I would like to thank everyone for answering this. I apologize for not responding sooner, as I thought this topic had died after almost a month of no replies.
When you think about computers, what is it that you enjoy the most? Is it the satisfaction of helping people? Is it the profit potential you can see? Is it tinkering with things and problem solving? These are the things you have to sit down and really think about to give yourself a better idea of where to start.
To be honest, its a combination of things.
What I am interested in
Firstly, I love fixing things. As I previously mentioned, I have been fixing computers for people for a couple of years now (10+) and do get satisfaction from solving problems for others. However it can be a bit frustrating at times.
Secondly, I love people. I am not the kind of person who can sit behind a computer 24 hours a day and never speak with anyone. In Person Human Interaction is a must.
I also like figuring out how to use various programs and tools, and figure out how to expedite and streamline certain processes to make them less repetitive or faster in execution.
I still have some interest in the business side of things, I was just very turned off by the cubicle life and massive bureaucracy/paperwork that exists.
I am interested in traveling and would be willing to go to other countries. (However would not be willing to risk my life going to places such as Afghanistan, Syria etc.)
I am interested in making some serious money in the long run, and will do what it takes to get there. My current goal is 100k a year. Then next goal 200k etc. (At some point I want to use this money to start my own company.)
Mind you, I have some very lofty long term goals, but have the determination to reach them.
However I would like to get some idea of how many hours a week and what kind of work conditions I can expect, when working with this type of salary. (And how many years of experience are required.)
What I am not interested in
I do not like programming, especially error checking. But I do not mind writing smaller scripts
I am not interested in being on call 24/7. (If I have time off I intend it to be time off!)
I hope this helps explain some of my goals and interests.
What part of IT are you interested in?
How much money do you need to make?
Level 1 - Help Desk (pretty much locked to the desk and phone)
Level 2 - IT Generalist (a little bit of everything and desk time depends on the shop)
Level 3 - The Specialist (network, servers, applications, etc.)
If you're looking to get into the Level 2 field now is the time, but you need to have your A+ certification by the end of the year, should be easy enough for most people. The reason for this is that there are a ton of organizations doing their XP to Windows 7 migrations. The pay for this positions is in the $15 to $20 range, expect to make near the bottom. These positions will be gone, I'd guess, around June, but at that time you'll have six months of experience to put on your resume. I was looking for work in September to mid-October and am still getting about a call or e-mail a day for these positions. (Forget they aren't bothering to read my resume). There are lots of slots to fill for this project.
The certifications, and degree, will get you an interview, but only real world experience is going to get you the job. Certifications don't use the real world in their testing. Like a degree, certifications are a foundation to build upon.
You can pick up the A+ Exam Cram books for less than $20. The exam is $185, if you fail you pay again.
Really need to know what you are interested in doing to give you more detailed advice.
At the moment I am actually doing level 2 work.
I am working for a large organization in New York as a contractor for a Windows XP to Windows 7 upgrade project.
I currently repair, upgrade and re-image computers, track and verify assets, and support various projects throughout the organization.
I am also still studying for my A+, but am pressed for time due to work and personal life. (Once Completed I am interested in studying for a CCNA and PMP certifications)
What makes this a bit difficult is that I do not really know what I am interested in doing. If I knew what I was interested in, I would not be asking these questions.
Does anyone have any suggestions on how to go about figuring this out? Are there any jobs or job types that dabble in such a large range of IT related specialties, that I would be able to try many of them out?
Once again THANK YOU for all your help, feedback and suggestions so far!