This week we had a chat with two members of our team in Canada to get an overview about daily life at Keywords Studios and to understand what it takes to work in QA for video games.
Sheila Sedinger joined Keywords in Montreal in 2019 as Functionality QA Tester and has never looked back.
Keith Earley is a veteran in the games industry. He started his career in 2006, joining VMC as tester. He then worked on client side with Warner Brother and Square Enix before coming back to the Keywords family in 2018 as QA Manager working at Saint-Jérôme-based Enzyme, a Keywords studio.
Here’s what Sheila and Keith had to say!
Describe a typical day in your role.
Sheila: In a typical day at work I search for ways to improve myself and my work. I push myself to be creative into finding diverse ways to discover simple and complex issues that could help improve the project I am working on.
Once an issue is found, I try to find diverse ways that I could repro that issue. If, in the process, I found other issues, I work with my team to increase efficiency. Sometimes our tasks are very different from bug searching; this could could be data entry, brainstorm, writing documentation … it depends on the project and the team and each project is a new adventure.
I like that every new project feels almost like working in a new entire place. Also part of my day job involves being awesome in chat and enjoy the teamwork.
The solidarity is incredible.
I would also check my email and see what activities, initiatives or opportunities has Keywords to offer us. I am never without doing anything at work.
Keith: Working with Project Managers and leads to deliver the best quality service possible to our partners.
Do you have a specific area in your role you enjoy focusing on? What do you love about it, and what have you discovered, if anything?
Sheila: I adore being creative and always find innovative ways to help our clients to improve the game(s) that we test for them while meeting their needs.
I have discovered that there’s always space for improvement and creativity through observation, which is a great asset to acquire.
Keith: Employee development. Watching ‘kids’ come into this industry with little education or expectation of themselves realise how intelligent/competent/capable they really are.
Mentoring the evolution of these folks into our next generation of leaders. More than a dozen QA Managers in the Montreal industry were once testers on my teams.
What do you like best about working for Keywords Studios?
Sheila: Omg, where to start?! The community, the company’s support towards their employees, the solidarity, the humanitarian initiatives, the fact that we have a say on things, the fact that we can do work from home, the fact that we feel like a family, all the perks offered, the events and workshops.
I could go on and on for hours. Free coffee on weekends, pizza on special days and the fruit baskets. I miss the bananas at the office!
Keith: Respect for work-life balance.
How did you get into QA for video games? What inspired your career path?
Sheila: I was maybe four or five years old the first time I ever played a video game. It was Tetris 3D on PC, and I adored it.
My dad was working in programming and he would constantly introduce me to “new” games. Then I got my first console (A Super Nintendo) and a bit after I was introduced to the arcades.
Video games became not only my safe space but also part of my personality since very little, they have a deeper meaning than “just games”.
I never thought I would be able to enter into the video games industry. I didn’t feel that I had the skills to do so, but one day, while trying to find a job, I decided to give it a try and apply for Keywords.
After my first week I realised I had the skills, passion and drive to do this!
And having my name at the end of some games just inspired me further.
I know I can impact the life of many people with the same joy and deepness I feel while playing video games and it has become an honour and pride to be part of the industry.
I also wish to be part of the positive changes and I am determined to make it happen with likewise minds.
Keith: Entirely by accident. I burned out on my first career (Social Work) and took a temporary job as a video game tester during the summer of 2006. It was supposed to last two months …
What is your favourite video game and why?
Sheila: It used to be Skyrim because it helped me deeply in moments of depression but these days I am having an inclination for Dead by Daylight because it is the only multiplayer that I have truly enjoyed the most.
It constantly innovates, it has constant updates, is dynamic, it has very interesting stories in the tomes and it is very unique to its style, not to mention is made in Montreal.
Keith: Final Fantasy 7. Sephiroth killing Aeris early in the game was the most shocking and emotional moment I’ve ever experienced in a game. At the time, it blew my mind.
Tell us an interesting fact that people may not know about you.
Sheila: Mmmm … besides the fact that I am a magical creature, I am 4’10” and I do awesome make-up art FX? Interesting fact: I used to do dubbing in Spanish, and I sing opera, plus outdoor adventure calls me.
Keith: I own more than a million blocks of Lego.
And, finally, what advice would you give to job seekers considering a career in QA for video games?
Sheila: I have four:
- Think of what you want to achieve with your career, and once you start, be patient and enjoy every step of it.
- There’s much more to learn than what seems evident.
- Be brave. If you don’t agree with something, become the change you wish to see.
- The job can be fun but this does not means that you have to lower your standards of professionalism on your job. What we do can be fun and friendly while still keeping high standards of professionalism!
Keith: Take it seriously, work hard and you can get yourself into any role in the industry you desire..
If you are interested in a QA role at Keywords Studios, you can find current open positions on our Careers page.