Thinking of starting a career in video games? Tom Brown, one of our tutors for the UGLA Vocational Video Games QA Course, shares some valuable career advice after over 5 years in the industry. We asked him a bunch of questions and loved his response. Let Tom’s story inspire you on your own journey as a QA professional.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
‘Ello. My name’s Tom (aka Big Teach) and I’ve been working in the QA industry since the start of 2017. I’ve worked as a Tester, a Test Lead, and now as a Tutor. In that time I’ve tested a wide variety of games, apps, and websites on all major consoles and platforms. I even tested a hearing aid once.

In my spare time, I like to watch wrestling, play video games with friends, and make films. One time, a short film I’d made was shown at the BFI in London. Unfortunately, I wasn’t aware it was happening at the time and therefore could not attend. I can also ride a unicycle and I once sung ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ in front of a few hundred people at Alexandra Palace. Frankly, it’s all been downhill since then.

If you were to meet your 20-year-old self, what advice would you give?
“Hey Tom, Look you’re going through some tough times right now but I just wanted to sa-“

 “WHAT THE £&*£!5^* £$!&…. You’re ME?!”

“Yes, and please keep the language down! this is being transcribed for a blog post a few years in the future.”

 “The… Future? You’re….”

“Yes! Now please just listen… Things kinda suck right now, but hey look, you’re still here.”

 “That’s… somewhat reassuring, I guess? A bit vague… can you give me any more than that?”

“Well not really, that would just mess things up. Just ride the wave, keep pushing through, oh and invest in GameStop or something.”

What do you think is the most important factor to start a career in the game industry?
It depends.

If you ask me, the answer is 100% a passion for video games. Or at least a decent amount of interest. You have to start looking at video games in a slightly different light. An analogy I like to make as someone who likes to make films is that when I’m watching something, I’m sat there enjoying it but in the back of my mind I’m thinking about how it was edited or looking at the camera angles they’ve used to give a shot a certain feel. You’ve got to do the equivalent but with video games, see the different game mechanics working together and think about how you can try to make them have an argument and not work together anymore.

If you ask the government, however, the answer is probably a citizenship for the country you’re planning to work in or failing that, a valid work visa.

Tom Brown - UGLA

How should people approach getting their first job in gaming?
A quote I like to live by is “Things happen when you leave the house”. If I get asked to do something or hang out somewhere, even if it doesn’t sound that interesting, I’ll try and say yes if I can. You never know what’ll happen and you might come across an opportunity you wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. Specifying it to games, it’s a very social industry. Depending on where you live you may have networking events nearby where industry members meet up to catch up, meet new people, and talk shop. There’s also plenty of online game jams you can participate in, communities on social media and LinkedIn and discord full of game developers and people interested in working in the industry. You can also check job sites like Indeed, as well as on a developer’s website they’ll usually have a careers section.

As well as all this, QA Is a great way to get your foot in the door to the industry. If you’re looking to get into video game testing as a career, then we can provide you with all the knowledge you need to do that.

How do you see the games industry changing?
Nowadays we’re seeing more and more services like Xbox Game Pass and EA Play. Much like Disney+, HBO Max and others, big developers are no longer just chucking a game on Steam. They have their own launchers, stores, and subscription services where you can pay a monthly fee to play a decent library of games they provide. Once we’re past this whole D*ck swinging contest of large publishers flexing how many different IPs they own (Think Space Jam 2), then I see each developer taking their ‘Live Service’ games i.e. Fortnite, Warzone, GTA Online that are constantly updating with new content and ‘Seasons’. Now that the world is changing, the industry must change with it. More people are staying inside, so instead of going to an Ariana Grande concert in-person with your friends, developers are giving players the opportunity to ‘experience’ these things virtually. With the whole ‘Metaverse’ thing that seems to be coming along, I think we’re going to be on this ‘Live service’ path for a while, only with more VR and AR in the future.

What are your top 3 favorite games of all time?
It’s a tricky one, but of all time I’d say my three favorite games are Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2009), Bully: Scholarship Edition (2008), and the Italian Job (2001).

What are your most anticipated games coming in the near future, or recently released?
I’m not giving into scalpers so I’m looking forward to playing Spider-Man: Miles Morales on the PS5 when I get a chance, I’m also very much looking forward to STRAY.

Start your career in games:

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