Decisions, Decisions, Decisions…
The journey begins on the third floor of Loyalist College. I found myself wandering the halls looking for the office of a Mr. Eric Heidendahl to conduct an interview about the content of the broadcast engineering program. Mr. Heidendahl is a tall, older man dressed in a blue, button-up shirt and jeans. He introduces himself with a smile and handshake. Thirty-five year veteran Heidendahl has been teaching the broadcast engineering technology program for the last four years at Loyalist. He has ample field experience and has worked in cooperation with multinational corporations including Camwest, Hitachi, Sony and Quantel. Heidendahl’s knowledge of the industry is truly phenomenal. He freely shared knowledge on the logistics and curriculum, and one by one he answered all my questions concerning the BRET program. Both his insight and compassionate personality allowed for an enriching experience. During the interview Heidendahl was adamant that students considering the program, “identify what your passion is, what it is that makes you happy, and go after that”.
The Broadcast Engineering Technology program strives to educate students in the field of radio and television broadcasting. Students will learn how to design, build, manage and maintain broadcast systems, facilities and IT networks. Recent digital innovations have revolutionized the media world. While speaking with Heidendahl, he stressed the economic need for media outlets to switch from analog equipment to digital.
The program is specialized in a vast number of fields. It covers radio and television facilities, cable television operations, specialty channels, post-production facilities, audiovisual systems, satellite distribution systems, aswell as a variety of other unique and highly specialized skills. Employment is readily available for installation and service technologists, systems integration engineers and field service technologists
Qualified Broadcast Engineering Technology graduates are in heavy demand today. If you possess a strong numerical sense and are keen on technology, then the broadcast engineering program is definitely for you! It offers students a wide range of technical skills as well as virtually guaranteeing employment after course completion. Companies all over the world are looking for qualified and skilled employees for their companies and establishments alike.
The demand for new broadcast engineers is increasing every day. With a large number of engineers retiring now and in the close future, many new openings have appeared in the industry. This is making the demand for skilled workers unnaturally high. With this lack of skilled workers, comes a raise in pay. Television stations, radio stations, and other media outlets are willing to shell out big dollars to have a skilled engineer on-call. Due to the industry’s lack of professionals, it is quite common for the business to provide broadcast engineering employees a company vehicle to ensure they are able to commute to work. With so many experienced engineers leaving the field, it has created a great opportunity for new graduates to fill their shoes.
The broadcast engineering technology program is divided into three areas of study: electronics, IT and dedicated broadcast systems. The program also aims to teach students a multitude of skills. These include creating a strong independent work ethic, producing material on par with industry standards, learning to be flexible and adaptable as well as building cooperative working skills.
Later that day in the afternoon; I sat in with a math class taught by Mr. Brent Seres. The students involved in his lesson were all extremely engaged and clearly had a passion for mathematics and technology alike. While in the classroom, I realized that this program simply isn’t for me. The particular class was so heavily math based that I couldn’t see straight. The constant trigonometry, complex formulas and mosaic-like charts provided a stern feeling of discontent and uneasiness. The program bases itself heavily in computer code as well, which is a field I have limited interest and zero experience in.
There is a very limited creative freedom in the program, which is an element I need in my life. I realize the demand for broadcast engineers is incredibly high, and finding employment would be very easy but without an element of self-expression I wouldn’t feel rewarded. The heavy paycheck is also a large motivator but it cannot make up for the overt lack of expression. The program sees itself as media agnostic. Meaning it really has nothing to do with the content portrayed on the airwaves. It surrounds itself solely with the engineering and maintenance of the technology in the Broadcast field.
I am extremely grateful to have been given the opportunity to research and walk through the Broadcast Engineering Program. It allowed me to heavily investigate my prime prospect for next year. Through this investigation I realized that the BRET program would be a poor fit for my personality. It is clearly heavily rooted in arithmetic, which is one of my biggest weaknesses. After much consideration, I think it is in my best interest to not enroll in the Broadcast Engineering Technology program due to the many negative factors.