Personally, if I have to go back to the circus, I'll probably aim for short contracts or part-time work. If you're looking to reskill, I see plenty of sys admin jobs out there. Except you're supposed to call them "Dev Ops" nowadays. Puppet, VMs, Vagrant, Ansible, cloud computing (Linode, Amazon, etc). It's a relatively small domain which is applicable to many different areas of IT, so you get that "good old days" thing where a little effort goes a long way.
Good luck with whatever you do. Don't let the demons of despair take you, make a deliberate effort to be optimistic and cheerful. You're not the only old horse out there wondering when it all became so complicated. OTOH, it's truly an incredible time to be alive, so much stuff going on!
You have DEVops... think of a web developer who also knows linux.
Then you have devOPS... think of a sysadmin who knows bash and python.
The former is where I think the value comes.. they find ways to automate your infrastructure and do lots of cool things. The later tend to make webs of bash scripts that you have to delete when they quit because no one understands them.
All that because the webdev was learning new Csharp.JS framework like dozen
before, being too busy to learn how package system or daemonization or
networking or RPC or SSH or push vs. pull architectures worked and what they
are good at, or what tools and why a seasoned sysadmin uses for automation.
What you really need is not a dilletante armed with sharp and pointy
PHP-du-jour, but a system programmer. There used to be such a profession, the
guys who wrote syslog, init, bash, grep, awk, libnss, and tons of other goods
people today either use without much thinking or don't know existence of at
Maybe it's good vs bad but it happens. In the puppet/chef era I'd have said you needed to have a background in coding to be a good devop, but ansible has changed that now I think.
That being said- I'd rather have someone transitioning to DevOps with more SysAdmin experience than Dev- the cleanliness and composition can be learned a lot faster than the networking, security, and other topics that most Devs have never had to maintain first hand.
Totay agree. It's a lot easier to pick up enough Ruby to be comfortable with Chef than it is to learn the thousands of different things about networking and security - and probably the OS your average developer has been using for a long time too - that a good sysadmin knows.