I've always had an interest in tech and was lucky enough to get mentored by a QA Engineer at Apple. He recommended I cut my teeth in video game testing. My first job was at Activision Blizzard, working on AAA titles. There's no schooling or previous job requirements needed to be a tester, I didn't complete college, so it's a great way to get your foot in the door. After one year, I moved to Portland and got hired as a basic manual tester. Eventually, I took over all the testing processes for the company.
Later, my mentor connected me with a San Francisco based start-up that was looking to hire someone to create their QA process. I worked for two years and got into writing firmware automation for hardware; the company developed a 360-degree camera and firmware and a mobile app. Anytime a new firmware update came out, we'd run tests on it, take pictures and videos, and report on it. I started diving into automation programming and was promoted to software engineer. In a strange turn of events the company was acquired. My previous employer offered me a more advanced position at a much higher salary, so I returned to Portland and became a QA Automation Engineer
I work at one of the top photo editing and graphic design companies. We use Artificial Intelligence to touch up photos and add custom effects. New features are always being developed; It's my job to look over the specifications, talk with the engineers, and improve automation. To do this, I hook up the automation to a test server that runs daily scripts. Anytime someone pushes code, I'll run vital tests to ensure the software is running correctly once live. I maintain all of the test suites (the testing plan developed to test how new code is functioning) and create new test suites for the new features.
As part of QA (Quality Assurance), I do manual testing, to identify and eliminate potential bugs. All the new information is sent to the software developers (devs), and if the devs say it looks good, we release the product or feature.
I think software testing is a hidden secret for someone who doesn't have a college degree. There's a big market for it, and not many people pursue it, so your chances for a job and career are good. As someone who likes software and playing video games, it's fun to be on the development side. I enjoy determining what changes to make to improve the software and then working with the engineers to make those changes happen. It's fun to see a project go from the beginning until completion. Most people don't get to see all the work that goes into it.
Lunch, PTO, 401k, Health Insurance
Don't get stuck at an entry-level position, especially with video game testing, because you'll be limited in your salary potential. Have goals beyond where you start your career path. Manual QA testing can get repetitive at times. Automation is more fun because you can write code and develop software.
Start in QA testing. It's easy to land a job with no prior experience. With QA testing, you'll hit a career plateau within 2-3 years (managing other testers). The next logical step in advancing your career will be to learn about automation and writing code, or you can get training in software development.
Attention to detail, being able to determine when somethings wrong. You need to remember every step leading to an error, so you know how to go back and correct it. An Automation Engineer needs to be comfortable using a wide variety of operating systems (particularly Linux/Unix) and terminals.