I got my cert for two reasons: to prove to myself that I really did know the stuff, and to validate my credentials to prospective customers.
It's really the same thing as having a BS, MS, or PhD - you might not necessarily be any smarter, but it does show that you have the motivation to attempt & complete a particular course of study.
Slightly off-topic, when I was at Illinois Institute of Technology in the 70's the bookstore sold a bumper sticker: "Sicks munce ago I couldnt even spel 'engineer' and now I are one" it was quite popular :-)
I totally agree with Brian. Certifications are no guarantee of a quality employee. However, in my opinion, a person who took the time to get a certification has gone on and beyond the call of duty.
Earning certifications gives me a goal to shoot for and forces me to learn new features and other ways of working with the product. I spend months studying and performing practices, so that I have a good working knowledge before I go into the test. I am currently working towards my MCITP.
Also, I have found that certifications open doors to promotions, new technology fields, bonuses, and other rewards. Additionally, at your annual review it is a notable accomplishment to point out. Even if your current employer doesn’t reward you for a certification, I have always found that earning them always pays off somewhere down the line.
Bill Richards, MCSE, MCDBA
Senior Database Analyst