|We don't bite newbies here... much|
I feel qualified to add to this discussion, because I have direct experience with this.
I'm 20 years old and had completed two years of college when my university raised tuition and dropped one of my loans. So now I've been working full-time for a year.
After leaving school I got a contract job to provide support while CIGNA upgraded their computer systems. Not bad pay, not very fun. Next I was unemployed for several months looking for a job, but found no companies that would look at my resume. Why not? It was missing two things: A degree and Java. The odd thing about Java was that everyone wanted people with 5 - 10 years of Java experience. Strange, no? Anyway I digress.
My next job was at the wonderful Wal-Mart chain of stores(not fun). I worked graveyard cashier for 3 months until I got my current position.
I now work at a large company that works on DoD contracts. It is almost impossible to get a job here without a degree. The company will not look at your resume if you don't have a degree. The only reason that I got my job is that someone I've known since High School is a management type person here. He got my resume in the door, and I got a job from the interview.
The moral of this story? Get a degree, it's worth it. I am making 50% less then a college grad in the same position. I had to work at Wal-Mart<shudder>. Plus, where else do you get that much bandwidth except on a college dorm :-).
I plan to go back once I've saved up money from my current position. I just thought I'd share my experiences in case they help.