What Is a Beta Tester?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

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. 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. They most commonly work with electronics and software.

Beta testers often help work out software problems.
Beta testers often help work out software problems.

Most beta testers will testify that their job is exciting, especially since testers have access to cutting edge products before they are released to the public. As much as it is satisfying, the job can also be demanding. Testers often work with the same product for hours and may have to repeat tasks many times. To ensure that the product will hold up, a beta tester will often use the product beyond its normal usage.

Beta testers may test video games.
Beta testers may test video games.

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 they 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 is a beta tester may not be able to discuss their projects with others for this reason. In other cases, testers are employed by specific companies that like to test their products in-house. The same confidentiality restrictions typically apply.

The strengths and weaknesses of new products may be tested by beta testers.
The strengths and weaknesses of new products may be tested by beta testers.

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 or she may explore the product more generally. He must think about the features that a consumer might want or need, and if the features are hard to access, are not intuitive, or are 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 because it ensures that consumers will have fewer problems. Learning about and fixing issues with a product before release allows companies to avoid customer dissatisfaction and product recalls. Companies want to ensure that their products are durable, reliable and work as expected.

Beta testers may browse through a website before launch to ensure usability.
Beta testers may browse through a website before launch to ensure usability.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


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.


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?


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


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.


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


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


Do game designers and beta testers work together?


It pays about $45,000 a year.


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.


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


Beta testers usually make a little above minimum wage.


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


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!


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.


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


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


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


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


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


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.


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?


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.


How much money does a beta tester make?

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