I know this might be a "hot take" (or whatever the kids call it) but hear me out. I see a lot in the tech community about college vs. self-taught. This got me thinking. Reflecting on my own path it's not as straight forward as one or the other.
I have a degree in Business Information Systems. My degree gave me a broad range of skills and exposure to different areas of IT. In my final year I was able to focus on programming and took all the programming related modules. When I graduated I took a graduate Java Software Engineer role. That was in 2012.
I knew very little about the web even after my four year degree. I took one web development module in first year and after four years it was pretty outdated. At this role I became fascinated with the web. A colleague who shared my interest inspired me to try it out for myself. Once I got started I realised this was it for me. This was the path I wanted to follow. By day, I wrote Java code but I spent my spare time learning everything I could about web development. I created small projects, read books and watched videos.
Every year since then I've had to learn something new, D3.js, Angular.js, Angular 2, React and so on. And not only different libraries but also different concepts. MVC, MVVM, Components. Tech is always changing. The web is always changing. We have to keep learning to keep up with it. At times it can be overwhelming. It's also (at least for me) what keeps it interesting and one of the things I love about the web.
So at this point being self taught or having a degree doesn't matter. Yes having a degree helps you get in the door. It's not right but that's the way it is at most places. But things are changing. Companies are realising it's not about the paper it's about the practice. It's about the commitment you put into it.
Choosing college or not is a very personal decision. College offers a lot more than just the paper at the end. It's an experience and it's not for everyone. The main thing is to keep learning and keep building, get yourself a mentor, and put yourself out there. Because in the end we are all self taught developers.
I taught myself but could not have done it without the help of many others. Mentors and other colleagues and especially the amazing content available online.