For most of my career, I've seen many companies that hire white-collar workers, including their IT staff, require a college degree or the equivalent experience in the military. Often this has been something the Human Resources department has made a requirement in their job descriptions and requests to recruiters. This was a filter that stopped many talented people from even getting an interview.
That hasn't stopped a lot of people from pursuing careers as developers or IT staffers, and I've had many friends who have had successful careers without a degree.
The world has been changing, especially since the pandemic, and many companies are no longer requiring any sort of university degree for candidates. There are still a lot of job descriptions that "prefer" a degree, but even that is changing rapidly. I hope at some point that we stop looking at degrees as anything other than a bit of experience in working through a project and not as any sort of qualification for a particular job.
This week there was an article about seven ways to become a software engineer without a degree. The ways are: learn to program, earn a cert, contribute to an OSS codebase, write documentation, find employers who don't care, be a freelance developer, and go to a bootcamp. Of these, a few seem redundant learning to code is probably needed to contribute to OSS or freelancing.
Of these, I overall like the advice. Being self-motivated or driven is a skill that many employers appreciate. Showing that you are producing something useful in the world is a good way to create opportunities. It's also a sign that you'll work to be productive and not expect to avoid work after getting hired. I know I prefer people who go figure things out rather than those who wait for someone else to tell them what to do. I don't recommend bootcamps, however, unless you are very motivated to take whatever you learn and then expand on it with OSS contributions or other tasks that showcase and expand knowledge.
Finding a job is challenging at times, and certainly impressing someone enough to hire you is a task. A degree can help, especially with those who might be prejudiced towards university experience, but more and more people recognize that college doesn't necessarily prepare you to be productive or a great employee. You can prove that to people yourself with some work, some documenting your efforts, and some good soft skills to explain what you know.