Just turned 30, been doing my current gig for almost 10 years now.
The way the company is structured and managed it is a very dead end position. I am underpaid now for the work I do but it's hard to argue you deserve X amount with no education. I basically get paid 1/4 of what the lowest end consultant would charge for the same work.
Ya I know that has been bugging me that I never got around to getting any certs. I would easily pass them all now. Working on CCNA now actually(well studying).
I'd suggest doing an inventory/assessment of yourself. This may still be included in the What Color is your Parachute?
books. BTW if you've never read that book, I would recommend it.
Find out what the competition is and what sets you apart from them. All employers have problems and they're looking for problem solvers. They also want critical thinkers and listeners who take the time to diagnose before
they prescribe. IOW, think like a detective.
Also, education is more than certs & degrees, it also includes thinking, a lot of reading and doing research. A lot. How many of your peers do this? If they're too lazy, that gives you an advantage. It's still important to read, comprehend, critically think and learn to apply that to your work...whatever that is. It may sound like a lot of work now, but you'll get better at it the more you do it like anything you're learning.
One more thing, there's more to making money than income. There's also expenses. How much do you keep. As mentioned earlier, learning a trade, being handy, also helps yourself and your family. Working on your car(s), your home, your electrical & plumbing, heating/AC, painting, repairs, wood/metal working, etc. can not only save you a lot of money but develop your own skills as well.
I live in a nice neighborhood and more than a few of the guys question why I work on my own car, change oil, alternator, starter, etc. "Why don't you pay someone else to do that?" A vehicle is an appliance or status symbol to them. That's it. I enjoy learning about all of this as a good challenge to my skills and saving some money, especially as my indy now charges > $90/hr. These guys are also clueless and all thumbs when it comes to doing things like this. That's why they ask me for advice. They complain LOUDLY about what it costs to get something fixed, maintain it or replace it because they didn't take care of it. Like the one who bought a brand-new pressure washer and stored it with a wet pump: It corroded inside. Now it doesn't work so well.
When I was growing up and later in college, I was teased quite a bit by some relatives for always 'being into things', messing with this and that. I didn't appreciate it and didn't understand it, but kept at it. Working on my car, learning to repair fiberglass, tuning up a motorcycle, sealing up leaky outlets in their house, etc. Always curious how things worked, using my hands, learning something new, developing my skills, etc.
Over the last 30 years or so, all that 'messing around' has served me well. I've learned to do most of my own repair work on most anything, be a smart shopper, taught myself AC, woodworking, some metal working, plumbing, electrical, fiberglass repair, and saved A LOT of money and developed my skills to boot. Knowledge is power and it's hard to get ripped off or taken advantage of when you're one for the wiser. Remember "A Fool and His Money are soon Separated."