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Which is better for IT career advancement, a technical college degree or certifications?

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I'm an IT professional with over 5 years experience as a help desk technician. I have no certifications, but I do have 2 B.S. degrees in a non-related field. I've decided that I want to set my sights on becoming a Network Administrator - and eventually a Network Engineer. But, I'm not sure what would prepare me best: a 2-year technical college degree or certifications from Microsoft and/or Cisco.

In answering, please (if you can) provide your reasoning along with some real-world examples of others that you know or know about that had success in either the college realm or in obtaining certifications.

I would recommend performing the self-study route and acheiving the certifications yourself, but it depends...

You need to be the type of person that can learn material from a book and then utilize that knowldge. I would also suggest having equipment to practice on, otherwise someone from a technical school would have the hands on experience that you may not.

I myself went the self-study route and do not regret it one bit. I have 8 years experience, 7 of which are as a networking engineer and consider myself to be high up in the field. Also, you have one on me as I don't have any college experience.

Finding the motivation to study on your own can be hard at times, but if you want it... it's deffinitely acheivable. You gauranteee you that you would save money, and probably a lot of time depending on how quick you can study and take tests. I've worked with people in the past who were capable of passing tests on a weekly basis.

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