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GameCareerGuide Feature: The Must-Have QA Skills They Never Taught You

Turn10 (Forza Motorsport 3) lead tester Greg Derk offers testers his practical advice not only for acing interviews, but for cultivating the skills needed to make
Though testing is often viewed as a way to get your foot in the door of a studio, there is an increasing need for experienced testers who make the job their career. In GameCareerGuide's latest feature, Acing the Test Interview: The Must-Have QA Skills They Never Taught You, Turn10 lead tester Greg Derk (Forza Motorsport 3) lays out what testers should be expecting from the interview, and opens a window into the expertise required on a project like Forza. Says Derk, "Great testers... are pure gold to a game studio." However, he warns, many don't know how to interview: "Of course you're a good tester -- that's how you got the interview. What most new testers don't realize is how you approach your testing is just as important as what tests you wind up doing. When the interviewer is asking testing-related questions, they are trying to find out more than just how many test cases you can come up with. "The hidden agenda in these questions is to find out how independently you are able to work as well as how much formal testing knowledge you have. For example, can the manager give you an entire feature set to own without much hand-holding, or are you only able to execute test cases given to you by someone else?" Derk also advises testers to learn to program: "I'm not suggesting that you need to be a rock star developer to be a tester (although it doesn't hurt), but at a minimum you should know some basic command-line or Java scripting. Knowing the basics of coding will teach you how software is put together as well as its basic limitations." Soft skills, such as planning and dealing with complex situations, are also important, says Derk. "So if you've avoided the pitfalls in the previous mistakes, the interviewer now knows you are interested in the company, you are a great tester, and you have future growth potential. The last big hang-ups you are likely to hit are the questions around how easy you are to work with. There are a lot of skills summarized in the terms "soft skills" or "people skills", and they are all important to a strong employee." The full feature, with all of Derk's advice to aspiring testers, is live now at Gamasutra sister site GameCareerGuide.

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