Answer for:

What's better an Associate IT degree or Certs?

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for networking i would first look at doing Comptias Network+ , that gives you a grounding in network topologies and that kind of thing. The next thing you want to look at is to learn a server operating system, Windows server 2003 is widely used, although server 2008 is coming out soon :)

Look on the microsoft site from courses relating to Windows Server 2003 (MCP) once you have got the Network+ and Server 2003 qualifications i think you will be well on your way to getting a decent job :)

might also be a good idea to get a qualification in Windows XP or Vista too. From a business point of view i would do XP, the exam on its own cost ?88 in the UK

as for databases depends which software your looking at :)