You've made a lot of good points and asked a lot of good questions. Let's go piece-by-piece.
Deciding whether to self-teach is a personal decision with a lot of factors to consider. The primary reason that I feel comfortable going the "self-taught" route is that I'm an energy with over 8 years of professional experience and two engineering degrees (B.S. in Electrical Engineering and M.S. in Systems Engineering). If I was coming from a non-technical background or a technical background vastly different from coding/developing/software, I would probably choose a bootcamp or college-level certificate program.
Being part of a formal program has many benefits:
Like anything in life, doing it yourself is possible, but for many, it comes at the cost of time, effort and quality. If you are going the self-taught route, you'd need to recreate each of those aspects that are built into formal programs. Otherwise, you could find yourself struggling to find a job/pass interviews.
Personally, I wouldn't get caught up on if it's possible to do it myself. I would instead ask, what's the quickest and most efficient way to get where I'm trying to go with the resources I have.
As far as the books you sent, I haven't gotten through much of them as I've been focused on the Python course that I'm in. However, I did like what I saw in the Intermediate Python book. Right now, I'm working on wrapping my head around writing Python scripts that create & modify databases with SQL commands as well as handling data from different file types (text, xml, json). It's been quite interesting. I'm not really qualified to answer what topics are key to learn as a programmer because I'm not a professional programmer. I'm here learning like everyone else.
Whether a curriculum exists depends on what you want to learn. If you're into web development, there's an abundance of curriculums, roadmaps and free programs (including freeCodeCamp, The Odin Project). For other types of development, there's probably free/low cost courses and books. It's just a matter of searching for them. You can also look up university syllabi and curriculums and use that as a base. The sky's the limit. It just takes time and effort and asking questions in forums, on Twitter, etc.
I hope some of this helps.
Your notes have always been very thoughtful, and filled with great ideas. I appreciate that. Thank you for your effort too.
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