Are the only "entry level" Jobs in QA always so terrible?

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#1 Posted by Iwaaan (11 posts) -

Currently going to school (albeit later on than most, I'm 24), and while I pursue my degree, I'm looking for a little more enjoyment out of my job.......basically, being a part of an industry I love (the game industry) would make me really happy, and I'd still make more money than I make now, despite QA paying really bad (which speaks volumes about how poorly my current job pays me). So it's win - win.

The problem, of course, is that the only jobs that truly seem to be "entry level" are for the companies with extremely large portfolios. Companies like EA, THQ, and Activision hire at a near constant rate.......for minimum wage, 12 hour days, 6 days a week, and 6 months a year. After that 6 month period, you're released, and jobless until another gig rolls around.

Is this the only way to start gaining experience in QA/software testing? I know the job requirements, regardless of the developer, are never very demanding. The main difference between working QA for an EA versus working for an ArenaNet or Bungie being that the ladder two require actual industry experience.......are all QA testers with actual contract positions with reputable developers people who started working half of each year for EA and THQ? Why is this field suddenly so hard to get a decent (honestly, still poor paying) position in?

#2 Edited by Fightingfan (38011 posts) -

I recently got a job offer from UPS, and I was noticing this when browsing applications else were. While UPS doesn't pay well (internally. They do raises every 90 days), I get pretty much all military benefits, including a GI type bill called Earn & learn.

Some people want bachelor degrees, tons of experience, and pay minimum wage for a entry level job. I simply don't get it.

I would assume the reason that area pays poorly is because you have a lot of nerds that'll do it for free.

#3 Posted by HuggyBear1020 (450 posts) -

Do you think you should have to pay a lot of money for oxygen? It's the economics of supply and demand. Unskilled entry-level workers are as plentiful in supply as oxygen.

#4 Posted by thegerg (14215 posts) -

I recently got a job offer from UPS, and I was noticing this when browsing applications else were. While UPS doesn't pay well (internally. They do raises every 90 days), I get pretty much all military benefits, including a GI type bill called Earn & learn.

Some people want bachelor degrees, tons of experience, and pay minimum wage for a entry level job. I simply don't get it.

I would assume the reason that area pays poorly is because you have a lot of nerds that'll do it for free.

"Some people want bachelor degrees, tons of experience, and pay minimum wage for a entry level job. I simply don't get it."

They want the best labor for the cheapest price. What's so hard to understand?

#5 Edited by Iwaaan (11 posts) -

Do you think you should have to pay a lot of money for oxygen? It's the economics of supply and demand. Unskilled entry-level workers are as plentiful in supply as oxygen.

Definitely understand that concept, but I guess...I mean, that's frustrating, right? Hard to gain experience when you can never, well, ACTUALLY start gaining experience.

#6 Posted by thegerg (14215 posts) -

@Iwaaan: The fact that there ACTUALLY are people with experience tells us that your assessment about a person's ability to gain experience is simply incorrect. Don't blame the job market for your inability to get a job.

#7 Posted by EnoshimaJunko (187 posts) -

@thegerg said:

@Iwaaan: The fact that there ACTUALLY are people with experience tells us that your assessment about a person's ability to gain experience is simply incorrect. Don't blame the job market for your inability to get a job.

A lot of those people either a) had started working years ago, or b) knew someone in the company, so that's why they got a job.

And that last part is what bugs me. If you have no experience, you generally need to know someone in order to get a job. But what if you don't know anyone? What do you do then?

#8 Edited by thegerg (14215 posts) -

@EnoshimaJunko: On what do you base the assumption that you "need to know someone" to get a job? A personal relationship has never helped me to get a job. It can certainly help, but it's far from necessary.

#9 Posted by Diablo-B (4019 posts) -

May I suggest working in QA in a different sub field. Gaming may be an attractive field but it traditionally has the worst working conditions. Other fields like security or telecommution pay more for less work.

#10 Edited by Iwaaan (11 posts) -

@Diablo-B:

Thank you for a great suggestion that I'll certainly look into.

And as for "blaming the job market" on my inability to get a job...I'll be honest, it sounds like people who currently work in (desirable) QA positions in gaming are probably getting hired because they're over qualified, which would mean that I could one of the positions I'm talking about if I fast forward 3 years and have my bachelor's degree. The question I was asking myself was, "Why not be a part of something you enjoy to make money while you get your degree if it's something that can realistically be done?" Some of the answers here pretty much confirm that, indeed, zero experience QA positions are extremely rare these days, and when they do turn up, chances are those companies already have someone in mind (the power of networking and having connections/knowing someone).

So...either I get to know some people, or I get my foot in the industry years down the road. Sort of a bad scenario, but nonetheless, thanks for the input, guys.

#11 Posted by Barbariser (6693 posts) -

The labour market in the U.S. is rather weak at the moment and the video game industry is notorious for having terrible working conditions.

#12 Posted by ZombieKiller7 (6194 posts) -

At the beginning of your career, don't worry about money.

Focus on learning the trade, doing a good job and most importantly, making connections within the industry.

Half of your compensation is that they're teaching you a trade.

That in itself is more valuable than the crummy paycheck.

#13 Edited by thegerg (14215 posts) -

@Iwaaan:

" Sort of a bad scenario"

Yeah. The most qualified and experienced people get the job, what a bad scenario.

#14 Posted by Iwaaan (11 posts) -

@thegerg:

The entire topic is obviously about me myself and I. C'mon, man. Bad scenario for me.

#15 Edited by thegerg (14215 posts) -

@Iwaaan: When it comes to you as a video game fan it's the best scenario for the most qualified people to take part in developing the games. I understand that you want the job, but try to look at the bigger picture.