I think you need a little bit of everything to become a successful IT Professional. Went to college got my degree in IT with no experience, started in Help Desk, gained some valuable experience, moved up the chain and EARNED certs on the way up.
Now I have my Bachelor's in IT, CISSP, MCSE Sec + with 10 years experience.
Lastly the most critical thing to make yourself unique upon common IT folk is to learn to be business saavy and not be a douche bag to the people you serve and not like you're Mr. Know it all. So many times ive met smart people by a$$holes to people because they think they know more than them. So what. Education, Certs Experience will get you far but add a bit of personality and humbleness will get you farther with it. I can teach anyone what i do given time, but i can never change their attitude.
Overall be a well rounded experienced, educated, certified PROFESSIONAL.
Now I own firm and I am also working for a company as a Sr. consultant at the same time, loving my career of helping people and organizations.
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