I’ve heard horror stories about game testers throughout my short career. When I started to work at my current company as a game designer, I was surprised to discover that here, at least, they remain stories.
Here, testers are on the same level as everyone else. When a team gets formed to work on a project, it invariably involves one, sometimes two dedicated testers. Since we’re constantly moving from desk to desk so that a project’s team is sitting together, that means the tester on a team is usually within talking distance from programmers and designers.
Our quality assurance guys and gals are a tremendous help in rooting out bugs and they’re usually those who know their way around our bug tracking software the most. When they have comments about the design, we listen. And just like game design, art and programming, QA has its own department head and hierarchy so that testers have superiors they can rely on when they need help.
When it comes to advancement, the sky’s the limit. A number of my QA friends have taken positions as game designers, project managers and even business developers. And for those who want to stay in QA, that’s perfectly alright - it’s as noble a field as any here.
If you’re working at a company where QA gets the short end of the stick, please take heart: it gets better. There are companies out there that will treat you with the respect you deserve.