I have worked as a software developer at a small company for just under a year now, and for various reasons I have decided that it is best for me to leave the company in the near future.
Initially I was planning to look for similar roles to apply for, but I am now considering another option: resigning from my current company and spending a period of time unemployed, working on personal projects based on a field of specialised development that I have a much bigger interest in and would like to be more involved with in my future career.
There seems to be a stigma about leaving a job when you don't have another one lined up as a replacement, but for personal and professional reasons I feel like this could be a really positive career move for me. I'm aware that there are some huge risks but feel like the potential long-term reward to my personal and professional life outweighs the risks (I won't go into detail as it's not really relevant to this particular question).
If I was to go ahead with this, and 6-9 months later started applying for interviews, there would be the obvious question of "Why have you been unemployed for x months?".
Assuming the projects in question are in a field related to the roles I am applying for, and I was to use them as part of a portfolio to show interviewers, will this be enough to justify my employment gap? Or am I likely to be rejected by most companies based on this alone?