Having worked my way up from a Wafer Probe Operator (Semiconductor Industry) to just under a Staff Scientist without a degree I can agree it is getting harder these days. For the most part, as a programmer, not having a degree hasn't held me back too much but there are certain cultures where if you don't have your piece of paper they won't even talk to you. When I was first promoted to be an Engineer my boss said "We all have 98.6 degrees, show me what you can do". I wonder what use a degree I would have received in 1979 would be today. Other than a check on a form.