when i was a kid i'd shoot using simple point and shoot film cameras on holidays etc...then there was a long break through high school where not many photos were taken. when the digital age took off, we got a Pentax Optio S4 and i shot everything on that. after that started to die we bought a Panasonic FZ5. it was still a p&s and i used it as a p&s not understanding what things like aperture and ISO was.
i sold that FZ5 one year ago and bought my first dSLR using money i'd saved from working part time in uni. since then i've just adored photography and have learnt an IMMENSE amount about everything from how CMOS and CCD works to PP highlights and shadows.
it can be an expensive hobby if u BBB, but i don't think this hobby will die off anytime soon.