SBE to Offer Advanced IT-Broadcast Certification

Jim Bernier is a CPBE, CBNT and the SBE National Certification Committee Chair.

It’s been almost 10 years since the SBE Certification Committee rolled out the Certified Broadcast Network Technologist level. The fact that it has become one of the most popular certification levels is really no surprise to those of us on the Certification Committee who helped develop it. We saw the emergence of computer networking within a broadcast facility and sought to find a way to help broadcast engineers meet the new challenges associated with computer networking.

The two-prong approach started with the development of the certification level itself. We decided that it would be a stand-alone certification—that is to say that an individual could apply and take the exam without holding any other SBE certification. An applicant would still need to be involved within the broadcast industry or allied fields in order to be eligible.

The second element was developed by Terry Baun, CPBE, AMD, CBNT. Terry wrote and presented a class on broadcast networking and the implementation of both computer systems and their networking and has presented this class many times in many different cities in the United States. After the class, participants had the opportunity to sit for the CBNT exam; most were able to pass the exam, which really should not have been too surprising since Terry was one of the authors of the CBNT exam question pool.

Much of the material that was covered in those early days is considered rudimentary by today’s broadcast networking requirements. As more and more equipment within a broadcast facility has integrated network interfaces for either control and/or media/data distribution, the networks themselves have become more and more complex. The added concerns about network security for either the protection of assets or maintaining the integrity of the computer network itself, have taken the skills required for a broadcast engineer to maintain such systems beyond the skill set which CBNT was intended to review.

In early 2010 the SBE Certification Committee decided that a new certification level need to be developed to meet this new challenge.

Certified Broadcast Networking Engineer is expected to be introduced for 2011. It will be equivalent to a five year certification level, such as CBRE or CBTE, and it is anticipated that applicants will already have the basic competencies tested with the CBNT exam.

Certified Broadcast Networking Engineer will delve into deeper networking and IT issues such as firewalls, DNS, DHCP, VLANs, NAT, routing tables, SAN, NAS, cloud computing and more which are permeating the broadcast technical environment and which broadcast engineers are being required to understand more and more.

It was decided not to offer this as a “specialist” certification level so that it could be a standalone certification level as the current CBNT is, if the applicant so desired. Also, since we are hoping to appeal to an emerging segment of engineers within the broadcast community, it would allow an IT professional working within broadcasting to achieve a certification level sponsored by the SBE and be engaged into becoming more deeply involved in the broadcast engineering aspects.

A test rollout of this new certification level is expected to be conducted with a full introduction ready for the middle part of 2011.