I attended a 2 year community college and worked towards an Associates' in Communication Arts. Came pretty close to getting it, with something like 8 credit hours left. But I was down to the classes I was least motivated to take, and an opportunity came along to help a guy I met who was taking a stab at getting a computer reseller shop going. So I dropped out and started working with him.
It sounds like I'm just trying to justify my decision and bash college if I say, "It was the best thing I could have done!" ... but in hindsight, I truly believe it was. I learned a great deal about PC hardware, building custom PC desktops and servers from the ground up. And because I wasn't just doing it on my own as a hobby, I got to work with a lot of high-end gear that was outside my own budget, and even got to blow a couple of things up when I made mistakes. (The shop owner didn't always pay me for my time because at that point, he couldn't afford to. So he was ok with having to "eat" the cost of a few screw-ups for the sake of my learning.) He let me try to get a side business going with a friend of mine, doing computer repair and consulting work, while running things out of his shop, too. That didn't go anywhere -- but at least it was more experience and cost me very little.
After that, I worked for various places as a computer "bench tech" -- mostly because of people I knew who already had jobs there and who vouched for me and my skills. That, in turn, led to my first real full-time corporate I.T. job in PC support as part of a small team. And I've worked in I.T. in various capacities ever since, including a stint running an actually successful on-site service and consulting business.
In all of my years of doing I.T. - I can honestly say that almost all of the best, brightest and most motivated individuals I ran across in the field were also folks who didn't have college degrees. I can think of one exception, but he majored in French and never took any computer-related college courses.
I'm not sure what to think of this Fast Company article Slashdot is referencing? It sounds pretty ridiculous if the only reason businesses are FINALLY trying to hire more non-degreed I.T. folks is some mission to get more "diversity". They've missed 25 or 30 years of opportunities to hire brilliant people if they've been tossing out resumes and job applications this whole time because the college degree was really a requirement for them.
But the kicker is, until recently, there really WAS little diversity among people interested in computers and tech! Degree or no degree -- the people who got hooked on this stuff years ago and invested decades of their lives learning it tended to be a pretty homogeneous group. The biggest change I see with the younger generation today is this idea that being weird is "the new cool". Pre-teens are some of the goofiest people around, and many embrace or at least have a "working knowledge" of all manner of sci-fi, fantasy, Japanese anime, and misc. oddities in anything from clothing and hairstyles to mannerisms and language. Plenty of females of any race or nationality are playing games like Minecraft. Smartphones are everywhere and teach everyone to have a familiarity with web services and Internet connectivity that was only the realm of a niche group in the past.
It might be the first time in history where you can actually start FINDING people other than white males from middle to upper-middle class backgrounds who have a real interest and skills in computers and tech.