It is not an either/or choice. You can take one class a semester at night or on weekends if you do not want to go to school full time. At minimum, do a level 2 course on algorithms and data structures. CS is not like pre-med - what you learn you can apply immediately to a great extent. Go to a public college if cost is an issue. Your main problem is not what you don't know, it's what you don't even know that you don't know. If you do not do full time school, slog out one class a semester until you take a level 2 algorithm and data structure course. Some of the classes should be enjoyable, because if none are, you might be in the wrong career.