I believe that software developers should have a passion for programming. In one of my previous posts, I claimed that nothing is more effective than enthusiasm. This passion should include a constant desire to learn new things and to create pet projects to put in practice the things you are learning.
However there is a danger in having too many side projects: some programmers have so many ideas they want to try that they end up starting lots of such pet projects but never ending them. This is better depicted in the comics below (from CommitStrip):
For a nice collection of comics about programming see: