Great article. I’ve learned myself that side projects can be decisive when looking for a new job. When I applied for a job as a web developer, I had no such work experience in my CV (since I worked as a lawyer before). However, I had a couple of web applications I built from scratch as my side projects that I showed to my future employer. These applications helped me to acquire my first programming job.
This personal experience taught me how it is important to have a side project. And this is why I am always trying to work on at least one at the time. You can learn so much from them!