I've been in IT for about 20 years now, professionally... to this day I do not have a degree (of any sort actually), yet I'm highly-regarded and paid rather handsomely for my skills.
They key to getting hired initially was to have a portfolio of work. I had done some independent consulting projects before that I could show, but mostly I was showing things I had done on my own. And, a lot of it, most of it even, wasn't remotely work-related: I showed a lot of intros I had written for BBS's years earlier, a couple of games I wrote, little utilities, things like that. That impressed the person interviewing me a lot.
I also made a point to study up on things I suspected I'd be questioned on, things like the basics of OOP, which to that point I hadn't done any of.
I also had an interviewer that was fair, which is a bit of a lucky draw I have to admit, but one thing he did was asked me to write a program in FoxPro over the weekend and bring it back to him Monday. I'd never even HEARD of FoxPro at that point, and this was before the Internet was what it is today, so it wasn't like you could just go download examples and whatnot... I went to the book store, picked up a book, read it all throughout Saturday, then spent all day Sunday hacking the thing together. It wasn't brilliant code to be sure, but it demonstrated a general attitude and ability to learn on-the-fly.
The interviewer later told me that I basically blew away every CS degree holder that came through the door, some of whom couldn't even answer the basic OOP questions ("What is polymorphism?" for example). Very sad.
Now, all these years later, I sit on the other side of the table and I see the overall lack of basic skills that most candidates seem to come to job interviews with, and it's sad. None of them ever bring a portfolio of work either, which is a big deal. Just throwing a resume on a table isn't enough anymore, especially when I've seen first-hand now many times they're nothing but bullshit. SHOW ME what you've done, whether on the job or not... in fact, in some ways I'm MORE interested in what you've done in your spare time. It often-times shows a lot more of your drive and self-help aptitude, something that is sorely lacking in today's IT world it seems.
Mostly though, don't be dissuaded from trying! For a couple of years I didn't even try to get a job in IT because I figured I didn't have a degree so there would be no chance. I was very wrong. Sure, some places won't even consider you without a degree, but frankly, let me tell you that those, generally, aren't places you'd really want to work at anyway (yes, there are exceptions, but I'm talking generally). It even helps to a certain extent because frankly, use hiring people can pay you less! But, we'll also expect a little less, which means that if you perform well, which is a bit easier with those lower expectations, you can usually expect to be taken care of... for example, my salary tripled inside 5 years, even though I started out a bit lower than I would have liked, and has been going up steadily ever since, all because I came in, a little bit of a gamble perhaps, but I exceeded expectations by doing nothing but working hard, putting in effort to learn new stuff outside work (I CANNOT TELL YOU HOW IMPORTANT THIS IS!!!!) and generally doing what was asked of me.