You might find my situation interesting.
I have an IT diploma from ITI. Since then I have gotten 2 java certifications. I don't even have a degree. One of my fellow coders on the last project I worked on has a masters in Economics from Oxford. She has quite a bit more IT experience than myself, but she is from China, and her english is not great. (How she got a masters from Oxford with her english the way it is, is beyond me).
Anyway, over the past year and half, I have worked hard and managed to get some responsibility team leading and composing architecural documents for our client. I have just signed a job offer with another firm in the city I am living in for $28,000 a year more than what I was previously making. My current employer counter offered with something very close, requiring that I transfer, which was unacceptable to me. I think this new salary beats, or is at least on par with what my colleage with the degree from Oxford is making.
From my experience, what you make depends on:
- The type of company you work for. Big consulting companies (at least the one I'm leaving) don't pay as much as smaller software development companies.
- How successfully you market yourself. Your resume, written properly, can get a lot of good attention. The job interview also goes a long way to helping a company decide how much you're worth to them.
- How much responsibility you're willing to accept, and how you apply yourself. If you're known for getting the job done quick and well, you'll become a desired asset in the IT community, whether you've got a fancy degree or not.