I would strongly urge you to pursue a computer related degree of some kind. That usually means one of the following programs:
A bachelor's degree should help you get started, though you may want to consider a master's after getting some work experience. I'd also recommend that you follow this certification path as soon as it's practical (which may or may not mean starting while you're still in college, depending on your energy level and budget):
Note: The rest of these require heavy classroom hours or work experience, so they may have to wait until you're out of school.
This should be enough to take you almost as far as you'll want to go in the next five to eight years. Good luck!
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This was first published in March 2002