Been in the business for quite a while, and have no certifications. It did not prevent me from consulting / contracting and otherwise be consistently employed. I may have seeked one or two certifications had they been more popular when I started in this business, but there is nothing that compares to solid experience even when you shift from one software to another (IBM to MS). Many of the basic principles carry over.
As many have said, it is nice to have certifications to show commitment to ones career especially for a person who just started a career in a competitive and remunerative field such as IT. However someone with a college degree can acheive the same initial effect with a bonus of a more rounded education.
That said, I have met some people with a long list of characters after their names who could not impress anyone. Usually their were teaching, but had no or very limited practical experience to rely on to answer practical questions.
The persons who are excellent at their jobs, no matter the discipline, will be excellent whether they are certified or not, and they will not need to post an alphabet soup after their name to show they are qualified.