I am a junior developer at my second working experience, the first one using PHP with WordPress and currently on Groovy on Grails. I like coding, I attend meetup to discuss technology etc but I still did not understand how to become a real professional with the "know how" attitude.
I read Clean Coder, the author advises to spend 20 hours per week of my spare time to learn new technologies and to keep myself up to date. I do not find this realistic, if you want to have a bit of a social life, and I also noticed that learning at work, at least in the places where I worked, is not ideal. No support from seniors for new projects, no pair programming and code reviews, no company trainings, one hour a week tech meetings where seniors walk away after a bit because they already know the topic discussed and so on. Sometimes is quite hard to keep the motivation...
My questions are:
Is our industry supposed to be like this? Is there real team working in the sense of sharing knowledge and help juniors to get up to speed?
Are we supposed to learn new technologies or technology features just in our spare time?Clean Coder says football players do not train during official matches and our working hours are like official matches, we should just perform and learn in other moments. Is it really like this?
How can I improve my skills with no support? Is it enough to read books and try out the exercises and perhaps some katas? In almost 5 month of Groovy on Grails experience at work, I have never had the opportunity to create anything from scratch, just worked on existing issues where it was even really difficult to get the domain knowledge from senior devs.