Tips for pursuing C# career?

I'm a chemical engineering major who doesn't see any drive in current field. I was programming in various languages off and on since I was 14. Started in VB6, then switched to Delphi and finally discovered glorious platform that .NET is. I have gaps in knowledge since my learning process wasn't systematic. I understand all the basic concepts common to most OO languages but I'm lacking in specific understanding of technologies present in .NET. Currently I know Windows.Forms and started learning WPF.

Programming is the only thing I find great pleasure in that can be turned into a career. Therefore I plan to quit my job and get junior developer position. Problem is, I'm not sure about practical steps that will get me there. My first concern is that it's too late (I'm 27). I will compete with guys who finished some CS major and were learning programming with career in mind.

Do I need to complete any courses? Or books and internet will be sufficient? What knowledge is a must have? What is reasonable timeframe to achieve my goal? What can I do extra to stand out among other candidates?

Any feedback will be appreciated.

by markovcd via /r/csharp

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