Many conceive of beta video game testing as simply signing up for free opportunities to play games still under development in the comfort of their own home, writing down any bugs they come across and getting to play the content weeks or even months before the rest of the world. And indeed, much of beta testing consists of just that.
More often than not, however, beta testing is performed by people working directly for game design companies, and involves testing the game immediately following what is termed code-complete. Those hired to perform beta testing work off of specific sets of test cases, and will often review specific parts of the game repetitively, composing bug reports to describe whatever issues they may encounter.
However, much beta testing is still done for free, by unpaid volunteers. How can you leverage this into a paid game testing position? The answer is that experience is experience, whether paid or not. By starting off as an unpaid beta tester, you will be building your resume for when you do apply for a paid game testing position. Each game that you beta test becomes one more item to include on your resume – as well as the number of bugs you found and filed.
By investing the time and effort into developing marketable game testing skills by performing unpaid beta game testing, you will be building a firm foundation for a paid game testing career, whether beta testing or any other testing methodology involved in testing video games. Keep in mind that once you are hired for a paid beta game testing position, you may be required to put in long hours of testing, as this stage in the product cycle is often the most intensive.
The investment in time and effort you put into beta video game testing will really pay off in terms of beginning to learn the process of designing and building video games. This will allow you to create a career for yourself in more advanced areas, such as game design, game illustration, or even programming. The opportunities that will open up for you are truly limitless.
Once you have gotten your foot in the door performing paid video game testing, plan on investing a year or two of hard core testing before moving up to the next level. Those who prove themselves by filing a lot of great bugs, as well as expanding their testing and design skill sets, will find that when an opening does come for a higher level position, they will be first in line. Those who are willing to put in the hard work and do well at the tasks assigned to them will sooner or later be given the opportunity to move on to roles with more responsibility.
In short, begin signing up for beta video game testing opportunities today, and you will be on the fast track to a great career as a paid video game tester. You will discover that the more you put into it, like anything worthwhile, the more you will get out of it. Eventually the rewards will come, in terms of being able to get paid doing what many consider to be a dream job.