I was in Calgary most of this week for the ISA Calgary Exhibition (http://isacalgary.com/ ) more on that event next week) and one of the comments I heard many times while there and at SAIT (www.sait.ab.ca local trade college) was the shortage of people entering and even considering automation as a career choice. This is a common theme throughout the technical fields especially and even though I am an engineer, I firmly believe that it is the technicians that we need to encourage. The reason we need technicians should be fairly obvious. If the engineers design something? Who is responsible for building, installing and maintaining it? The technicians.
Unfortunately, there are not many groups that are good at providing this encouragement. ISA is thought of as an engineering society, and the technicians are often ‘represented’ by the unions – not always a strong technical voice. The good news is that ISA, through the Automation Federation and many local Sections, are becoming more engaged in FIRST (http://www.firstlegoleague.org commonly thought of as Lego League) to get young people interested in electronics. Another way to encourage and continue to develop an interest in electronics for young people is the wonderfully titled book by Dave Cutcher, "Electronic Circuits for the Evil Genius, 2 Edition" McGraw-Hill, 2010 tha tis also available at http://www.ebook3000.com/Electronic-Circuits-for-the-Evil-Genius--2-Edition_110792.html
Rather than lament the dearth of people entering our profession, I would encourage you to DO something about it by mentoring a young person through FIRST or be a role model in some other way. If you have some ideas on how you are encouraging others to consider a career in the field of automation please share it with us so we can extend the human network that makes our profession so exciting.