This post really resonated, thanks Steve.
Every email subscription, meetup, user group I see are all talking about massive volumes of data, tools to manage this data & very quickly I start to look like a dinosaur, spiking the old anxiety & fear of obsolescence.
There is a disconnect however, between all these cool new tools and technology and the amount of organizations actually using them & I see this reflected in the available roles in my region. Admittedly im not living in Calafornia, but rather a small European country, but there are still 20+ roles looking for SSIS, Star Schema, SQL Server, PowerBI/SSRS/Paginated Rpts for every one role looking for synapse/databricks/HDinsight developers.
Taking that minority of jobs on the cutting edge, most look like a word dump of technologies from all the Azure/Amazon/Apache marketing leaflets they could find, there's no visible strategy, just a scattergun of cool words and technologies hinting the organization doesn't really know what its doing and is not using most of those technologies either.
What I'm trying to say is I think the view that the latest cool technologies are being used by "everyone but me" is nonsense, but its enough to make us question our value.
Regarding addressing the talent gap, courses are great, Udemy/PluralSight/LinkedIn Learning all have great intro courses and even some that push deeper, and Microsoft certifications are great too, if approached correctly, i.e. Actually carry out demos & use the experience for the learning & knowledge & not the little badge for linkedIn at the end.
But all the courses in the world can only bring one so far. If the info is not used daily it quickly fades meaning one has to either find a way to get that new technology into their existing organization, often a herculean effort or move jobs which seems a bit overkill, putting out a candle with a hose if in most other areas, your current job is great.
Im in that situation, my current job is fantastic, great work life balance, i have great autonomy & we do interesting work, but its not with big data so there's no reason spending money on things like synapse for 50Gb of data.
I do PluralSight & Udemy courses to get the high level of new tech along with taking MS Exams like the DP-203 data engineer.
But where i see real value is in volunteering for projects outside my area and comfort zone. Non Tech, Non Data projects. This has provided experience and exposure I would never get otherwise, in particular projects strategic for the organization where i can make a difference, even if its not through technical means.
My theory is that when I decide to move roles, the right employer will see 15 years data experience along with ability identify value add projects, ramp up, adapt, learn and add value outside of my core area of expertise.
This marries with what @alex Gay says above, an employer should see a good hire not as someone with a list of specific technologies, but experience in the area & demonstrated ability to learn & grow instead of hitting the ground running with 20+ new technologies.
If this will work out as planned, who knows.