Harold Wong recently posted about his recent certification experiences. It is an excellent example of what I have been saying for years: Certification is not all that and a bag of chips.
Microsoft certification is focused on proving minimal skills required to perform a job/task. Minimal skills are possessed by most of the administrators in the world that have been working with the product for a significant amount of time. If you know your stuff, passing an exam should be easy.
So, what does certification prove? Again, see above, nothing but minimal skills.
What does a High School diploma prove? Minimal skills.
What does a College Degree prove? Minimal skills.
None of them prove that you are an expert in anything. They just prove that you have worked hard and have a certain minimal skill set. They each show that you know how to learn new things, that you know how to gather information, that you know how to read and write and apply your knowledge to certain situations. Each of them are great ways for a human resources representative to help identify candidates. Just as a degree or a diploma are not tickets to a job, neither is certification. A good employer will always interview the candidate to get direct proof of skills.
Think about it. If you were a HR representative and you had a stack of applications, and some of them were certified and some were not, which ones would you interview first?
So, why go through the certifcation process? See the above. It is the same reason that people graduate High School and College.