Are You in Demand?: 2006 Game Industry Salary Survey [09.08.06]
- Jill Duffy
Average salary for testers with 3 or fewer years’ experience: $24,797.
Anecdotally speaking, Q/A is the most common path to any career in game development, but especially for game designers and producers. Across all levels of experience, testers earn only about $37,210, easily making them the lowest paid group in the business. Part-timers likely tilt this figure slightly toward the low end, but it’s still paltry compared to what programmers, artists, and other specialists earn.
Surprisingly, 71 percent of Q/A respondents received some kind of medical, dental, or 401K benefits, an atypical fact for a group traditionally thought of as being hourly-paid workers. Mary-Margaret.com’s McShaffry says not to discount working in Q/A, despite the fact that it typically entails part-time work. “Q/A is a hotbed of potential game designers,” she says. “Testers get more exposure to both good and bad game design,” making them a more valuable designer if they eventually follow that career path. An informal apprenticeship exists between testers and designers, producers, or associate producers, with the more experienced group shepherding talented Q/A personnel who are determined to find a lasting career in the business, says McShaffry.