Think in was like three years ago the first time a friend sent me one of those youtube videos about "get paid to play games" thing... pretty mucha laughed at it right before feeling worried; watching the coments I saw that lot of people was actually interested and asking for more information.
So yes, we know internet is full of garbage and even more full of people naive enough to bieleve it. Today I'm a bit free of work in the office so I feel like killing some time analizing one of those videos and putting then against the 4 years that I have been working as tester and game evaluator.
First, lets check this video, quite a famous one (the one sent by my friend that I menctioned before):http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xu-9PgdWdxU
Only 15 second into the video and I already find the first big mistake: "I'm at home testing games".
Companies keep their projects in absolute confidenciality.For you to have a more precise idea: the moment you are hired the second thing you sign (after your contract, of course) it's the NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement), it basically says that you can't speak to anyone outside the company about the project you are working in, the software we use to track bugs or any other artwork/information/plot/anything related to it until the game has been released.
So a tester never, I insist, NEVER, tests any game from home; no serious company that valuest its assets would ever allow such a potential security breach. For such, no position exists consisting in "tests games from home".
So... the video continues as we hear the guy saying "I guarantee you is not a Scam, I'm doing it myself". I wont enter in a debate about how much trust inspires a unknown guy talking from some random basement... but the fact that the guy finishes the video with a MW2 trailer (guess to motivate whoever watches this video) and the fact that every comment you put there requires it's approval then... might as well put all our life savings in the "bank of Nikolai" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0o8XMlL8rqY)while we are at the middle of our "trusting mayhem"...
Finally, if we follow the link provided (I did at home with activated security, you do it at your own risk) we find out he is actually selling us A LOUSY BOOK!!. No job information; just a book that is suposed to inform you about what do you need to become a Game Tester... like I wanna put my credit card information in a website to buy a book from a guy that insists that you can tests game at home...
You can find a thousand videos on youtube, but they all have a thing in common: THEY. ALL. LIE!
Sure being tester is a cool job, I would not drop it for other thing that a promotion; but IT IS WORK; we have a full-time working conditions, deadlines, responsabilities... plus a lot of pressure; you need to put a lot of efford in your work since if you aren't really good at it, the company will have no problem replacing you for any of the 9.500 nerds that cry to get your position.
These responsabilities are even bigger if you have a secondary specialization, in my case; I'm a Linguistic and Functionality Tester, but also a Age Rating specialist and a Game Evaluator. That requires me to be responsible for anything related to this areas while testing any project.
The pay depends; you will never do 100.000$ a year working into this (I wish! lol). You can get a good salary, but be ready to first go through temporary jobs in companies that will pay you the minimun possible. If you want a company to give you a permanent contract and pay you a good cut, you need to have a good background and a 2 years experience on you CV to put over the table... just like in every other industry.
So, my personal recomendation for becoming a game tester in 3 simple stept:
1- Be ready to move, unless you're very lucky it's more than provable that the QA department from the company that hired you is not gonna be in your hometown (In 4 years I've been in 3 different cities across Europe)
2- Start with big companies in summer (when the games for Christmass market are being tested, it varies, but June-July is a good time to apply)
3- Trow CV's to every single company you know, just not the ones you like.
After that, if it works:
Once inside, stay close to veterans and get along with then while you learn from their experience. They will logically get promoted before you do, and it's always good to have "friends in higher places" that have worked with you and know how good you are. Never forget that teamwork capabilities and perfect English language speaking is absolutely vital.
And finally, the most important of all things: check for jobs in each of the companies official websites; they don't need to find gamers: gamers are the ones that come to find them, so no need for filthy youtube videos ;).
Have a nice day and feel free to ask if you wish to.