Where to go from here?

Hey guys,

So I recently graduated from my local university (FIU) with a BA in International Business. My plan was originally to enter into the Financial industry, but now upon graduation and entering the field through various internships, I realized this is something I could never do for the rest of my life. After much soul searching I’ve realized the tech industry is the only one that will truly fulfill me and I have decided to go back to my original love for programming and web design that I had when I was in High School. I recently purchased a membership to Lynda.com and have been personally studying xhtml/css/js and I feel like I am finally learning something I really love. So now I am faced with a crossroads, at one end I feel like I have found the field that I want to enter but I am not sure how to do it with the degree that I currently hold. I am considering going back to school to get another bachelors in Information Technology, but I really want to get a Masters in either Information Technology or Computer Science. I know this would be an uphill battle as I do not have the traditional qualifications to enter graduate studies in those fields but I know where theres a will theres a way. So I ask now if there are any professionals here with an opinion on what they think would be my best route to segway into the industry? I am not opposed to certifications either but I would like to go back to school and receive a higher degree at some point, but either way I really just want to position myself to start working in the industry and I don’t want to have too much downtime on my resume either. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated!

First, welcome to Sitepoint!
Let me say that your post demonstrates you are articulate, intelligent and well educated. And I applaud you for pursuing your passion.

In my experience (which spans from well before the existence of the Internet) there is a difference between “book learning” and “experience”.
Your degree is extremely important. It demonstrates many things - not the least of which is that you can maintain focus and complete a long duration task. So, don’t assume you MUST earn a(nother) degree in Technology in order to compete in this field.

It sounds like you have spent your [free] time developing skills in web development. You could not be so passionate without having “been there and done that”. My [rather fatherly] advice is to SIMPLY DO IT. Find and create opportunities to design, build, develop web applications.
Collaborate with people you encounter on Sitepoint and other similar sites (I highly recommend Forrst).
Seek out small businesses in your area that may need your services (design/development or just maintenance/updates).

In other words, Do Do, DO MORE.
I won’t dare say returning to school would be a waste of your time. But I would say it may distract or delay you from opportunities to grow and gain valuable experience.

{PM me if you need an invitation to Forrst}

Thank you for the welcome and the kind words ParkinT, I have come to the realization that Doing is my best option for progressing and I have been meeting with and starting to work with local web designers in my area (including one I am meeting with today). I will continue to learn and expand my work as much as I am capable of in the near future, but I am still stuck with the notion that more school is in the cards for me in the near future, in that light I have decided to begin working and networking now and find my way back to school once I feel like I have established myself as a professional in my desired field. Anyone have any advice on how to gain credibility in the web design field with little experience? As I am finding that this is the biggest hurdle I have to jump to get into the industry.