Back in the bad old days, the mid-to-late 80's, before there were such things as certifications, I discovered C, the Macintosh, and shortly thereafter, Windows. For more than ten years I pumped out applications, using C with the Windows SDK.
Then came Visual Basic. One consulting contract I got required C/Windows SDK, but when I started working there I found out that the project was to be written in VB (their theory being that C programmers had typically good programming discipline, and would have no trouble becoming proficient in VB, but that VB programmers had typically terrible programming habits, and were therefore not desirable for the project).
Some years later, Microsoft came out with the first versions of their certification programs. I thought it could be useful to become certified in the areas I had been working with for ten years. I took the VB test, the Access test and the WOSA I and II tests (they had no test for C/SDK programming at the time, or I'd have taken that one too), qualifying me as a "Microsoft Solution Developer", or MSD. I then applied for and became a Microsoft Certified Trainer in Visual Basic (for version 4 -- about five years ago).
After several attempts at teaching the VB class, I decided that I was not cut out for training. But other than that, none of the certifications has amounted to much for me.
In fact, since eschewing Windows in favor of UNIX-based (usually server-side) programming (C/C++, Perl, cgi, Java servlets, J2EE, etc.), I've found that it is almost to my detriment now to include references to my certifications on my resume when I am vying for a contract position.
On the hiring side, I think perhaps their only value, if any, may be in weeding out those that are in technology for the money from those who possess the sheer joy of programming that brought me into the field; that is, I am usually inclined against hiring someone who has a certification over someone without one, assuming both have otherwise equivalent experience.
I find that those who "love" it tend to become far better coders than those who got their certifications in order to boost their salaries.
dmmJust call me the Anti-Gates ...