I’m about to scoff at the idea of a 25-year-old asking if it’s too late for a career change, but I think the real question here is around this:
Should I start studying for a degree? Or should I study on my own and try to make my way without a degree?
Well for one, you already have (or soon will have) a degree in an advanced tech field, and that’s not for nothing. Another will certainly burnish your credentials, but you’d want to weigh that against the cost and the time it’d take, and from my perspective, there’s some real diminishing returns there. In the USA at least, the tech industry is a lot more concerned with experience than they are with degrees; as long as you have the ability, you can have a lucrative career in the field without ever having stepped foot in college.
To step back and see the degree question from a more generic perspective: do you want to study programming or computer science? The first is something you can easily study on your own, and there are oodles of resources (including a great one right here) to teach you. The way the majority of schools teach programming, I’d consider a degree a waste of money that’s obsolete the moment you have it in your hand. The second, CS, is a set of highly abstract maths that underlie all the logic in programming, but involves little actual software being written. Obviously there’s overlap, but the focuses are vastly different. Programming has more career opportunities than ever before, whereas pure CS remains an academic discipline as any pure science field tends to be. CS unlocks the top tiers of programming jobs for sure, but it’s a tougher row to hoe, especially if you’re learning it on your own.
BTW, I love my programming career, but a good chunk of me wishes I’d followed my younger brother’s path and studied art instead. Then again, I’m comfortably paying the mortgage on the house I share with my artist brother, so…