Originally Posted by MrRoboto
It's amazing. The certs you mentioned used to be such a big deal back in my early days of IT, now if you don't have a degree in computer science combined with a MBA the 'good jobs' take years of experience to achieve.
What I would do is look at the market trends and try and specialize as much as possible. Anything 'cloud' based is hot now. App development and integration for Office 365 / Google Apps will continue to grow for example.
Augment your technical training with some sort of project management training as well. Over time you will find yourself getting tired of 'getting your hands dirty.' Management of IT projects offers a good growth path for IT folks and can be very lucrative.
Lots of good advice here. You probably don't need to worry about a management degree right now, but you will need it eventually to move up. My undergrad is in geology and I'm self-taught in everything IT, but my MS is in Technology Management. When you get beyond the hands-on stuff, a management degree of some sort is essential, like MrRoboto stated. Keep that in the back of your mind as you move into your career. Don't wait too long to get the management training.
Make sure you look at universities when applying for jobs. I've been in academia for 15 years now and while the pay isn't what you get in the public sector, the benefits are awesome. They're also much less picky when it comes to certs, although most schools will require a degree, as David said above. Universities have a very diverse IT environment, so it's easy to move around from say sys admin to networking or database stuff. At my current employer, I started out at the Ops Center just doing network monitoring. There were 6 of us with the same job, then four more came in. We've all moved on to higher jobs as sys admins, network engineers, security engineers, DBA's, and software development. I still stay in touch with all the guys I started with and it's really an asset to have so much expert help at my fingertips.