Unfortunately, games programming doesn't pay the bills (yet
It's amazing how "serious" programming and games programming can actually help each other out though....
For example, I only started learning DirectX because of a work project I wrote a few years back (and still support) which was a music sequencer for crematoria (don't even ask (although this project still brings in the money)).
From there, I then expanded into other areas of DirectX and got hooked on using it for writing games instead of using API calls.
And I started using a class-based approach at work, and then re-wrote my engine to be class-based.
I'm pretty much self-taught - no qualifications in programming, but I've been doing it professionaly now for nearly 7 years, which is as good as a degree when it comes to getting a job. When I left my last job I had numerous interviews before I got the job I do now, and I always made it through to the final 2 or 3 candidates, and it was always due to my experience and hands-on, real world approach to programming.
I just wish I had more time for games development. I have a 12 hour working day by the time I get home in the evenings, (leave the house at 6:30am, don't get home till 6:30pm) and once you've had tea, put some washing on, fed the cat, and pampered the missus for a bit, there's precious little time (or brain energy) left for "fun" programming.
When I was single I used to sit up all night with a bottle of scotsmac, a four-pack of beers, 20 marlboro lights, and code into the early hours.
Admittedly I had a hangover most mornings
but they were fun times.