I do software test automation/QA and I don't have a CS degree. But, I do have some working knowledge of data structures and algorithms which has been enough for me to do my job thus far.
I left my job about 6 months ago to get a break and look for new opportunities. I took a vacation for about one month and started preparing for interviews after vacation. A large part of my preparation consists of mostly practicing for coding interviews (only started a month ago), taking courses and sometimes building small projects (but nothing spectacular), and also revising concepts related to work. A few months into my preparation, the corona virus pandemic happened. After the pandemic, it appears that there are fewer opportunities for my role.
I have applied to many companies in the past few months. But, I hardly get any interviews or I don't make it to final rounds. In some (not all) interviews my weak point is the data structures & algorithms coding interview. I am working on getting better at that and it takes up most of my time. But, the gap in employment has come up in a few interviews. For all I know, some of my job applications might be rejected mainly because of the gap.
I wonder if I would have been at least considered for more jobs if I did not have a big gap. How do I explain this gap to employers and improve my chances of at least getting interviews ?