I remember my first computer class. Mid 1980s. We worked on the TRS-80.
We had to bring in a floppy disk from home, my dad gave me one of his. We learned about the basics of computers. Even learned to program. I remember how much fun it was, computers were new back then. I was good at computers from an early age.
At home, I programmed in Basic(a). On PC-Dos. Dialed up on 1200 baud modem. No hard drives.
My next course was in High School, I remember some of my classmates cheating off me.
Next course was FORTRAN in college, on the VAX.
In 1994, took a class in Atlanta Georgia, learned the 'copy/paste' feature, Paradox database, Word Perfect and Quatro Pro spreadsheet.
In 1995, took c++ at St. Petersburg Junior college.
I do think having a parent work for IBM for 34 years helped.
I'm not the greatest programmer to walk the planet. But I've only taken 5 formal classes. Everything has been learned on the job or self taught.
The one thing about programming is the cut and dry logic. You don't find such absolutes in the daily world. Most jobs now a days require some basic computer understanding from email to spreadsheets to word to power point.
Had I not been in IT, I'd probably still be in banking, approving loans or maybe mortgage broker. Or most likely, I'd a crossed over into Financial planning or consumer credit counseling.
I like working with money, almost as much as working with logic. Programming offers more freedom and creativity.
To summarize, I don't think having a 4 year degree in technology is required to work in technology. A nice to have. But if you can get the job done, your degree doesn't really matter.