How to Become a Beta Tester: 2024 Career Guide

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Learn the ins and outs of beta testing, a growing sector in the software development field.

[Featured Image] A beta tester is working from home on their laptop.

Beta testing, a type of user acceptance testing (UAT), marks one of the most critical stages in the software development life cycle (SDLC). Typically performed near the end of software testing and before a product release, beta testing unlocks critical insights about a software application’s usability and performance. A beta tester, normally a target user, will provide feedback and identify product errors in a controlled environment. To become a beta tester, learn more about the role and responsibilities. 

What does a beta tester do? 

A beta tester uses and examines pre-release software to identify errors, missteps, or bugs that may hinder end-user, or customer experience. The insight gathered during beta testing allows development teams to adapt to end-users' needs. 

For instance, as a beta tester, you may assess and verify a tool’s compatibility with multiple browsers, operating systems, and devices. Generally, if you become a beta tester, you may have early access to upcoming software or updates.

Keep in mind. Numerous tests on several versions of software may follow before a product becomes eligible for general release. As private beta testers work with unreleased software, it’s often customary to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) to safeguard enterprises’ trade secrets. 


Beta tester tasks and responsibilities 

Sustained user engagement is the hallmark of a well-designed software application. Here’s a list of duties beta testers fulfill to ensure programs live up to that standard:

  • Identify bugs that slipped past alpha testing phase performed by developers

  • Run cross-browser tests to compare applications’ performance in different browser environments

  • Monitor and assess applications' responsiveness and reliability 

  • Offer advice on improving app design, security, and functionality

  • Create timely beta test reports for analysis by the firm’s internal testing teams

Types of beta testing: Closed vs. open 

Enterprises may choose between open and closed beta testing of their proprietary software, depending on the nature and scope of an application. The following table shows the differences between the two types of beta testing.

Open betaClosed beta
Extends to the general public or volunteers Often readily available for testing as a downloadable file on an enterprise’s website.Testing is accessible to a select number of testers authorized by a firm Will likely limit the number of testers and the features that can be tested

Example of open testing. Google’s Chrome Beta page lets you download and preview upcoming browser features. Similarly, if you’re part of the Google Play services public beta program, you can get early access to the newest versions of Play services. 

Example of closed testing. A closed beta will likely limit the number of testers and the features that can be tested. For example, in 2020, OnePlus issued a private beta for Nord, allowing 200 testers to experience new features of the mobile device in advance. Likewise, the VA App Store, managed by the US Department of Veteran Affairs, accepts select VA employees (Veterans or health care professionals) as beta testers.

Did you know? Alpha testing precedes beta testing; an organization's internal team of quality assurance (QA) specialists conducts alpha testing as a preliminary check prior to beta testing.


Beta tester salary and job outlook 

According to Glassdoor, the estimated salary for a beta tester in the US is $61,867 per year as of November 2023 [1]. This figure includes an average base salary of $58,218 and $3,649 in additional pay. Additional pay may represent bonuses, commissions, and profit sharing. The average hourly rate for a beta tester in the US is $18.40, according to Payscale [2]. 

Furthermore, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts a 25 percent increase in overall employment for software engineers, quality assurance analysts, and testers between 2022 and 2032 [3]. 

The global trend toward beta testing is also promising. Per Research Nester’s 2023 report, North America will continue to lead the global beta testing software market between 2022 and 2031, with Asia Pacific experiencing significant growth over the forecast period [3]. 

Remember: Base pay is subject to change as per an individual’s education, years of experience, location, and employer.

Beta tester salary by location

As a beta tester, you may earn the designation of software quality assurance analyst or QA tester. The following states and districts have the highest annual mean pay for the aforementioned job titles, according to the BLS [4]:

  • California: $137,690

  • Delaware: $120,070

  • Maryland: $119,870

  • New York: $118,140

  • District of Columbia: $114,020

Education and training

There’s no linear path to becoming a beta tester; however, the following steps can help you get started:

1. Obtain a degree.

Most beta testing enthusiasts hold a bachelor’s degree in computer science, business, or graphic design, according to Zippia. It also reports roughly 60.4 percent of beta testers have a bachelor’s degree, 18.4 percent hold an associate, and 8.2 percent have earned a master’s [5]. Although an associate degree isn’t uncommon, a master’s degree allows for a high-paying job role. 

2. Opt for hands-on training.

Software has many aspects, functions, and purposes to it. Honing your web and programming skills is a great place to learn more about software to help you become a knowledgeable beta tester. Consider using webinars, end-to-end guides, and video tutorials for interactive learning. You can also explore free Guided Projects on Coursera to gain valuable hands-on experience.

3. Join a community.

Joining a community helps you become proficient and updated with organizations' ways and methodologies. Crowdtesting platforms such as Test IO and Beta Testing offer incentives to test websites, games, mobile applications, and more. Invitations to beta trials are sent through email per your interest and fit.

At times, when you hit a roadblock, forums can point you in the right direction through expert or peer advice and assistance. 

Beta tester skills 

Should you decide to pursue a career in beta testing, the following skills will likely prove helpful:

  • Operating systems (Linux, Windows, macOS)

  • Programming languages (Python, JavaScript, C++)

  • Web technologies (HTML and CSS)

  • Database systems

Additionally, mastery over beta testing tools such as TestFlight and Centercode can greatly advance your career path.

Beta tester career path

Beta testing is a subset of a larger, more comprehensive software testing regime. However, training to be a beta tester opens up opportunities in a number of related job domains, including: 

Software test engineer

Average annual US base salary: $96,134 [6]

As a software test engineer, you may perform automated and manual tests to ensure a software application performs as intended in just about any scenario. It is also within your purview to generate results that aid in the overall development of a product.

Systems tester

Average annual US base salary: $93,168 [7]

A systems tester role will require you to develop and implement test plans for identifying vulnerabilities or defects in an application. Beyond authoring scripts to conduct automated tests, you may execute cross-component test cases and regression checks.

QA game tester

Average annual US base salary: $65,322 [8]

The QA game tester role enables you to perform tests on pre-release games to spot glitches and errors. Additionally, you may offer suggestions to improve gameplay. The job of QA game tester is an exciting one to land if you're an avid gamer. 

Read more: What Is a QA Tester? Skills, Requirements, and Jobs

Next steps

Get a head start in beta testing with the Introduction to Test and Behavior Driven Development course on Coursera. This intermediate-level course, offered by IBM, will help you understand the nuances of unit testing through virtual labs. Upon completion, earn a certificate to include in your resume, CV, or LinkedIn profile. 

Article sources


Glassdoor. “How much does a Beta Tester make?,,11.htm.” Accessed April 21, 2023.

Keep reading

Updated on
Written by:

Editorial Team

Coursera’s editorial team is comprised of highly experienced professional editors, writers, and fact...

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.