I’m not really a big company person. Big company recruiters look for years of experience in very specific areas. Companies looking for generalists tend to be small. I got into a big company by having some very specific experience, but I survived by being in small autonomous departments.
There’s a common perception that someone who has been at IBM for 20 years has an irredeemable big company mindset; that they would have culture shock working on a small team, and probably can’t even wipe up a coffee spill without filing an APAR.
When you file for unemployment, it can be 5 weeks before you actually see any money. Given that the average American lives pay check to pay check, this strikes me as highly problematic.
At the moment, lots of companies are incredibly slow at any sort of hiring process. It can easily be 3-4 weeks or more to get any kind of response. This puts you into the job hunt time warp; for them a couple of weeks pass in a flash, but for you every day feels like a week.
Kotlin is only really popular in the US for Android development. On the server side, Scala seems to be the Java alternative of choice.
According to web developer job listings, you can’t build a web site without React and AWS.
Ruby on Rails is still pretty popular, more so than I expected. With the improvements in Ruby 3 (performance, static type checking, concurrency) it might be worth getting back into.