As far as a degree goes, it's not absolutely essential but it will certainly help. Then, too, it's worth considering that while IT certs typically last only two or three years before they must be renewed or replaced, you get to keep any degrees you earn for the rest of your life. If you're just starting your working life, or considering a move into IT, keep your current job and/or go get your degree in something like computer science, MIS or IT. Not only will this help you figure out what you really want to do work-wise, it will also make you a more attractive job candidate.
This was first published in September 2002