(1) Just say NO to drugs. Recent research revealed that evn one-time use of drugs will change chemical reactions of neuro-transmitters. Do not make yourself out of stupid curiosity less resistant to wrong temptations.
in reply to Re: Advancing oneself personally and professionally as a programmer (discussion)
in thread Advancing oneself personally and professionally as a programmer (discussion)
(2) Get a degree, it is a good thing. Anecdotal evidence: my friend in Silicon Valley, smart and expensive IT consultant has PhD degree from Stanford. Nobody ask about the Major - and it is good, because it was Music. He just changed careers. You quite possibly may want to change career, too, and with degree (any degree) it will be easier.
Also, formal education will give you solid fundament for life-time learning. When you build a house, you start from fundament, right?
I have nothing against programmers who learned on job (I did it myself for many subjects - when I was in college, structured programming was new thing, and object oriented was rather experimental...), but still it helps to learn it in structured environment, where you think out and discuss all facets of the problem to go behind gut feeling what is good - to have solid understanding what - and why.
To make errors is human. But to make million errors per second, you need a computer.