I'm not a recruiter, or a software engineer, but I do know a few, and my father and uncle are. Here are some anecdotal things I hear from them.
My father switched to software during the dotcom boom and quickly became very good at it. However, at some point he hit a wall with his promotions. Part of the reason may have been that his degree didn't come from an American or European university (it was in EE). What my real impression was, and I think he was told this by a few of his superiors, that he didn't have a higher degree. He'd been working at big corporations, so this kind of bureaucratic policy is to be expected. They do offer to pay for his MS if he does it, but he refuses. So moral of this story is that it may affect your chances of promotion and possible transition into management, if you feel that at some point you will want it. That being said, companies usually will pay for your education (though only in a few of the relevant fields that make you useful to them) if they think you're worth it.
Switch to my uncle. He actually dropped out of a computational neuroscience PhD program to go work at a mid-size software company. He rose very quickly as well, and switched to what used to be a startup not too
long ago (but has now grown and is continuing to grow). Some of his coworkers don't even have college degrees. Hell, one doesn't have a high school degree. Many are from Microsoft. He doesn't seem to be finding trouble advancing, although he's just about 30 and has hit the senior architect level so perhaps he will start to see the effects (if they are real and there, this is something I don't know for sure and may depend even in the subindustries of software). My guess is that he won't, and I base this just on the atmosphere and size of the company itself. He seems to think similarly.
Beyond anecdote, one thing that I do know is that if you want to work on something specialized, such as high performance environments or machine learning, you'll need some kind of higher level education because the basic CS education won't be sufficient. Getting your education while you can could also make you more versatile in the future, especially if you're feeling like you need a chance but you've got other responsibilities (such as a wife and kids).
Anyway, that's all I've got. Hopefully that helped you out some.