It is often a misconception that all that a video game tester does is play games. Well, in a way it's true; you are paid to play video games. But it is not as smooth sailing as it sounds. Game testers have to put in long hours and hard work. Sometimes, you need to play computer games which are not 'cool' or 'awesome'. You always need to be on top of your game at all times, or there are many waiting to grab your spot. Your job just doesn't involve playing games, but finding errors, glitches, bugs, checking the minutest mistakes in spellings and designs. Game testers not only have to check for mistakes and errors, but they also have to recommend ways to improve the games that they try out.
Game testers should have good information about the various software used to design games. They are also required to have some programming background. If you don't understand the program language of the programmers and game producers, you'd find it difficult to grasp what they are talking about.
It is also necessary to have good command in English, both oral and written. A game tester should be familiar with the hardware and software of desktop computers. He should have working knowledge of spreadsheets, programs, word documents, etc. He needs to be aware of the recent happenings in the gaming industry. He should have information about all the previously released games and the ones soon to be released. He should be well-aware how the programmers, game developers, artists, composers, etc., do their job.
In order to get a job, you will need to have a lot of interest and patience. An 'entry-level job' requires hard work, computer, and gaming knowledge. Often, a tester needs to put in 8 - 10 hours a day to check every feature of the game, and find bugs and errors. The job is mainly outsourced by many companies, and are on part-time or per-game basis. Large companies hire permanent game testers. Smaller companies are always on the look-out for freelancers. If you wish to use game testing as a step to expand your career in the gaming industry, you should take up a job with a developer or publisher.
The other option available for becoming a game tester is by participating in public beta tests for popular games. This will make you aware about what a game tester does daily. You need to find bugs and errors as a beta tester. You should have in-depth knowledge about gaming consoles and operating systems. A detailed report has to be prepared daily reproducing the bugs you found. Thus, strong oral and written English skills are a must for communication in this job. One should keep in mind that beta testers are mainly volunteers and not paid for the job. At the most, one can be offered a free copy of the game when it released.
Game testing is not 'all play' and 'no work'. It is a real job with deadlines. There are detailed reports that need to be filed on time, which if not in place, would make companies lose millions of dollars.