So regarding my question, when would be an appropriate time to start working on personal coding projects? I feel like I should really get a good grasp on the basic syntax of programming languages before I jump in to personal projects, but where would be a good place to start if I do work on something like a website, or a mobile app?
“Personal projects” don’t actually have to be that big. If you’re just starting out with learning a language’s syntax, then you’ll probably have small snippets of code you create that “do stuffs”. Those might not be big fancy projects, but they are something that you personally created.
Generally the most common way to use personal projects, besides the learning aspect, is to host them on github. This requires knowledge and usage of git. Github can be considered the “social network for developers” to a degree. The main aspects is that it can host/backup and keep track of changes to things you build over time for free.
Job wise this can help show your actual level of experience, along with help you actually develop your projects over time.
However, at this time I’d keep things more simple and just save what your building in a way that you can save it to git later. Odds are your small snippets of code can all be bunched together later, just so you have some historical record of what you’ve been doing.
Don’t worry about the code “not being professional enough” for github, no one will be concerned that the code you write early in your journey isn’t 100% super professional, such code doesn’t really exist.
When programming you mainly want to accomplish the following broad strokes:
Think of a problem, even a simple one
Think of a solution
Implemented that solution via code
Test, verify, and improve as necessary, bringing you back to one.
You personal projects don’t have to solve a giant problem, they could be small snippets that focus on one very simple straight forward thing. The main idea is to take a problem, break it down, and build up a solution. So building anything, is always beneficial for learning.