This topic of conversation used to be very common although nowadays you will see it more often as a mandatory requirement in terms of recruitment. Most people will tell you they have forgotten most of what they learned in college. You may hear the argument “why do I need to know anything about economics when all I will be doing is programming Cisco routers?” It is a reality that a degree is a barrier to entry for most major job requisitions.
Unlike the argument about technical certifications, a degree gives evidence not only that you, as a candidate, have taken the trouble to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to be valuable in the workforce, but also that you are capable of meeting the demands required to successfully complete the requirements of the curriculum. It gives evidence that you are a capable person.
The other aspect is what I find more pertinent. My opinion is that a four-year college education will round out your knowledge. Economics matters. History matters. A degree guarantees you have exposure to multiple areas outside of your chosen discipline. This encourages you to expand your knowledge and thought processes into areas that while you may not apply them directly, will enhance your abilities nevertheless. A degree gives more evidence that you are prepared to apply yourself to new challenges. You may be better able to handle change, to stretch your boundaries.
Nevertheless, life is a paradox. If you survey the current employment landscape, you will see many opportunities for skilled IT workers without regard for their education. The trend for specialization, in fact, indicates that your degree isn’t going to be useful at all with regard to ‘stretching your boundaries’.
Are you interested in the skills as you apply them today in a specific sense or on a future with a broader scope? Are you interested in the bigger picture or on focusing on the work at hand? Will you want to have the ability to grow into something else in the future or stick to what you have now? A management role places a higher premium on a degree. In the end, it is about choices and where your priorities lie.