I have been working in software development for the last five years, and have had a number of jobs during this time - most of them have been fixed term contracts, but I've also had a permanent position, and have been self-employed for a few months (with a couple of clients).
I finished my most recent contract a few weeks ago, and have started interviewing for a number of other jobs.
Something I've noticed over the years when attending interviews, is that I often get asked whether I have any of my own projects that I can talk about - and the question is often asked with an expectancy that I'm going to launch into a detailed description of some application that I've developed in my own time.
Although I enjoy what I do - mainly because I enjoy logic and problem solving - I don't tend to do any software development in my own time, mostly because I have other interests that take up most of my spare time outside of work (sport, youth work, other voluntary work, socialising, etc). I find that while I enjoy the logic and problem solving that I do as a software developer, I have no interest at all in doing it outside of my office hours - I would rather take a break by doing one of the things I've listed above, or simply relaxing.
That said, I know that a lot of people who work in software development do enjoy doing it in their own time as well as while at work, but my question is, why has it become almost expected that a software developer work on their own projects in their own time? I can't think of many other professions where it is 'expected' that someone does what they're paid to do for their own leisure, too.
I understand that it might make a candidate stand out more if they have some impressive bit of work that they've done in their own time, but if I were in the position to be hiring a software developer, I think I would value someone who enjoys other hobbies and interests as well, as it likely means that they will be a more rounded person.
When I've been asked this question at interview, I have answered it in the way I've given my reason for not doing it above. I would say that the responses I've had to this answer at interview, are generally 60/40, i.e. some interviewers seem to appreciate my point of view, but most don't seem too impressed - I get the impression that they are expecting me to have worked on my own projects outside of my employed work.
Recently, I even had an application rejected because I didn't have any of my own projects I could show to the company posted on GitHub. This wasn't listed as a requirement on the job advertisement, but after applying, I had a call from someone at the company asking for the link to my GitHub profile, which I provided, but mentioned that I didn't have any of my own projects on there, and that all of the work that I had contributed to on GitHub was proprietary, and owned by previous employers, so I wouldn't be able to show them the source code.
So why does it seem to be accepted that software developers are expected to be working on or have worked on their own projects outside of their employment?