Should I go for a certification, an associates or just learn on my own?
As I understand it, certificates are more useful in IT than a degree. Certificates are sometimes only useful for a certain number of years, and in IT it's especially important to keep up with the newest technologies and programming, thus the certifications change every so often depending on the business. So I'd suggest going to certificates rather than a degree. I know a couple people working in IT just from their certificates and no degree - they learn on their own, and just pass the certifications when they need to - and my boyfriend is currently working on his IT associates but he still needs to get a couple certificates afterward to be able to prove that he knows the recents.