I've always thought it was better to have a side project that is published online, versus not having something out there.
I had a web site that had my resume on it, but I had no work to show off.
I think it is very important to have some work online especially if you are looking for a new job. I think it is better than having a GitHub portfolio, which is the current trend. I believe having something that someone can explore on their own, is easier than someone having to install it and then try to figure it out.
Having a working site or an app that is in the stores is actual production level code for you. If you are looking for a job, I believe having something out there gives you a leg up on your competition.
Whenever, I have interviewed, if I had one of my sites or apps online, I found that the hiring managers & developers doing the interviews often asked me about those projects versus standard interview questions.
Having a site that is using a database, shows you have knowledge of a database. Having a site that you have published shows that you know more than just code, technically now you are DevOps! Plus having a site out there allows other developers to ask you questions on YOUR PROJECT. You know your code, so the interview changes dramatically. It also helps if they want you to bring in a code sample.
Outside of the employment aspect, having your own side project is fun! I find that I'm connected better to the technical community. I'm also learning a ton in the process & I'm spending time doing something I love!
After you build out your app, it is important to be able to show case your project. The best way I've found is to have a portfolio type of application. One where you can post your resume & talk about your project.
You can check out mine here