Just would like some thoughts of what you think about my strategy to learn C++. While I understand that it takes years to master a programming language, I simply want to get to the point where I can be considered competent as quickly as possible. Why quickly? Well when I say quickly I'm really saying I'm committed, and that I don't want it to take forever where forever is never. If it takes five years to become competent, it takes five years. I'm not expecting 24 hours or 30 days.
Anyhow, this is my strategy: Read the Stroustrup book (I just started on Part I) and at the same time start a simple C++ project, while also doing many of the Stroustrup exercises.
Bjarne's book is fantastic, especially for C++ syntax, but the one book that will really make you a competent C++ programmer is Meyers' Effective C++. Get it. Read it.
I as well do not have a CS degree, but I work for a silicon valley startup. It is possible, you just have to be aware of what's out there and never stop learning. Many students who graduate with a computer science degree end up working in a language they didn't study, so be sure to hit the fundamentals. If you hear something that's unfamiliar to you, be sure to find a good book and a coffee shop and get to it. The C++ will come in time - with Stroustrup and Meyers, you've got 90% of what it takes to be good at C++