I'm been a software developer/engineer for over 30 years. My problem is that at the very small company I work for, I haven't been able to keep my skills current. The specific skills I've been using on the job aren't skills that are in much demand elsewhere, and there's not much prospect of being able to develop more current skills at this company.
I'd like to think that with my general experience, ability to learn things quickly, and generally having a knack for this kind of work, that I'd be a valuable employee in most positions. I'm expecting that I will need to find another position in 10-12 months, perhaps sooner, but I've started looking around now. Some questions:
What experiences has anyone in my situation had trying to land positions based on "general experience" rather than "5 to 7 years of language X and database Y", etc.? Any thoughts on getting around managers that believe they need that specific checklist, or around resume-scanning software?
As far as developing current skills goes, what's the best approach that would also be something that would convince prospective employers (on my resume, e.g.) that I can do the job well? I've been working on personal projects and more recently some open-source projects, to learn some of these skills, but only for the last 1.5 years or so. I'd be willing to find a part-time consulting position or something in addition to my current job, but everyone I've talked to thinks that kind of opportunity would be very difficult to find. I've gotten mixed, but leaning negative, answers when I've asked whether classes or credentials would be helpful.