I run a training program in a software company, so I have some experience hiring entry level people from various different skill levels and paths.
I believe this strongly depends on a few things:
- The country you are in and how the value of formal education is perceived there
- Your dedication and motivation to succeed
- Your flexibility on how you get to where you want to go
Let me elaborate.
First off, I can speak about Germany and the UK, so I will write from this perspective. Other countries will vary, but from your name and question I assume you're in an English speaking country, probably the UK or Ireland.
When you start your career, your grades usually are important. In the UK, everyone almost always expects a degree for most jobs. There are quite a few graduate programs from large orgs that hoover up software engineering and computer science graduates. They care are lot about what uni you went to, and how good your grades are. This is probably not for you. Smaller companies on the other hand might be happy to accept your degree as long as it is good, and from a decent university, if you convince them otherwise. This is what we do at my work.
In order to do that, you need to show initiative. It may sound unfair, and I am not entirely convinced it's healthy, but one great thing about working in software development is that it is so much easier to teach yourself than it is in other professions. You're not going to be a self-taught hairdresser or car mechanic. But making software is very low-resource. You just need to know what you're doing.
To get into this industry on your own, you will have to do a lot of studying and practice. And you will have to accept that this will take time. A lot of time. I agree with the other answers that formal education has the benefit of having a lot more time invested and therefore having broad knowledge. I however dispute that this is better, because they often lack practical experience. And this is where you will shine.
A bootcamp can be a good way to get started, but as nvoigt says in their answer, it is only the bare minimum. If you have no idea where to even start, that might be for you. But on its own, it is useless. I have had applicants that did one paid 3 month bootcamp, and because they forked out around 10k pounds for it (which is horrendous, to be honest) they completely believed they were now entitled to work in this industry. This is not how it works, and you have to understand that.
Instead, a bootcamp can be the very first stepping stone to get you used to tools quickly. The most important thing you want to learn early on is version control such as git, which will mean when you screw up you can undo what you've done. And you will need to do that a lot (16 years on, so do I). It will also help you see progress you're making.
On top of that, and afterwards, find things to do. Do projects. Learn new things every day. This is where motivation comes in. Online projects such as 100 days of code are good to keep you going after you've finished your bootcamp. Try to do something and learn something new every day. Use github to keep everything you do, and use the skills you've learned in the bootcamp to version everything properly, make small commits with good commit messages. This will already set you apart from typical university grads who just dump their few uni projects into a github because companies want to see them.
If you write code every day, keep your mental health in mind. Do it when you are fresh, in the morning. Don't try to learn something new after a hard day at work, when you're tired. You'll not be able to concentrate, things will go wrong, and you will hate it. If you can't one day, skip it. That's ok.
There are a ton of free resources that you can use. https://roadmap.sh/ is brilliant to get an idea of all the things you should know. It takes years to master all the things for a backend developer, even if you have formal training, but very few of them are actually done in a typical computer science degree.
If you are more into the academic and theoretical side of things, take a look at https://github.com/ossu/computer-science. This is a collection of free courses you can do on your own to basically get the same qualifications than a typical comp sci degree, just without the paperwork.
When it's time to do job hunting, go for junior developer and other entry level roles. Don't worry too much about what technology they are doing.
I've mentioned github before. I look at personal projects a lot before I interview. Their technical understanding and professionalism can be judged by that. Someone who already writes good commit messages and clear, simple commits that tell a story is going to be much easier to train, so try to learn that early on.
Another thing you can do in the UK (and in Germany and most of the EU, though it works differently there) is an apprenticeship. You need less existing education for most of them, at least if you're going for level 3 or 4. They are often paid less than a "normal" entry level job, but they might be easier to get into, because you're a more experienced candidate, you have real work experience in real companies, so you know what work life is like. That's worth a lot.
Once you're in and you've done a few years worth of developer work, you can switch to whatever language you want, and nobody is going to care if you have a degree or not. You just need to be good and passionate about what you're doing.
Whatever you decide to do, it's totally possible to get there without the formal education. You will need to learn loads, but on the job training happens while you work, once you have a job. Don't give up.