education section at the bottom and see what it says.
I made this for some friends of mine who arevideo game testerto see what they have done for education. I found out that my friend Teresa, who is a video game test supervisor, went to nursing school for a few years. My friend Bill earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Administrative Management before starting his career as a games tester. My friend Keith has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Industrial and Product Design before becoming a playtester.
Now I know these people personally, so I know that Teresa, Bill and Keith have long and successful careers in testing and all three are currently Lead Testers or QA Managers. Actually, I started my career as a video game tester: I have an associate's degree and worked in afour-year studybefore getting involved in game development as a playtester. And then he did a variety of other gaming jobs. After doing this research on LinkedIn, I think you'll find that playtesters don't seem to have a common thread when it comes to their parenting. Many of them have degrees in various fields, but many do not.
Do research based on job offers
Let's take a look at the second technique you can use to research the education requirements for a specific job. The second technique is to look at job postings and then read the requirements section to see what they require for an apprenticeship. One way to find gaming jobs is to go to gameindustrycareerguide.com and click on thatGame Jobs taband then type "video game QA tester" in the search. When I did it earlier today, I found several results. Let's take a look at these results to see what they require for education.
I came across a job opening for a company called CompuCom. They were applying for a bachelor's degree in computer science or game design, or an equivalent combination of technical skills and higher education. Another contribution comes from a company called FlexaSoft. FlexaSoft requires a university degree or equivalent qualification or relevant experience. A third list I found is from EA Sports for their Madden team. EA did not name a specific title. They just said you must have certain soft skills like good communication or organization skills and a sense of urgency.
So that's three sample job postings, two of them indicated they want a degree but it wasn't a requirement and one of them didn't mention a title.
So, after doing this research, what is the answer to Sabrina's question? In the case of video game testing jobs, it may be easier to get a job if you have a college education, but that's not always a requirement. However, if you're looking for job postings, read them carefully as many of them seem to require a degree, but also mention that having "equivalent experience" or a completely different title is fine.
In short, most game testing jobs want you to have a degree, but that's not usually a requirement. If you don't have a college degree and don't know much about playtesting, is there still a chance of getting hired as a playtester? Well, that's probably the case if you have a basic understanding of game testing vocabulary and techniques, and how to use the most common bug tracking tools used by game studios.
If you want to learn these basics to improve your chances of getting a playtesting job, you can read my book. Is calledGet a job as a video game tester. It teaches you the basics of game testing so you can confidently apply for jobs, and guides you through the entire process, from learning the testing tools, to writing a resume, to applying and evaluating job postings, to choose the best possible job. You can buy this book if you are interested on Amazon, iBooks, Kindle or anywhere else you read books. I'll link it in the show notes.
Well, that's it for today's podcast. Thanks to Sabrina for asking and thanks for listening. If you liked what you heard, please help me by telling your friends about this podcast and leaving a review on iTunes. For more information and inspiration on how to get and grow your game development job, visit me at gameindustrycareerguide.com. Thanks again and until next time, right here on the Gaming Industry Professional Guide Podcast.
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