One thing that saddens me is that this country has lost the concept of apprenticeships. It used to be that whenever you wanted to learn a trade you would pick a professional who could teach you and you would become his apprentice. What does it really mean to be an apprentice though? What separates an apprentice from what he have here now?
Well, it's really the frame of mind of both parties. Here in America we have the concept of a jr. DBA, though few companies actually take advantage of this personnel goldmine. In radio and medicine both they have interns, and those are more or less apprenticeships, but we don't have anything like that in IT. Again, the problem is in the mindset of both parties... the Sr. and the Jr. In IT, you get hired to do a job. You may be at a jr. level, but you're still hired for that specific job. And the company and the sr. both expect you to be able to do it. There is no real education going on though, and anything you learn, you pretty much have to take on yourself through books and seminars. When you take on an apprenticeship you're there to learn databases. That means that mentoring is the primary goal and the job itself is secondary. That doesn't mean you don't pay them, it just means that you change the dynamic from sr. and the jr. to master and apprentice.
In my former life I was a French chef. I apprenticed the old world way under a real French chef. What does that mean? Well, I traveled with him, I did his laundry, I washed his car, ran his errands, and did whatever other piddling thing he wanted. He paid me well, but only in the restaurant. Outside the restaurant, everything I did for him was completely on my own time, and honestly it's the least I could do for teaching me his life's work. I've been out of the kitchen for several years now, and I still come when he calls. I know that kind of lifestyle sounds strange to a lot of you, but my dream was to become a chef, and that's how it's done in the real cooking world. Of course, I don't still do his laundry, but I do help him with things especially since he's in his twilight now. After all, he did teach me his life's work, and it's still the least I can do.
Maybe that's the problem. Maybe nobody grows up saying, "I want to be a DBA." There's no passion for databases like there is for cooking. I mean, you can't smell SQL code(even though a lot of it stinks), and you can't make nice flowers out of a DR strategy. I think I'm one of the very few who actually gets excited about databases. I completey geek-out when something new comes out, or a find a new way to solve an old problem. It may not be pretty to look at, but I can look at a SQL window just like I'm staring at a plate of Lobster Thermidor.