This is a very interesting topic. It is widely debated, whether a 4 year degree is required for a Computer Science degree. Honestly, no one can give you the answer to your question, because that is a personal choice that depends on your ideals, career goals and financial situation. However, that being said, do you need a degree to be a programmer or to work within the field, no. Would employers look for it, honestly it depends on the employer and requirements of the company. The idea of attending a College or University is to have a well rounded education. One that will help you explore the different areas that may be of interest to you, but most importantly to develop your reading, writing and analytical skills, all of which are important in any field you choose, Computer related or not. If you are looking at it from a purely financial standpoint CUNY has several colleges (2yr or 4yr) that are really affordable. I suggest you go to a 2 year college, work part-time and them transfer into a four year. School is about networking as well, so sure you can go to a school and pay 10k, but the networking component is often lost and that is the beauty of attending school. Meeting people and/or companies that require someone in your level of expertise. Big companies recruit in schools almost exclusively, so think about all that valuable information, connections and opportunities going to waste. Yes, education is an expense, but it's an experience that you/or your parents invest in. Alternatively, you could just go to a school that specializes in that, but remember many companies want to see a degree and although technology has open the playing field for those that have went the non-traditional route, the vast majority of companies are not open to that idea. For instance, as a recruiter, if I have 50 applicants and 30 have a degree, I will only interview those that have a degree. Unfortunately, this is the view point of many recruiters/companies, especially in New York City. Weight your options. I would look at the stats in various colleges and trade schools/certifications or find companies you would love to work in and ask them what are they requirements for hiring applicants. Do all your due diligence now, so you don't cheat yourself in the long run. Good luck!