True but when I was working permanent for companies I didn't find not having a degree an issue as my past experience and subject knowledge was sufficient.
I suppose there is no right or wrong way and id rather have a degree than not but it's only a small part of the overall package.
Well I think one value of the degree is you don't have to start at the very bottom. Especially graduating from a place like MIT and Stanford, you have no problems finding a job paying $130,000+ with no experience. Really from any old CS school you'll
make at least $55-60k. Microsoft and Google used to hire college grads directly (apparently not anymore due to economy), and six figure salaries are not unheard of. But really the higher level your education the more they often pay. MSCS is worth more then
BSCS, PHD is worth the most.
You can work your way up to a salary like this without a degree. Some places though, specifically list a requirement as a CS degree. It's possible to get around that I guess, but usually they mean it. You risk having HR throwing your Resume away in seconds.
My girlfriend used to work in recruiting, that's basically what they did (and surprisingly a A LOT of computer people lack CS degrees, so it's a really easy way to narrow down applicants).
The other option is to start your own company, but with all these big corporations around, it takes a lot of effort to be competitive, I think.