Well, chief, since you're fishing for data on the subject I might point out a flaw in your tactic for gathering it.
- I have a feeling you will get few responses from incompetent programmers with degrees. Get what I'm saying?
- Since those people won't be responding (I could be wrong) then you cannot accurately find the answer here.
But, here is what I have seen, and these are only a few examples (I do not consider any of these negative, I only made the observation and kept a mental note):
- People with degrees and a year or two of experience who can't find a job.
- People with accumulated experience of 2 or 3 years and a CS degree who can't keep a job for more than 3 months to a year.
- People who have CS degrees who have given up and now manage an auto parts store.
- People with 2 years of college, that program and are filthy stinking rich.
- People with degrees, that program and are filthy stinking rich.
- People with degrees who have been sitting at the exact same job for 8 years.
- It helps if you want to become a manager in anything but a small company.
- Sometimes it gets your foot in the door, when you are looking for a job. Then again, anything that might get your foot in the door is good with the exception of weaponry.
- If you don't have a degree of any sort, then you will spend several grueling years working up the experience to be treated as well as anyone with a degree. (Barring the management thing listed as item 1 in this list)
- You can't be rich if you work for someone else.
- If you work for yourself then it doesn't quite matter in the same way (although you better have the experience to back such a move)
I don't know what you are looking for in a job. Some people try to find something that changes as little as possible for as long as possible. Some people want to be rich (my favorite). Others want to be uber and don't care, as long as the job allows them to program.