I'm 32 years old, and like a lot of people, not in a job I care about. Pays the bills, but that's pretty much it. It's your basic "Oh God, it's Monday.... ....Thank God, it's Friday" kind of job (currently in the hotel side of a casino/hotel).
I love computers, have a very high level of skill, am the guy that everyone goes to before they call IT, because our IT staff kind of sucks. I would LOVE to be IT staff; fixing computers, setting up networks, maintaining servers and databases. These are things I enjoy and have a passion for.
However, I'm 32, getting ready to start a family, and not in an awesome position to spend the next 2-4 years getting a CS degree. I have an AAOT (utterly useless Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer degree), a year worth of university credit hours in mathematics and physics that have all expired and are now only useful as junk elective credits, 8 years experience doing very computer-centric jobs, and more practical skill than a lot of the guys in entry level positions in our IT department making $42k to my $33k. However, I have absolutely 0 actual IT experience, and the sum of my formal IT education is 6 credit hours of CS classes as part of my AAOT.
I'd like to get into the IT field without spending 2-4 years and tens of thousands of dollars, and in a perfect world, I'd like to do it this year.
Where would you go? I've been trying to do research online about certifications (I could probably pass a CompTIA A+ with no more than a couple days of brushing up, and could do the CompTIA network+ within a couple months), but it seems like every place I look, I find wildly different opinions and feedback about it. Some people insist a degree is the only option, others insist that certs are frequently more desirable. Plus, the ones that say certs are the way to go can't even seem to agree which certs are best for the exact same career path. It's also hard to find clear information on the different certification programs because every google search turns up a million sites that are nothing more than ads for over-price online schools. (Why pay a few hundred bucks for all the study materials you need direct from coptia when you could pay us $8000 for six months of incredibly boring classes you don't need?)
Anyway, I would just really like to get any feedback I can from anybody who has something useful to add, especially if you made the same kind of career switch.