Levelling Up: Samantha Luzon, senior QA at Payload Studios

Samantha Luzon, senior QA at Payload Studios, talks about inclusivity, work culture and working alongside the award-winning Tentacle Zone

What is your job role and how would you describe your typical day at work?

My role is Senior QA at Payload Studios and a typical day can vary depending on the work that we’re doing. Our team is reactive due to the nature of our work since it depends on the progress of other departments. I usually start the day with a few meetings. This is when we review tasks from the day before and establish the goals for the day.

I usually assist our QA manager which means while also being involved in our daily testing work I also help in supervising the team, making sure that everyone has everything they need to be able to perform their work and answer any questions they may have.

Sometimes I attend talks hosted by the Tentacle Zone (Payload’s co-working space); Pre-pandemic I usually catch some of the Tentacle Zone residents during my break, but since working from home I’ve used the socials and panels as an opportunity to learn more and connect with other residents.

What qualifications and/or experience do you need to land this job?

I worked my way up starting from university. I graduated with a degree from a video games design course and managed to get my first job as QA at a testing house. There I worked on different projects and was promoted to lead. This opportunity landed me a job at a AAA studio and from there I’ve had a chance to work with different companies, always learning something new and improving my skills. When it came to working with Payload I was able to apply those skills and eventually was promoted to Senior QA. I think a degree isn’t always necessary, but you’ll need to put the work in and be open to challenges, especially ones that are unexpected.

If you were interviewing someone for your team, what would you look for?

A common and essential criteria for testers is having an eye for detail which helps with the bug finding process. While playing games for a living sounds great, it’s important that they have the patience and grit to be able to perform monotonous tasks since finding bugs will take a lot of testing the same thing repeatedly.

Communication is a big part of the job, and at Payload we work really hard to have an inclusive culture where everyone’s opinions are respected and valued. As well as being a great tester, we are also looking for someone willing to work as a team to continuously improve the work culture at Payload.

What opportunities are there for career progression?

There are a few paths and it can depend on what the goal is! There is the QA path which will lead to a QA lead or a QA manager role. You can even go the production route and become a producer which aligns with some of the work QA does. There are also other disciplines within the industry like art, programming, design etc but this might come easier to those who work as embedded testers since they closely work with these departments. In Payload’s case, we work in small teams which allows us to work closely together. The team are always open to a discussion and even some mentoring. All you have to do is ask!

About Chris Wallace

Chris is MCV/DEVELOP's staff writer, joining the team after graduating from Cardiff University with a Master's degree in Magazine Journalism. He can regrettably be found on Twitter at @wallacec42, where he mostly explores his obsession with the Life is Strange series, for which he refuses to apologise.

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