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Self-study verses earning a degree is a red herring. While there are some advantages to studying in an institution, the degree is simply there to tell others that you have studied a particular curriculum. My only concern with self-study is that a lot of resources are the educational equivalent of get-rich-quick schemes, but that says more about the people who create those resources than the learners themselves.

As for knowing the theoretical basis of computer science, that will have value in some parts of industry and very little value in other parts of industry. While someone in your position may have a high degree of success working in the upper layers of abstraction, someone has to develop, advance, and maintain the lower levels of abstraction that you depend upon. None of that is meant to say that you need that theoretical knowledge to be successful, rather it is important for some people to have that theoretical knowledge to ensure the success of the industry.




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