I don’t want to scare you, but please read the entire post.
I can tell you that getting a job for a 10 year experienced person in difficult. After having a 6 year gap makes you almost unemployable.
But, if you can show some awesome freelance projects where you solved problems that very few people in the industry can solve, then you have a good chance of getting a very nice job. There your experience in C++ & SQL will be counted. You might be leading a team. Initially in the job you might have some problems but you need to figure out the solutions.
Now for getting projects you can use Kaggle, AnalyticsVidhya. Once you feel that you’re confident enough, you can start doing freelance work from Upwork or Freelancer. You might get paid very less for the work. But you’ll get work experience on real data. This work experience will take you to a higher level during the interviews. You would no longer be considered a fresher or unemployable in this field.
Since you have a lot of experience already, be in touch with your old friends in the industry. LinkedIn might help you for the same. Your friends on LinkedIn might refer you for a lead position. If you want to connect with me, you are welcome : https://www.linkedin.com/in/broto-bhattacharjee/
However, connecting with people for work should be the last step. By that time you should be well aware of Data Analytics techniques, Probability-Statistics, coding your solution (end to end) in R or Python, and some Big Data Technologies. Basically you should be a person who is a one-man-army. You should be able to talk to the client, gather requirements, do a feasibility study, design the solution, code and test the solution, also come up with alternate approaches and show your results on a dashboard.
If you’re confident that you can do that, start preparing for it immediately. I’m no career advisor. The views mentioned above are the ones that I understood and experienced. You can amend the gameplan according to your needs.
I’ll be happy to help you. Best of luck !!!