As a getaway from my personal issues, I would write code and design on local library's or friend's computers. Eventually I was able to buy my own computer and – to make a long story short – was hired full time as a web developer. This wasn't the plan, mind you. I didn't complete highschool, but because of my 3 years of experience I qualified for college. I ended up making the choice of not going and continuing my full time employment. It didn't make sense to me to leave my job, then go to school only to later try and get a job that I already had. Since I was passionate about my work, learning and evolving my knowledge was never an issue.
I don't think this approach works for everyone, mind you. You have to have a sincere love for the work. That being said, college gives you access to like-minded peers, social engagements and a level of submersion that I think is helpful for most people.
Today I own a successful web & digital company, so I have the privilege of being able to look at a resume and not judge the applicant by the CS degree, but more on work experience and passion.