Most of what I know as an engineer, I did not learn from a book.
Yes, I went to college, and studied the math and physics and stuff, and that’s a necessary starting point. But when I started working as an engineer, I was initially given the simplest tasks. Then relatively simple projects. And as time went along, I learned my craft from more experienced staffers, and moved on to bigger and better things.
Now I have broader responsibilities on my projects. In another time, I would have expected to have two or three junior engineers as part of the team. They could do simpler tasks under my direction, and learn, and move on to bigger and better things themselves. As far as I can tell, that’s the way things have been in my craft since the beginning.
But business doesn’t work that way anymore. Carrying rookies and training them on the job is an extraneous cost that can be squeezed. The work that used to be done by drafters and junior engineers is reflected back upward. And in the short term, it makes sense: very often, it is quicker for me to simply do something than to explain it to a subordinate, wait for him to do it, and then inspect the results (and possibly have him do parts of it over) before sending it onward.
But in the long term, where does the next generation of engineers come from?