I think the original poster will have a very difficult time, if not impossible time, getting into the field in anything other than the lowest, least skilled position (with commensurate pay). Just knowing C++ is not enough to break into the field in a few months.
I think in general the post is true. If you cannot have the luxury to work all day on something relevant about the field, you cannot be prepared for a real job in months or a year.
Do you suffer painful illumination? -- Isaac Newton, "Optics"