My friend only has his high school degree and he works as a programmer for the last year. He was unemployed and studied at code academy, worked at a non paying internship and was eventually hired by the company he works for now. He's been there a year now and is always busy. He loves his job. Having the degree always helps in terms of getting hired or moving upward but it's not the only way to get it done. Be willing to do what it takes. Focus on what is around and make it happen! Your alternative is to work somewhere like you did the first 6 months out of high school or you can create a situation for yourself like my friend did. I went to UCLA and studied Neuroscience and I work in the Psychology field but I'm just really good with computers as well. I've tried code academy and what's important from what I see is that you are methodical, pay attention to detail and most importantly can apply what you've learned. Being creative sets you apart. Obviously creating an app or putting something you've created on your resume that someone can see will make it easier for them to judge your abilities. Without that you should network, meaning if your dad knows a programmer, spend time after school a couple of hours a day with him, pay attention, ask good questions, show enthusiasm and you never know. That free internship can become a paid job if you show value. Best of luck to you! This isn't the only way but it's one I've seen work not just in computer science but in a lot of fields. Why not you now? Go for it!