So, I know there are a lot of sites on this but my research has been rather varied in results. I just finished my first year of college and I'm wondering if I should even continue. My end goal is to Design games. I was thinking that I should learn programming and use that as an in-route into designing, but I recently found out that it's not necessary. So I was thinking of getting a degree in Game design and studying programming on my own time to known the limitations. But tbh, I'm rather confused on what the best avenue would be. Like I said, the end goal is design. I know that potential employers look at your experience (mods, games, etc...), but I don't want to invest myself needlessly. As in, I don't want to waste 4 years of my life for a CS or Game Design degree (or certificate if employers would accept that), not to mention about 100 grand, when I could simply learn on my own in a year, and arrive at the same place.
I guess what I'm asking is: Do I need a degree to validate my knowledge? Should I just focus on creating work, mods, and games (flash/java games) and learning programming languages? If I write a few GDDs, would that be adequate enough to get me a junior designer gig? (and I mean like some really great GDDs because, like all gamers, I have some really good ideas lol).