I only have A+ right now, but am working on Net+, and I have lots of real world experience that Administrators don't! Like putting thousands of RJ-45 connectors on CAT5e cables every day! (I hate my job...)
IMHO certifications (i am sure not all) are just a way to have the human resources controlled and to earn money from preparation classes and exam fees. I am not an IT specialist so I may be mistaken but most certificates work that way in most areas, even mine. I guess that many people just sit the exams in order to find work and at the same time many enthusiasts out there do a better job than many guys that own an A+. I would be very interested to see how the programming certificates test the candidates for clean coding and originality and the most important thing: creativity
Funny thing mcnuggetofdeath my A+ and over 15yrs experience in the field got me my position as Field Support Engineer for Northrop Grumman. I hate elitist!! Any certification is worth something. If your into programming then a language cert is required, if your gonna work with servers then admin cert is required, etc. Depending on your field of interest you should be certified in a at least one decipline.
I have been working in the IT filed as a professional for over 10 years. During the course of my career I have obtained several different certifications. I have had a lot of hands on experience and got to speak with many people. I started working on certifications back with NT 4.0. I got my MCSE on NT 4.0 and then took the necessary exams to get both my MCSE and MCSA on Windows 2000. I took the upgrade exams to Windows Server 2003. I also started in working towards a CNE (since I was working with a lot of Novell at a point in time). I never finished my CNE on Netware 5. I also picked up low level SQL certification on SQL 2005.
I have found that I am having a difficult time motivating myself to update my MCSE to Windows 2008. I am going to do this but just have found a lack in interest at times. My opinion is that Certification is good and will get you in the door. I have used it over the years to learn about a product in more depth. However after working with many people over the years you can really see the difference between someone who got certification and really has no clue what they are doing and those who have real world experience (including those who have certification). Now I am not saying that certification is a bad thing. Having certification is great but putting that knowledge to use in real life situations is another. It is one thing to pass a test and another to apply the knowledge in an environment where it is not staged and anything can go wrong. That is where I believe the most important skill comes into play, how well is the individual able to troubleshoot. In my opinion that is what separates the professionals from those who are learning. Everyone has to start somewhere. Getting certification is a good place to start and will get your foot in the door. What happens after that is up to you. My advice is to learn as much as you can from everyone you work with. Experience is the best teacher. Having certification, experience, and having both good troubleshooting and social skills will put you in a class by itself.