Hey markamaze, I'm 34 and just graduated last year with an Associates degree after over a decade in Entertainment and Special Effects, and got super lucky landing a job at a Software company. If I can do it, you can as well.
What worked for me was to go to a lot of networking events, especially Meetup events focused on the languages I liked learning about. Then, try and find little free one-day or weekend conferences where you can go learn as well. Don't just focus on learning though! Focus on getting to know the other people who come out and get to know the community you're in. So many opportunities come from the community and your own network. If you're not surrounded by people who have this interest, that's ok, but the more people around you with the interest, the faster you will grow and land that gig.
Best of luck in your endeavors!
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