Oh the age old question…is it better to obtain a degree or stick to certifications? Really this question can not be answered for you. Obviously a degree will take about 4 years of your life and will cost a lot of money. Certifications on the other hand can get you a job rather quickly. Recent college graduates really do have a tough time breaking into the IT field because honestly college degree don’t hold that much weight. Often times a college degree is just a check box for most employers. So in that case yes a college degree is important to have, especially if you want a government job. If you ask me I think the whole situation is rather corrupt, why does someone need to have a college degree if they posses a skill set that far surpasses any college graduate? Obviously their is nothing we can do about how the system is run, so we are left to adapt to it.
If I were to go back 5 years when I was first pursuing my CSIT degree I would have told myself this. “Pursue certifications throughout your 4 years in university because upon graduation your resume will stand out above all others”. Unfortunately at the time I did not really know about certifications so I just slacked off and lived the college life my first 3 years. Upon entering my senior year I learned about IT certifications and instantly started pursuing my A+ and then my Network+. I passed both upon graduation. Even though these are both entry level certifications, it still made my resume stand out compared to my classmates.
So as a final thought, yes a college degree is important, and yes certifications are important. If possible I recommend you pursue both, if money is an issue for you I would then highly suggest you start on your certification path.