Yep, you could do the shorter process according to a recent Wall Street Journal. After all if the Wall Street Journal says so it must be correct right? Well not really (I would link to the article but it would require you pay for view after a few days). But as many people know in the computer science business there are a lot of opportunities for people who can just get stuff done, you don’t need a degree. Or do you?
Within some cultures there is a deep desire to understand technology, for example given a choice between exploring what the heck a LightBlue Bean is and going to see the Guardians of the Galaxy, which would you do? And that is how the cultures separate, the people in the group that chose the exploration of technology you likely can succeed without the college, but then again you will likely go to college anyway. If you are in the second group, then you need to take up the opportunities offered in college.
For example, I work with a number of colleagues who are very good software technologists that either do not have a computer science degree or did graduate from college. They learned on their own by going to hackathons, taking classes and so forth. But they generally would have fallen into the first group that decided to explore the Light Blue Bean. (Although I am not sure about that.) One of my teammates has a degree in Political Philosophy, which as far as I tell is only a little better than no degree, but he is the BEST app designer on the team (for contrast I am the worst).
If at all possible get the college degree, while working in software or technology so that you can learn practical stuff that is ill taught in college. And the ONE thing you want to understand is Unit Test, this is the next big deal for software. And yes I know it is suppose to be a big deal right now, but it isn’t and if you want to have things like the Google auto-drive car, you need to get busy with learning and practicing test.
One way to get started is to use the CodeHunt Game at: https://www.codehunt.com/ Note: It’s really challenging.