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[–] Master_Foo 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago 

Technically, nobody cares about your CS degree, they care if you can produce results. Nobody has ever asked for my degree. The only time it was ever useful was to get a green card in Japan.

So, if you even slightly suspect you might want to spend a couple of years in another country, a 4 year degree is going to be a requirement.

That being said, let's say you are a homeboy and hate sushi. Whatever the reason, you never want to leave the country. College is still a good option for STEM. Why? Because you'll have professors throwing high paying jobs at you left and right. Recruiters don't bother with the classifieds, they know every CS professor at every college in every state. Each semester they are going to be calling your professor and ask him to send them his top 5 guys. If you are one of those top 5 guys, you are going to get hired.

Out of the gate, you will be making enough money to pay off your student loans in a couple of years. No big deal.

If you try getting hired without a degree, you'll be searching for a long time and the pay wont be super great to start. The better long term solution is college. It gives you a more aggressive head start. Head hunters should be contacting you, not you begging the head hunters to notice you.

Think of college as an intellectually stimulating vacation and when you are done with that vacation you come back to the real world making much, much more money than you were making before the vacation.