Career Advice - Working as a QA Specialist at Ubisoft with Thibault Leblan
Want a successful career working as a QA Specialist in Game Development? ArtFX School graduate, Thibault Leblan, is a Junior QA Specialist and aspiring Level Designer working at Ubisoft Berlin on FarCry 6. He sits down with us to share his journey and advice to aspiring programmers and designers looking for an exciting and challenging career like his own.
What's your current role and what does it involve?
I’m working as a Junior QA Specialist in Ubisoft Berlin. My role involves doing daily tests and reports on Far Cry 6, communicating with all the different teams about issues and finding the easiest way to reproduce them to facilitate their resolution.
At the same time, I’m also orienting my QA work to different level design tests and I’m doing several level design tasks on Far Cry 6 with the level design team to develop my skills and become a level designer at Ubisoft Berlin.
What type of projects are they involved with?
Ubisoft Berlin is involved in different projects such as Far Cry 6, Skulls and Bones and several unannounced projects.
When did you first realise you wanted to work in this industry?
I realised that I wanted to work in this industry as I was about to complete my business degree. I found that I was not happy with what my professional life was going to be like and I decided to work in something that made me happy and that will allow me to combine passion and work.
Describe the journey you took into your current role?
I was doing a personal project that caught the attention of some people working at Ubisoft Berlin and they decided to contact me to find out if I would be interested to come to work at Ubisoft Berlin as a QA for some time and then as a Level designer. After several tests and due to my lack of knowledge of a triple A production, I had the opportunity to join them as a Junior QA specialist with the possibility of changing my position to level designer after a certain time.
Day in the life
Describe a typical day for you and your team?
A typical day for me and my team would be to get the latest updates on the project, test them on multiple platforms to find issues, and prioritize them based on their importance. Next, we'll need to reach out to the different teams working on this project, find the steps to be able to reproduce these issues, and add them to a bug database.
What third-party and proprietary tools do you use on a daily basis?
I use Jira by Atlasian on a daily basis. It’s a powerful bug tool that we use to create and track issues happening in game but also to create and attribute tasks to the different teams. I also use the MS office and several in-house software.
Which departments and key people do you work closely with?
I work closely with the QA department and with every content production department such as Level Designers, Level artists, Tech artists or Animators, for example. Since my position allows me to find issues related to everything happening in the game, I need to be in contact with every creative field working on the game based in Berlin but also in Toronto or Montreal.
Are there any industry trends that are changing the nature of your role?
Yes, for example, test automation. It is a tool that performs automated testing in an area of the game or automated testing of new features over and over again and so saves a lot of time when a feature has to be tested several hundred times by someone.
One thing you’d never change about your job?
Definitely the communication. Communicating with everyone in a QA position is very important and useful every day. This allows us to obtain a lot of information and transmit it to all those who work on a project and thus develop our knowledge about a project and our social skills.
But one thing you wouldn’t mind seeing changed is?
The large number of meetings can sometimes be problematic when you have planned to do something specific that needs to meet deadlines. You have to manage your time perfectly and it is not always easy so I wouldn't mind reducing that.
Is formal education essential for someone aspiring to do your job?
A formal education is not essential for someone aspiring to do my job. In QA or in LD, you need to have a good knowledge about the industry and to have a portfolio interesting enough to get the attention of recruiters. You can achieve that on your own without school but in this case you will need to have a good motivation and be ready to find good resources to train yourself.
If you could go back in time to when you first started out, what advice would you give yourself?
I would advise myself to do a different project each month. Small ones, of course, but it would allow me to train even more on different types of projects and to build a more solid portfolio.