5 Ways Testing Games Trained Me for Testing DevOps Applications

Maggie Gourlay October 19, 2016

It might seem strange to go from testing games to testing DevOps applications. But I assure you: there are a lot of similarities.

After spending the late 90’s as a systems administrator, I began testing video games at EA Sports Tiburon in Orlando, FL. After a brief time off to get a degree in theoretical mathematics, I’ve returned to the QA scene and am now a tester at VictorOps.

Here are five ways that testing games trained me for testing DevOps applications.

1. In gaming and DevOps, you have to support all weaponry

When you’re fighting battles on your computer, it’s much more enjoyable to have great hardware and a great toolset. Game developers know this; they always want to develop for the latest and greatest gaming systems that are coming out. And similarly, we want the best systems, monitors, and weaponry to use at work.

But in both gaming and at work, you don’t always get best hardware. Rather than a nice array of monitors and tools at your fingertips, you might be given the world’s oldest laptop or phone.


Our expectations don’t always match reality. So just as you have to support older gaming systems, you also have to support a wide variety of platforms when building and maintaining modern SaaS applications.

2. In gaming and DevOps, you have to share your battle station

In gaming, people often play the same game together. Sometimes you’re in the same room, and sometimes you’re across the world. Playing the same game at the same time, while challenging, really enhances your experience.

It’s the same when working in a DevOps environment. You also have to share all of your tools and work on the same problems at the same time with people either in the same room or all over the world.

mission control

3. Firefighting is like raiding: communication is critical

Since people are often locationally scattered, it’s really important to have good communication. If you don’t talk to each other and tell each other what you’re working on, then the whole thing can fall apart.


You use different tools depending on whether you’re gaming or working, but the idea is the same. You need to know how to use them and how to communicate.

4. Bugs are terrible in both cases, but are worse in the real world

Bugs are terrible. In games, they can cause you lose your progress, your battle, or your gear.

In DevOps, after a long day of battling demons and dealing with bugs, you enter support tickets. But since you’re not playing a game, there can be real implications.

Ultimately, the biggest difference is that bugs in SaaS can be much worse and cause much more damage. You hear about problems a lot more quickly and they are much more catastrophic than they are in a game.


5. Knowing how gamers think is a big advantage in all software testing

Since DevOps professionals end up in lots of battles, it’s helpful to understand how gamers think and behave. By putting yourself in their shoes, you can strategically find bugs more easily as you navigate both environments.

Actually, it’s helpful to understand video games when testing any computer application. The whole point is to be victorious, whether in the gaming world or in the real world.


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