Testing video games for a living has got to be one of the greatest jobs around. Think about it. You get to play all the latest and greatest games, and you actually get paid for it! What more can you ask out of life? It really does sound good, but does a video game tester salary really pay enough to warrant all of that excitement? If it doesn’t pay enough to live on, it’s more like an expensive hobby which you probably can’t afford. Let’s take a moment to find out how much the average salary for video game testers actually is.
According to different company websites and gaming industry surveys, the average salary for a game tester is in the 15 to 20-thousand dollar range, which is a very nice range indeed. Naturally the salary depends upon the skills of the individual game tester, and how often he or she works. Most game testers work as contractors on assignment to the major game developers, so their income level depends upon how many game companies hire him, and for how long.
Game tester salaries for those that are working on contract is based upon an hourly rate of between $8 and $20 per hour, depending upon their experience and track record. If we consider the mean hourly rate of $15 per hour, an average game tester could make $600 a week when he’s working. That’s not that bad for an average of over $31,000 a year. More experienced game testers, of course, will make much more. More experience; more money. But that’s true of any job; the more you know, the more you’re worth.
There is a downside to this career, however. As a contractor, you’ll get paid only when you work, and contracting work is by its very nature sporadic. It’s a great job when the economy is good, and not so great when the economy goes into the tank. That’s undoubtedly true of any career, but the impact on contractors is always a little worse.
The secret to successful contracting is establishing a connection with a good network of professional friends and associates. Make a concerted effort to keep in touch with associates from past jobs. Remember their birthdays and their spouses and children’s names. Drop them a line once in a while to ask how they’re doing and to let them know your situation. You are the one who must act as your personal agent, a salesman for your talents. Join any associations or organizations that exist to publicize or promote your profession. Participate in the activities of these organizations, volunteer to help with their various programs. Help others to find work when you are in a position to do so. These things really do help. When an opening comes up, your network will let you know.
Despite the downside, the positives of this career path far outweigh the negatives. Those who are in the business wouldn’t change places with anyone. To get a better idea of what game tester salaries are available to experienced game testing professionals, a list of average game tester salaries from around the country are listed below in alphabetical order.
* Atlanta, GA (67,230)
* Charlotte, NC (66,585)
* Chicago, IL (67,607)
* Dallas, TX (68,690)
* Houston, TX (70,680)
* Indianapolis, IN (59,759)
* Miami, FL (53,381)
* New York-Manhattan, NY (66,083)
* Orlando, FL (37,113)
* Phoenix, AZ (63,493)
If the video game tester salary ranges are tempting, and you have the skills, maybe a career in game testing is the right choice for you.