If you can prove to them that you can solve their problem, you instantly decommoditize yourself, and none of those things on paper matter as much.
How to Get Any Job You Want (even if you’re unqualified)
Raghav Haran

I got my second job with a program listing.

(In the really old days we printed stuff out with dot-matrix printers on this fan-fold stuff, sometimes with alternating strips, and holes down the side. It even made BASIC look important).

It was advertised as a “starting position for a graduate in Computer Science”. I walked in, without a degree, slapped down the listing and said “I can understand and maintain code like this — see the comments I added as I worked on it.”.

I’d been working for a little company that customised accounting software — the mining company that hired me needed someone to maintain their accounting and warehouse systems.

I didn’t have a degree but I had proof I wouldn’t run screaming from a ton of horrible code.