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What is a Beta Tester?

Beta testers often help work out software problems.
Beta testers may test video games.
The strengths and weaknesses of new products may be tested by beta testers.
Beta testers may browse through a website before launch to ensure usability.
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  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 20 November 2014
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A beta tester is someone who tests a product before it is released. Product testers help companies identify weak points in their products that could cause consumer frustration, and they also identify specific issues that need to be corrected before a product can be released. Typically, these individuals test several incarnations of a product, until it is deemed ready for release. Most commonly, they work with electronics and software.

Working as a beta tester may sound like fun, since the job involves getting access to cutting edge products before they are released to the public, but it is also hard work. Testers must work with something for hours, repeatedly performing the same actions and doing things like actively trying to break it. The work can actually be quite monotonous and rather boring, because beta testers are expected to exceed normal usage when they work with products, to ensure that they will hold up under abuse.

Some people work for companies that specialize in beta testing services. They may be sent products for home review, or they may work in a lab environment so that their work can be easily charted and monitored. Because these people work with products that have not been released yet, they usually have to sign confidentiality waivers to protect the company's product for competitors. Someone who does this job may not be able to tell people about the projects he or she is working on as a result.

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In other cases, testers are employed by specific companies that like to test their products in-house. The same confidentiality restrictions typically apply.

Depending on the stage that the product development process is in, a beta tester may be given a product and told to perform specific tasks, or he might just explore the product, noting things down as he goes. He must think about the features that a consumer might want or need, and if the features are hard to access, not intuitive, or nonexistent, he typically makes a note of it. The tester also takes note of flaws in the product, like instabilities in software that cause it to hang, terminate itself, or behave in other unexpected ways.

It can be expensive to send products through beta testing, but most companies feel that the cost is worth it, since it ensures that consumers will have fewer problems. Since everyone uses things in slightly different ways, companies generally want to know about strange bugs in their software caused by abnormal usage before the product is released to save themselves from complaints and the need to create patches. In the case of electronics, companies want durable products that will stand the test of hard use; beta testers will do things like smash all the buttons at once, toss the product around, and try to push the product beyond its expected capacity, imitating potential consumer behavior.

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anon937686
Post 43

Why do all the sites about beta testing want you to pay to sign up? All are scams because you have to pay for something to try. What about a trial first and if it works them make them pay for it. Wow. People just want to rip people off.

anon928752
Post 42

Is it normal if your ask to become a beta tester for them to have you sign a NDA Agreement and also provide the company asking with a photo ID?

anon357210
Post 41

How old do you have to be to be a beta tester?

anon345726
Post 40

This is coming from a beta tester. We can get paid from minimum wage to about 30 thousand a year, depending on your abilities/experience.

To be a beta tester, you will need to be able to complete the game in about half the estimated time for playing and know a basic understanding of how glitches and things work and knowing what the majority of the community will like/dislike. You have to be of age to play the video games of certain ratings, so a 10 year old cannot play an M game without parental permission, but you can find loopholes, so it's probably 13-plus, but I think the minimum age is six, if you qualify the rest with flying colors.

And we do work together if the situation calls for it, or you want some help breaking the game, or just want your fellow beta tester to play the game with you, but not very often do you play with other beta testers unless the multiplayer is the most buggy part. Beta testing isn't even close to how fun it seems. It is work, but you can get false friends by saying you are playing the next big game and have leverage over it, but they are fake friends.

anon345700
Post 39

What if you are beta testing for an mmorpg? Does anyone happen to have any tips for that? Just wondering.

anon309489
Post 38

What are the requirements of being a beta tester, because I'm thinking of taking this kind of job. It rather suits me.

anon307478
Post 37

Do game designers and beta testers work together?

anon307049
Post 35

It pays about $45,000 a year.

anon300795
Post 34

I just presently got accepted to test warplanes, by Warcraft inc. It is buggy. But the gameplay is most exciting, with it being a "go there and grab some stuff and go there and kill some stuff," as it is a combat flight simulator. I was lucky enough to have used a lot of flight simulators and have my pilot license. Anyway, it takes patience, but the rewards (such as in-game credit, free stuff and things of that nature) are good, so beta testing becomes a great thing to do. As long as you have another job that (at least) pays $11 an hour, it becomes quite profitable and worth it.

anon297869
Post 33

How old do you have to be to be a beta tester?

anon252400
Post 32

Beta testers usually make a little above minimum wage.

anon242614
Post 30

I am doing a report on being a beta tester. Do you have any info that could be useful to me?

anon240160
Post 29

I've been beta testing games off and on for years and while some games were a blast, the majority of the games do become monotonous and are not games I want to be playing. You feel an obligation to keep playing so you can give them your honest review but at times I've had to just pull out and say I'm sorry I just can't play your game it's far too annoying from the ...blah blah blah to the blah blah blah and believe it or not, I've gotten a thank you back for my honest opinion.

I will say this. As a beta tester it is very frustrating because the games are buggy. If you get impatient with games like Warcraft online now when things are running much more smoothly, then you would definitely have a much more difficult time with being a tester. Patience is key.

While it is a trip to be playing early, it is frustrating not to be able to talk about it with friends. I just say I've been keeping busy, so it's not all cake. Once in a while, you get a gem and it's really cool. Yes you get free games, but often I find myself wishing I could play a game I'm currently addicted to and having to push myself to play what I need to play.

More often than not, I'm not being paid in cash. I'm getting the games free and free stuff for the games or credit for games that are already on the market. That is my personal experience with Big Fish and Blizzard to date. But then again, I'm just a gamer and I have no credentials. I am sure there are people out there who are getting paid money. I wish I was one of them!

anon185619
Post 28

This job does sound neat. Does it take any college courses? Im completely new to beta testing. I need to know the earnings and such.

anon129905
Post 16

If i am correct, Beta testers make an equivalent of $8 per hour.

anon77174
Post 12

Anyone's time is worth more than $10/week.

anon70505
Post 11

Beta testers make an average salary of 15 to 20K, depending on your boss.

anon69658
Post 10

i don't think so. i think they get paid for the things they test.

anon54663
Post 8

so beta testers don't get paid by the hour?

anon42760
Post 6

if you're 18 or older, Nintendo is a good place to start. as for the money they make around $10 or more a week. usually starting at $10 when they first start with a company but if you stick with them and do good work then they will raise it.

anon34998
Post 4

You can find them at any major game company, they are bound to have a beta going on.

Oh, Do you know what age you have to be?

anon26667
Post 2

Beta testers make minimum wage most of the time.

But where can you find jobs for beta testers? I've been looking everywhere for a job.

anon26298
Post 1

How much money does a beta tester make?

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