The hiring process
The first place a resume goes is to HR (Human Resources). They are not programmers. They just look for key words in a resume. If you resume has the correct key words (Degree, Computer Science, Object Oriented) then you will be given an interview with an HR person. If that goes well, then you will be invited to w technical interview. This is the first time for you to show your programming skills. Most other companies should be similar. Now from what I have heard from my friends who program, the pay difference between programmer with the same skills but one does not have a degree is about $38,000(US) per year.
This was suppose to be a reply to another post. Arms are getting to short to keep the screen in focus.
A better way is to network. That way you get your resume directly to the technical people.