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> The main thing I lack is access to government jobs

I guess my question would be which government? I do government contracting (US), and degrees are not required. The labor categories are typically written so that if you don't have a degree, you just need an additional 4 years of experience. On almost every contract I've worked on I've met a developer without a degree.

It depends on the position. It's a lot harder to get work as a government employee without a degree in the US, but contractors seem to have more flexibility. I worked for a government agency while I was in the military, and I can't even get an interview for the exact position I was doing for a couple of years because I don't have a degree. I know a few people who've missed out on jobs because the government position has a hard requirement for a degree, even if it's not relevant to the position (like computer science for a security position).

A decade ago when I was on the job market I saw lots of ads for government IT jobs, seemingly all listing CS degree requirements. So I didn't bother applying. Maybe it wasn't a hard a requirement then, maybe it has changed, or both. I have an ethical preference for market transactions, so didn't push on that door as hard as I might have if other opportunities weren't readily available.

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