A Shortage of Skilled Electronics Nerds.
Being a self taught individual, I have never gone to College, nor did I really focus on many of my High School courses. I tend to focus on topics that interest me, and which are useful to me, in that specific instance in time. I then do what I can to teach myself the foundations of the skills I need to accomplish a task, and try my best to perform that task. Usually it doesn't come out amazingly well my first time, but often good enough for it to function. In that note, I am less focused on the details to really polish things, but I generally am very good at seeing the larger picture, and figuring out complex systems or processes. It is this trait which I think helps me to excel in my job, and also excel at maintaining and repairing any personal items which most other people would have to call a specialist to repair.
At work, it has become increasingly difficult to find anyone to fill the shoes of employees in my department, whom have retired. The skills of electronic tinkerers, and ham radio operators who actually could build their own radios, is a skill set which had faded away. Most younger college educated people with electronics degrees tend to be focused on IT, or software, or simply replacing modules. The ability to troubleshoot and repair components on a circuit board is a seemingly lost art.
I have thought about taking people under my wing and helping them learn, but I do find that often people want instant knowledge and skill. I'll admit that the skills I have have taken years to develop, and indeed I have made mistakes along the way. I have surely made mistakes which have damaged equipment worth in excess of $1000... But I would then have to fix what I broke. Where I work however, such learning can't be happening. A basic fundamental skill set must exist. But finding someone with that skill set who can walk in the door and get right to work is difficult. Now, I know there are indeed some aerospace and military contractor type jobs out there which would likely pay double what I earn, for the skill set I have. However, those positions are never secure long term, and the workload would be a lot higher than my current position. But my wage where I am now isn't anything to complain about... It is easily quite a comfortable wage.
So with decent pay, and a decent work load, why is it so difficult to find anyone? Perhaps education lately has focused too much on software and computers, rather than on basic electronics. No longer is it really worthwhile to repair an item, when a newer, better replacement likely exists by the time something breaks, and the American way is to just throw out the broken item, and buy a new one. So there is no incentive for people to learn how to fix things anymore. We are too well off for our own good... Skills Americans used to have which helped them advance in technology, have been dwindling away as we have been spoiled by our own affluence.
Meanwhile, I would place money on a theory, that in many third world countries, a larger ratio of people would be able to fix a Car Stereo with just some components, than the ratio of Americans who could. They have developed those skills out of the need to repair stuff, if they want to maintain their stuff, as they often can't afford new things when something breaks.
I am not sure really where I wanted this post to go... But yeah, I would be happy to have someone to mentor. But at the same time, Electronics is not really a current priority for myself. I keep up on what I need for my job, but otherwise, I focus on other interests and hobbies. That being said, I could get back into it if the social aspect of it was enough to draw me in.