Are you supposed to wrap yourself in the chains that bind you?
Go to maps.google.com. Right Click on the map. See how it presents you with a few options? Now, instead of presenting that menu, display nothing, and pop up a ransom box. Delselect text, and bam! done! Do the same for ctrl+c, and you have defeated 95% of the public.
I also went to a technical college (public). I also did not get laid.
I didn't really learn a whole lot, but it wasn't too expensive. I think it was about 2k per semester. I would bet money that most of the people in that class are not in the field today. They just weren't IT people.
I got super lucky and landed an entry level Help Desk job at a great company. I made 28.5k, plus a 1k non-guaranteed annual bonus. I was 21 and it was way more then I had ever made before, so I was thrilled. Two years later, we were outsourced. Most people lost their job, but I was kept and upgraded to application support. From there, I thought I would become a networking guy, so I got my CCNA. I didn't get into networking.
I stayed there for a bit, and 3 years later the company wanted to replace the application that i was supporting. I knew the most about it, so I became part of the project team. We chose the vender and I started making it all work (with the help of others). Now, it looks like I might become a developer. I now, with the same company, make almost 3 times what I did when I started.
Back to the school. I could not have got my job without the piece of paper. I don't even know where my diploma is now though. The paper may get your foot in the door, but you are on your own from there.
I love my job. I am very fortunate. This is what I do:
Be positive. No one likes a negative nancy.
Be willing. Don't be lazy.
Don't get taken advantage of. Don't be a shit disturber either. Be positive.
Don't blame other people. Just fix problems.
And most importantly, fix problems.
Why did I say that most of my class didn't make it in IT? They weren't problem solvers. Either you are or you aren't. It drives me crazy when I don't 'get' a problem. I obsess over it until either I solve it, or something else makes me forget.
Businesses want someone that 'gets shit done'. Usually, solving problems fits into that category.
You sound motivated, and smart enough to dive in to the details to understand a system. That is what will make or break your career. Get the paper, find an entry level job, fix shit, be positive. It worked for me.
Failure comes as passion goes. Remember that.
There are real world costs.