Locksmithing is the skill, or some would even say art of making and breaking various types of locks. The person that does this is usually called a locksmith and he (or she) has to be one very careful and patient individual because it is a delicate job.
This profession is also sometimes referred as “security engineering”. And, indeed security is the main goal of any lock, whether it is a simple door knob in your room or a more complex lock that is supposed to be placed on some vault. Whatever the reason for putting a lock in the first place, a locksmith will always approach the problem with utmost care and concentration.
It is very interesting to mention that the technology of making locks hasn’t changed that much and it still retains a good segment of its medieval origins. It still pretty much revolves around a so called “pin tumbler” technology. If you were to open your lock, which I wouldn’t recommend, unless you are a professional lock smith, you would most likely find this exact mechanism. This mechanism is what allows only your key to fit your lock.
Of course, you can’t expect any profession to remain stagnant for centuries, and neither can something as important as a profession that is making something with a goal to keep your house or car protected from intruders. Locksmithing profession has changed drastically over the ages, and where once the Locksmith would spent hours at time hammering one lock, they are much more skilled with lasers today than with a hammer. But even so, many locksmiths had to expand their business to include door frames, hinges or hardware to stay on the market.
Many companies and some individuals with deeper pockets have replaced the simple (although, this is a little stupid thing to say) mechanic lock with a much more reliable electronic type of lock. No matter how complex the mechanic lock is, it can still be broken if you have the know-how, where as the electronic lock sets a completely new challenge to any potential lock picker.
Locksmiths today are rarely found working solo, although you can always find one or two in your local papers or the yellow pages. Most professional locksmiths today work for companies who hire them when they are in need of their skills, usually when they are opening a new building or when they want to upgrade the security on the existing.
Since Locksmithing dates from medieval times, it is no wonder that even today it is in a way a guild with its own rules, which are of course observed by those more global. Still, a very good locksmith can attain a good amount of respect in his branch and can be even given a “title” Master Locksmith. Of course, this is a remnant of some older times and today only those with a valid certification and who meet certain requirements can use this tag in their portfolio without problems.